Thanks to early NFL action in Week 15, we have seen some shakeup in the AFC playoff picture. The Chargers upset win over the Chiefs complicates not only the AFC West, but the race for the top two seeds in the conference.
Both teams have clinched postseason births, but there is a massive difference in finishing first or second in the AFC West. The winner likely secures the No. 1 or No. 2 seed giving them a first-round bye. The second place team will play on the road during Wild Card weekend.
The Chiefs and Chargers are tied atop the division, but Kansas City has the slight edge based on the tiebreakers. Here’s how NFL.com outlines the tiebreaker scenarios when two teams are tied in the same division.
If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.
Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in common games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
The Texans win on Saturday night puts even more pressure on the Patriots to bounce back after a stunning loss to the Dolphins in Week 14. New England takes on Pittsburgh in a matchup with massive postseason implications.
The strength of the AFC West means there is essentially one Wild Card spot up for grabs putting even more pressure on teams to win their division if they want to make the postseason.
Here’s a look at the current AFC playoff standings. Teams in bold would make the playoffs if the postseason started today. Teams listed in italics have already clinched a playoff birth.
AFC Wild Card Standings: Week 15
The top two teams will earn a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.
|1. Los Angeles Chargers||11||3||0|
|2. Baltimore Ravens||8||6||0|
|3. Indianapolis Colts||8||6||0|
|4. Tennessee Titans||8||6||0|
|5. Miami Dolphins||7||7||0|
|6. Cleveland Browns||6||7||1|
|7. Denver Broncos||6||8||0|
|8. Cincinnati Bengals||6||8||0|
AFC Playoff Standings
|1. Kansas City Chiefs||11||3||0|
|2. Houston Texans||10||4||0|
|3. New England Patriots||9||5||0|
|4. Pittsburgh Steelers||8||5||1|
|5. L.A. Chargers||11||3||0|
|6. Baltimore Ravens||8||6||0|
|7. Indianapolis Colts||8||6||0|
|8. Tennessee Titans||8||6||0|
|9. Miami Dolphins||7||7||0|
|10. Cleveland Browns||6||7||1|
|11. Denver Broncos||6||8||0|
|12. Cincinnati Bengals||6||8||0|
|13. Buffalo Bills||4||9||0|
|14. New York Jets||4||10||0|
|15. Jacksonville Jaguars||4||10||0|
|16. Oakland Raiders||3||11||0|
AFC Playoff Matchups Based on Current Standings
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (Bye)
No. 2 Houston Texans (Bye)
No. 6 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 3 New England Patriots
No. 5 L.A. Chargers vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh Steelers