Updated AFC playoff picture, Week 14: Chiefs clinch AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs clinch the AFC West after beating the New England Patriots in Week 14. Here is the updated AFC playoff picture heading into Week 15.

The playoff picture in the AFC just got a little clearer in Week 14. After the New Orleans Saints became the first team to clinch a playoff berth this season on Thanksgiving night last week, two teams in the AFC were able to punch their tickets in on Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens clinched a playoff berth by beating the Buffalo Bills on the road early in the afternoon. Not to be outdone, the Kansas City Chiefs too got an impressive road win over an AFC opponent by beating the New England Patriots to win the AFC West yet again.

So four more spots are still open in the AFC playoffs will nine more teams vying for them. The AFC East might actually have a race this year, as only one game separates the Patriots from the Bills in the divisional race. As for the AFC South, it’s going to come down to who plays better head-to-head between the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans.

With 14 weeks of the 2019 NFL season in the books, here is what the AFC playoffs would look like if the season ended today? Who gets in and who will be left out to sit on their couch at home in early January to watch the playoffs unfold?

AFC playoff picture, through Week 14

  1. x-Baltimore Ravens: (11-2)
  2. New England Patriots: (10-3)
  3. z-Kansas City Chiefs: (9-4)
  4. Houston Texans: (8-5)
  5. Buffalo Bills: (9-4)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

x: Clinched playoff berth
z: Clinched division

Baltimore is 11-2 and has the top seed in the conference. One more win in their next three will clinch the AFC North for the Ravens. They would need to lose out and see the Pittsburgh Steelers to win out to not clinch the AFC North division title. Two more wins would give Baltimore home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

New England in 10-3 and leads Buffalo by a game in the AFC East race. The Patriots are in a position to earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. However, if they lose to Buffalo down the stretch and drop maybe another game, an 11-5 record may only get the Patriots the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs. Let’s that sink in for a second. They may not win the division, let alone get a bye.

Despite clinching the AFC West, Kansas City comes in at No. 3 because the Chiefs only have a 9-4 record. Though they have the head-to-head tiebreaker over both Baltimore and New England, a 13th win by either of those contenders will mean the AFC playoffs won’t run through Arrowhead.

Coming in as the No. 4 seed this week would be the AFC South-leading Texans. At 8-5, they hold off Tennessee for the time being in the division race by having a better record in the division. That being said, these two rivals still have to meet twice in the final three weeks. Those games will decide who gets to host a home playoff game.

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Buffalo would be the No. 5 seed at 9-4, but only a game back of New England. If the Bills get to 10 wins, they can feel pretty confident about their chances of getting back to the playoffs for the second time in three years. They are a game up on the No. 6-seeded Steelers at 8-5, who edge out Tennessee for the last spot on by virtue of having a better record in-conference at this time.