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A close look at the AFC’s tight playoff picture

The <b>Colts</b> are clearly the class of the conference. They’vealready clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, andtheir style of play suits their domed stadium just perfectly.<p></p>

The Colts are clearly the class of the conference. They’ve already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and their style of play suits their domed stadium just perfectly.

The Chargers clinched the AFC West yesterday with a 27-24 win over Cincinnati combined with Denver’s shocking loss to Oakland. San Diego will likely be the No. 2 seed in the AFC. The Patriots took a two-game lead in the East with two games to play when they won and the Jets and Dolphins both lost. The South is up for grabs, with the Bengals?(9-5) clinging to a one-game lead over the Ravens, who blew out the Bears yesterday. Cincy has the easier closing schedule.

The Broncos (8-6) and either the Bengals or Ravens have the inside track at the AFC’s wild-card berths. Also in the hunt are the conference’s slew of 7-7 teams:?the Dolphins, Jets, Jaguars, Titans, Steelers and Texans. Any of those will probably need to win out to get in, though.

The Chiefs and Browns are the class of the AFC basement, as both hold putrid 3-11 records. Neither will likely challenge the NFC’s Rams (1-13), Lions (2-12) or Bucs (2-12) for the title of Worst Team in the NFL. The Bills are on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff field, as are the Raiders (despite yesterday’s rivalry win over the Broncos).

 
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