The Denver Broncos are sitting atop the AFC West with three games to play. Despite being 8-5, and 1 game clear of the Oakland Raiders, the Broncos still cannot clinch a playoff spot this weekend. Why? Those pesky ties. Sure, the Broncos look good as long as they keep winning, but throw a tie into the equation and things get a bit nuts.
Then there is that game Week 17 against the Chiefs. That game is key for the Broncos because a win would give them a 4-2 record in the AFC West games. That is the first tie-breaker after head-to-head, important since the Broncos split their season series with the Raiders and Chargers. Divisional Record is what the Broncos have going for them, but a slip-up at the wrong time could be a disaster! Keep winning, however, and the Broncos are all set.
Below are the scenarios for Week 15 in the AFC:
The Texans have won the AFC South and clinched their first playoff birth in team history. At 10-3, they are trying to seal the deal on at least a First Round Bye.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS(10-3):
The Patriots certainly have plenty to play for when the visit the Broncos on Sunday. They clinch the AFC East with:
1. A win over the Broncos
2. A tie, combined with a New York Jets loss or tie
3. A New York Jets loss
The Patriots can clinch at least a Wildcard spot with:
1. A tie
The Ravens face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night Football looking to clinch a playoff spot of their own. The Ravens can't clinch the AFC North, but they can punch their ticket to the playoffs with:
1. A win or tie
2. A Jets loss AND a Raiders loss or tie
3. A Jets loss AND a Titans loss or tie
4. A Raiders loss or tie AND a Titans loss or tie
The Steelers are still hoping the Ravens falter and Pittsburgh can still the division, and a bye, before the playoffs begin. If not, the Black and Gold are stuck in the 5-seed, looking at three road playoff games if they are going back to the Super Bowl. The Steelers - in San Francisco on Monday Night - can clinch a playoff spot with:
1. A Win or Tie
2. Raiders loss or tie
3. Titans loss or tie
4. Broncos loss or tie
5. Jets loss