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AFC playoff picture: Chargers are technically still alive

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They’re not out of it, but they might as well be.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC playoff picture continued to develop in Week 14 as teams bunched closer together. We have a new 1-seed and some of the other teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today are only holding on thanks to tiebreakers.

Through it all, the Chargers lost another winnable game thanks to a series of turnovers, and now can be mathematically eliminated with another loss or a win by either of the 8-win teams in front of them.

  1. New England Patriots (10-2-0) The Patriots still have not played in Week 14 as they have a Monday night matchup with the Ravens. Thanks to the Chiefs defeating the Raiders, though, they currently hold the 1-seed.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3-0) Following their Thursday night victory over division rival Oakland, the Chiefs are the top team in the AFC West and currently in line for a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-0) Thanks to their 27-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers now sit alone at the top of the AFC North.
  4. Houston Texans (7-6-0) The AFC South is both terrible and too close to call after week 14. The Texans hold the tiebreaker over the Titans, but they are both 7-6 and only a game up on the Colts.
  5. Oakland Raiders (10-3-0) After a tough loss to the Chiefs in which the Raiders dropped roughly 100 passes, Oakland has fallen from the 1-seed to the 5. They still have time to catch the Chiefs and Patriots, though, and there is little chance they will fall past the 5-seed.
  6. Denver Broncos (8-5-0) Coming off a loss to the Titans, the Broncos are now only the 6-seed by virtue of holding a tiebreaker over the Dolphins who defeated the Cardinals on Sunday.

Still in the hunt: Miami Dolphins (8-5-0), Baltimore Ravens (7-5-0), Tennessee Titans (7-6-0), Indianapolis Colts (6-7-0), Buffalo Bills (6-7-0), Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1), San Diego Chargers (5-8-0)

Realistically, neither the Bengals or Chargers are sniffing the playoffs this year, but they are technically still alive for another week. Once the Bengals are gone we can stop adding the ties portion of the other teams’ records in these posts, at least, so that’s something to look forward to. And once the Chargers are eliminated we can go back to watching film on draft prospects.

The Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, and Colts are all still very much alive and could make a push for the postseason. The Dolphins despite having the best record of that bunch may have the worst odds now that Ryan Tannehill has ruined his knee, however. Tonight’s Ravens-Patriots tilt will go a long way toward sorting things out.