The NFL playoff picture might have gotten murkier on Sunday. The playoff race in the NFC is tight, but nothing compared to the AFC’s race where six teams tied with the same record are fighting for the last Wild Card spot.
In the NFC, the two spots currently go to the Carolina Panthers (8-3) and the Arizona Cardinals (7-4). Of course, the San Francisco 49ers are right behind the Arizona Cardinals at 6-4 and they play on Monday night. If the 49ers win, they’d get the spot I believe based on the better conference record.
The AFC is where things get incredibly messy. Of the two Wild Card spots, one is going to who ever finishes second in the AFC West. Right now, that is the Kansas City Chiefs. Even though they have the same 9-2 record as the Denver Broncos, they lose bast on head-to-head win percentage.
The second Wild Card spot is dog fight. A 5-6 record wins you the second Wild Card berth, and there are six AFC teams with 5-6 records: Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.
If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Titans would get the spot. They win tie breakers over the Jets, Steelers and Chargers based on head-to-head sweep. They beat all three of those teams in the first four weeks of the season. A division tie break gave the Titans the nod over Miami. In other words, Titans hold a tie breaker over Jets, who hold a tie breaker over the Dolphins in their division. The same line gives them the nod over the Ravens. They hold a tie breaker over Steelers, who hold a tie breaker over the Ravens in the AFC North.
In seventh place in the AFC standings, is the Steelers who hold tie breakers over the Jets and San Diego based on best win percentage in conference games. That tie break over the Jets eliminates Miami, and they’re already ahead of the Ravens in their division with a tie break.
In eighth place sits the Ravens. They win the tie break over the Jets and Chargers based on based on best win percentage in conference games. The Jets own the tie breaker over Miami, and that is what gives them the nod over the Dolphins.
In ninth place sits the Chargers. They win the tie break over the Jets based on based on best win percentage in conference games. And of course the Jets own the tie break over Miami.
In tenth place sit the Jets, who hold the tie break over the Dolphins based on best win percentage in division games. In eleventh place sits the Dolphins, who are the lowest seeded of the 5-6 teams contending for a Wild Card spot.