Let’s check the pulse on the AFC Playoff Picture and AFC Wild Card standings after the Titans moved past the Chiefs in Week 8.
Now that we’re eight weeks into the season, it appears the NFL Playoff Picture on the AFC side of the bracket is starting to come into focus.
There’s still plenty of football left to be played, but any little movement is beginning to become more and more significant. For instance, the Kansas City Chiefs were on a bye week this Sunday but fell in the AFC Playoff Picture thanks to the Tennessee Titans winning.
It’s likely to be a temporary change rather than a shift in power, but anything happening with the Chiefs and Titans is doing so in a vacuum. Right now the AFC belongs to the Buffalo Bills, and a dominant performance on Sunday Night only further solidifies that notion.
The AFC is extremely top-heavy, as the Baltimore Ravens are the fourth-best team and are starting to hit a stride. They’ll always play Ravens Football — which will often involve a lot of weird stuff — but John Harbaugh has consistently made Baltimore a team to worry about and the better Lamar Jackson gets the scarier the whole unit becomes.
Updated AFC Playoff Picture after Week 8
Here’s why the Chiefs falling in the AFC Playoff Picture is significant: next week the No. 2 seed in the conference is on the line. It was expected that the Titans would beat Houston this Sunday, but Tennessee and Kansas City square off on Sunday Night Football next weekend.
With both teams sitting at 5-2, that game will be for an all-important tiebreaker that could come into play later in the year. Kansas City already lost a tiebreaker to the Buffalo Bills and would dig itself into a hole if it lost another.
The AFC Playoff Picture is bigger than the Chiefs and Titans, though. With a win in Detroit, the Miami Dolphins have bounced back and are back in the picture. Cincinnati can move into the No. 7 seed with a win on Monday Night Football and the New England Patriots are lingering on the cusp of the bubble.
Here’s what the AFC playoff bracket would look like if the postseason started today:
- Buffalo Bills (5-1)
- Tennessee Titans (5-2)
- Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
- Baltimore Ravens (5-3)
- New York Jets (5-3)
- Miami Dolphins (5-3)
- Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)
Based on those standings, here’s what the playoff matchups would look like for the first weekend of action:
- (2) Tennessee Titans vs. (7) Cincinnati Bengals
- (3) Kansas City Chiefs vs. (6) Miami Dolphins
- (4) Baltimore Ravens vs. (5) New York Jets
AFC Wild Card standings after Week 7 (Updated after Sunday Night Football)
Below the fold of the AFC Playoff Picture, the Cincinnati Bengals are back in the mix. The Super Bowl runner-ups got off to a rocky start to the year but dominated the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7, a performance that seems to indicate the offense is awake. Joe Burrow looks like the MVP candidate he was in 2021 and the Bengals appear to have shaken off the Super Bowl hangover — for now.
Cincinnati got some help from the team they beat in the playoffs last year. Tennessee walloping the Colts knocked Indianapolis out of the playoff picture for now and opened up a path for teams like Miami and New England to leap them.
For now, here’s what the Wild Card standings look like after Week 7:
5th Seed: New York Jets (5-3)
6th Seed: Miami Dolphins (5-3)
7th Seed: Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)
On The Bubble
Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)
New England Patriots (4-4)
Indianapolis Colts (3-4-1)
In The Hunt
Denver Broncos (3-5)
Las Vegas Raiders (2-5)
Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)
Houston Texans (1-5-1)
AFC Playoff Picture Tiebreaker Scenarios
With so many teams tied in the standings, a handful of tiebreakers come into play based on various factors related to the schedule.
- Ravens win the tiebreaker over Cincinnati based on head-to-head win percentage.
- Bengals hold the tiebreaker Miami based on head-to-head win percentage.
- Dolphins hold a tiebreaker over New England based on head-to-head win percentage.