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AFC Playoff Picture: Denver needs AFC North to stumble

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The Denver Broncos sort of need to win out to have a good shot at making the playoffs, plus they’ll need a few games to their way.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

With four games to go, the Broncos are right in the thick of the AFC Playoff hunt after clawing their way back to .500 with a convincing 24-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

However, they will need a few things to go their way down the stretch to have a shot to sneak in as the sixth seed.

AFC Playoff Picture

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2), (8-1)
  2. New England Patriots (9-3), (6-2)
  3. Houston Texans (9-3), (7-2)
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1), (4-4-1)
  5. Los Angeles Chargers (9-3), (6-2)
  6. Baltimore Ravens (7-5), (6-3)

In the hunt ...

Miami Dolphins (6-6), (5-4)

Indianapolis Colts (6-6), (5-5)

Denver Broncos (6-6), (4-5)

Tennessee Titans (6-6), (4-6)

While the Broncos have one of the easiest remaining schedules with games at the San Francisco 49ers, home against the Cleveland Browns, at the Oakland Raiders and finishing at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, it will be the games the other teams in the hunt have remaining that truly matter.

If the Broncos win out, they would still need the Ravens or Steelers to lose two of four. Both have distinct possibilities of losing two of their final four games with the Ravens on the road against both the Chiefs and the Chargers, while the Steelers have a home game against the Patriots and a road game against the New Orleans Saints. In either scenario, the Broncos get in with a 10-6 record if either of those AFC North teams lose two of their final four.

For the other 6-6 teams, the Dolphins have a home game against the Patriots and a road game against the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills remaining. The Colts will have to beat the Texans on the road and Dallas Cowboys at home. While the Titans may have the easiest of the bunch with three home games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins, and Colts and a road contest against the New York Giants.