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Chiefs, Texans surge into AFC playoff picture
1:02 | NFL
Chiefs, Texans surge into AFC playoff picture
Monday November 30th, 2015

Here’s what the AFC and NFC playoff pictures look like through Sunday's Week 12 afternoon games (a primer on tiebreaking procedures can be found here):

AFC
 
  • 1
    1New England Patriots (10–1)
    Conference: 7–1; Division: 4–0
     

  • 2
    2Cincinnati Bengals (9–2)
    Conference: 7–1; Division: 3–0
     

  •  3
    3Denver Broncos (9–2)
    Conference: 5–2; Division: 2–1
     

  • 4
    4Indianapolis Colts (6–5)
    Conference: 4–3; Division: 3–0
     

  • 5
    5Kansas City Chiefs (6–5)
    Conference: 5–2; Division: 3–0
     

  • 6
    6Houston Texans (6–5)
    Conference: 4–3; Division: 2–1
     

 

In The Hunt
 
  •  
    New York Jets (6–5)
    Conference: 5–4; Division: 2–2
     

  •  
    Pittsburgh Steelers (6–5)
    Conference: 3–4; Division: 1–2
     

  •  
    Oakland Raiders (5–6)
    Conference: 5–3; Division: 1–1
     

  •  
    Buffalo Bills (5–6)
    Conference: 5–5; Division: 3–2
     

Hello there, AFC South. The division that earlier this season looked headed toward a sub-.500 champion now is threatening to claim two bids. The next three weeks will decide how realistic that outcome is. Indianapolis heads to Pittsburgh and Jacksonville in Weeks 13 and 14, respectively, before welcoming in Houston; the Texans visit Buffalo and host New England prior to that showdown with the Colts.

Kansas City did a number on Buffalo's playoff hopes in Week 12. It could do the same next Sunday to Oakland, when it visits the Black Hole. Should the Chiefs pick up a win there, they will be hard to bump from the playoff race—their final four opponents sit at a combined 13-29, prior to Monday's Baltimore-Cleveland game (Kansas City plays each team).

NFL
Jeremy Maclin proving crucial to Kansas City's offensive resurgence

The Jets are still in decent shape, though those four intra-conference losses loom large. Same goes for Pittsburgh, which plummeted from fifth to eighth with its loss in Seattle. All of the Steelers' remaining games comes against the AFC, but they're in a tough spot all of a sudden; they also have a head-to-head loss to Kansas City. 

Oakland's comeback win on Sunday definitely added to the drama of its two remaining clashes with Kansas City. The Raiders have to be thinking sweep for their own playoff hopes, but even getting one win could shake up the wild cards.

Jacksonville and Miami both sit at 4–7, still alive (as is every team, for the moment) but in a world of trouble.

NFC
 
  • 1
    1Carolina Panthers (11–0)
    Conference: 7–0; Division: 2–0
     

  • 2
    2Arizona Cardinals (8–2)
    Conference: 5–1; Division 2–1
     

  • 3
    3Minnesota Vikings (8–3)
    Conference: 5–2; Division: 3–1
     

  • 4
    4Washington Redskins (5–6)
    Conference: 5–3; Division: 2–1
     

  • 5
    5Green Bay Packers (7–4)
    Conference: 5–3; Division 2–2
     

  • 6
    6Seattle Seahawks (6–5)
    Conference: 5–4; Division: 2–2
     
In The Hunt
 
  • 1
    1Atlanta Falcons (6–5)
    Conference: 4–3; Division: 0–2
     

  • 2
    2Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5–6)
    Conference: 4–3; Division: 2–1
     

  • 3
    3New York Giants (5–6)
    Conference: 4–5; Division: 2–3
     

  • 4
    4Chicago Bears (5–6)
    Conference: 2–5; Division: 1–3
     

  • 5
    5Philadelphia Eagles (4–7)
    Conference: 3–6; Division: 2–2
     

The Seahawks got everything they needed on Sunday (except for a Cardinals loss, as Arizona prevailed over the 49ers): Atlanta dropped yet another game, Tampa Bay came up short and, most importantly, the Seahawks themselves scored a huge victory over Pittsburgh. Their 5–4 record vs. NFC opponents puts them a slight step ahead of the Falcons for the time being. 

Green Bay's loss at Chicago coupled with Minnesota's win in Atlanta flip-flopped the NFC North standings—the Vikings now sit in first place, with the No. 3 seed, though they visit Green Bay in Week 17. The Packers still have some wiggle room in the wild-card race, but a loss at Detroit this coming Thursday would tighten the collars. Still ahead are trips to Oakland and Arizona, plus that finale with Minnesota.

NFL
Week 12 Snaps: NFC East is home to the mediocre race the NFL deserves

Oh, and check out that No. 4 seed. Yep. Washington. Its 5–6 record is good enough to lead the NFC East for now, thanks to the 2-1 division mark. The Redskins still have three left vs. NFC East rivals (vs. Dallas, at Philadelphia, at Dallas) ... but, as you can see, they're done playing the Giants. The best New York can finish within the division is 3-3, which would require a Week 17 win over the Eagles.

Those Eagles (yes, the ones who lost to the Lions 45–14 on Thanksgiving), are just one game back, too, so they're clearly still “in the hunt” despite a 4–7 mark.

Atlanta's continued collapse has a lot of teams still thinking about a playoff run. The Falcons travel to Tampa Bay next week as the opener of a three-game road trip (at Tampa Bay, at Carolina, at Jacksonville), followed by a home matchup with Carolina. It will take some work even to be at eight wins headed into Week 17.

Of the 5–6 teams, the Bears might be the most dangerous. They're coming off a Thanksgiving upset win in Lambeau and have just one game left against a team better than .500 (at Minnesota during Week 15). 

Four teams (St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans) are 4–7...just two back of the second wild card.

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