The lower end of the AFC playoff picture became as clear as mud today. Two teams, Cincinnati and Tennessee, had a chance to put some distance on division rivals in Baltimore and Indianapolis, and instead, we now sit at a five-way tie for the final AFC wildcard spot (with Miami having a bye already at 5-5).
So let’s break down the race for the last spot, because every division leader plus the Los Angeles Chargers have at least a two-game lead on all the 5-5 teams. Meanwhile, Denver also got a big road win and is lurking one game behind now.
Here’s a look at the upcoming schedules and outlook for the contenders:
The Colts put together their most complete performance of the season today in blasting the Titans. With Andrew Luck back, they have the most explosive offense of any of the wildcard hopefuls, but also have allowed 249 points in ten games. They are trending in the right direction and have a schedule that is not so difficult that it would prevent a run to the postseason. Because of questions about Joe Flacco’s health, and the fact that other 5-5 teams have a significantly worse point differential, you would have to put the Colts as the favorite.
Expected wins: 8.7
Tiebreaker wins: Tennessee (for now, on H2H)
Tiebreaker losses: Cincinnati
Upcoming Tiebreaker games: vs. Miami, at Tennessee