NFL: Who’s clinched an AFC Playoff spot?

We’re just a few short weeks away from the conclusion of the National Football League Regular Season and now we have a picture of who has clinched a berth in the Playoffs.

We’ve already looked at who is in the running for the NFC Playoffs so let’s now turn to the American Football Conference.

This list could change slightly given the last three weeks of games to be played, but we can see who has managed so far.  

Do you want to know who has clinched a spot in the NFC?

NFL Playoffs? What are those? Read this handy explainer first…

Buffalo Bills

Position: AFC EAST Leader

Stats: 11 Wins / 3 Losses

November 7, 2021, Jacksonville, FL, USA: JACKSONVILLE, FL – NOVEMBER 07: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) looks for a receiver during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 7, 2021 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL. (Credit Image: © David Rosenblum/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

One of this year’s favourites to win the Super Bowl, the Bills would be entering their 19th Playoff in 57 seasons of operation.

The team has seen off a number of Conference rivals including the Kansas City Chiefs but the journey to this point hasn’t been easy. Bills saw a downturn in the mid-point of the season when they faced two straight losses against the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.

Thankfully, they’ve rebounded and regained a 5-game win-streak.

Ahead of any Super Bowl fantasies, they need to finish the regular season as the AFC East leaders. Likewise, for them not to win the Division, they will need to lose their next games against the Bears, Bengals and Patriots.

Kansas City Chiefs

Position: AFC West Winner

Stats: 11 wins / 3 losses

October 12, 2022: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes whips a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce during the second half of Monday night’s game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Credit Image: © Rich Sugg/[email protected]/Kansas City Star via ZUMA Press Wire)

The 2020 Super Bowl winners are on course to have another very impressive Regular Season.

Despite being dented by the likes of the Indianapolis Colts at the beginning of the season or taking some licks from the Bills and recently the Bengals, they could repeat their 12 – 4 or even 14 – 2 score record of the past few years.

They could now enter the Playoffs for the 24th time in the past 57 seasons.

The next three games will be crucial for the Chiefs. Christmas Eve will see them face the Seattle Seahawks, New Year’s Day against the already eliminated Denver Broncos and finally their rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders.

Will Mahomes’ Panic-Mode deliver them perfectly into the Playoffs?

Cincinnati Bengals

Position: AFC North Leader

Stats: 10 wins / 4 losses

November 7, 2021, Cincinnati, OH, USA: CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 07: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) walks onto the field before the game against the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 7, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Credit Image: © Ian Johnson/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

The Cincinnati Bengals could be heading into their 16th Playoff of their 55 seasons in operation, and are recording another successful season so far.

Despite some hiccups in the beginning against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, they’ve managed to outweigh their losses with some impressive wins including the huge comeback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday.

Talking of comebacks.. did you read this?

Arguably they are one of the best teams in the league in terms of players and situational awareness and have a surprise factor which have pundits enthralled.

They currently sit on a 6-week win-streak and will be looking to extend that to protect their Playoff berth. They face the New England Patriots in Christmas Eve, the mighty Buffalo Bills on January 3rd and Baltimore Ravens on the 8th.

Are they Super Bowl material?

Tennessee Titans

Position: AFC South Leader

Stats: 7 wins / 7 losses

November 7, 2021, Inglewood, CA, USA: INGLEWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 07: Tennessee Titans Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) rolls out of the pocket during an NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and the Los Angeles Rams on November 07, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Credit Image: © Chris Williams/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

This could be the 23rd time the Tennessee Titans have made it into the AFC Conference Playoffs but they enter with a scratch-par of wins to losses reminiscent of countless seasons of yesteryear.

Likewise, their success dangles on a thread. Despite a very rocky start, the team finally got it’s groovewith a 5-game win-streak during the end of September into the end of October. That’s where the fun would end.

Currently the team is in a 4-game loss-streak with upsets against the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the mighty Philadelphia Eagles.

They next face the already eliminated Houston Texans on Christmas Eve, a difficult game against the Dallas Cowboys and a second match-up against the Jaguars in the New Year.  

Baltimore Ravens

Position: First Wild Card

Stats: 9 wins / 5 losses

September 26, 2021, Detroit, MI, USA: DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 26: Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) runs with the ball after making a catch during the second quarter of a regular season NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions on September 26, 2021 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Credit Image: © Scott W. Grau/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

The Baltimore Ravens could be entering the Playoffs expecting to repeat a decade-old feat of raising the Super Bowl, possibly for the third time? For now, they are a First Wild Card pick with a lot of scar tissue to manage from this season.

They’ve already appeared 13 times in Playoffs in the 27 seasons of their operation, recording 16 wins and 11 losses. They currently sit second in the AFC North Division, just behind the leaders, Cincinnati Bengals.

The question is now if Lamar Jackson will be back as Quarterback for the final few games. According to media reports, the star QB has been out of practice because of an knee injury suffered during the Broncos game.

The next three games against the Atlantic Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers and once more against the Cincinnati Bengals, will decide if they can hold their Playoff spot.

Los Angeles Chargers

Position: Second Wild Card

Stats: 8 wins / 6 losses

October 4, 2020, Tampa, FL, USA: TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 04: Keenan Allen (13) of the Chargers carries the ball after making a catch during the regular season game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 04, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © Cliff Welch/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

The Los Angeles Chargers have had a pretty average season going into the remaining games before the Playoffs. They’ve managed to reach second in their division just under the Kansas City Chiefs.

While they did make an impact with wins against the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans, they still have a lot of work to do if they are to hold their first Playoff berth since 2018.  

They go on to face the Indianapolis Colts on the 27th, the now eliminated rivals Los Angeles Rams on January 2nd and the also eliminated Denver Broncos on the 8th.

Miami Dolphins

Position: Third Wild Card

Stats: 8 wins / 6 losses

October 24, 2021, Miami Gardens, FL, USA: MIAMI GARDENS, FL – OCTOBER 24: Miami Dolphins free safety Eric Rowe (21) during the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins on October 24, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fl. (Credit Image: © David Rosenblum/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

The Miami Dolphins have had an interesting season. They’ve peaked during the midway point but the fear is that they could be about to decline. The last three games of the season will be tough but not impossible to win.

To date, the Dolphins have managed to reach the Playoffs 23 times in 57 seasons of operation, winning the Super Bowl back-to-back in 1972 and 1973.

Since 1997, their appearances at the Playoffs have been few and most have seen them depart in the Wild Card Round.

The question is now if they can hold the Third Wild Card spot. While their record against the Green Bay Packers by 10 wins, the last 4 match-ups have seen the Packers win.

Against the New England Patriots, it’s a very different story. Dolphins lead their game series by 6 games (60 – 54).

Likewise, they hold only 1 game advantage against the New York Jets (57 – 56 – 1), whom they face on January 8th.

Posted on: 21 Dec 2022