2023-24 AFC Playoff Picture: Week 16

By Rockin’ Reese

When we ended week 15, the Baltimore Ravens became the first team to clinch a playoff berth in the AFC.
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Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans & New York Jets joined the New England Patriots as teams who were eliminated from playoff contention. Now, as we prepare for Christmas weekend, let’s take a look at this week’s playoff picture.

This week’s potential scenarios, the Ravens can be AFC North Champions. The (defending Super Bowl Champion) Kansas City Chiefs can clinch a playoff berth & be AFC West Champions. The Miami Dolphins can clinch a playoff berth and/or be AFC East Champions. The Cleveland Browns can clinch a playoff berth. The Las Vegas Raiders & Los Angeles Chargers can be eliminated from playoff contention.

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For the Ravens to win the north, they would need to win on the road against the San Francisco 49ers & need the Cleveland Browns to lose or tie on the road against the Houston Texans. They can also win the division with a tie & a Browns loss.

For the Chiefs, if they’re victorious at home against the Raiders, not only will they clinch a playoff spot, but they’ll win the west. They can also do this, if they tie & the Denver Broncos lose at home to the Patriots.

For the Dolphins, they can clinch a playoff berth with a win at home against the Dallas Cowboys. They can also clinch with a tie and if…the Jacksonville Jaguars lose; the Cincinnati Bengals & Indianapolis Colts lose or tie; the Texans & Bengals lose or tie; the Colts & Texans lose; the Colts lose or tie & the Browns lose.

To win the east, the Dolphins need to win & need the Buffalo Bills to lose or tie on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. They can also win the division with a tie & a Bills loss.

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For the Browns to clinch a playoff spot, they can’t do it with a win, alone. They have a lot of scenarios, where they can clinch with a win & some help. The Browns can clinch if they win, the Broncos lose or tie, and…the Dolphins win or tie, Colts lose or tie, & the Bills lose; the Jaguars lose, the Colts win, & the Pittsburgh Steelers lose or tie; the Bills lose, the Steelers lose or tie, & the Dolphins win or tie; the Colts lose, the Steelers lose or tie, & the Dolphins win or tie; the Steelers lose or tie, the Jaguars lose, & the Dolphins win or tie.

The Browns can also clinch if they win, the Bills lose, and…the Steelers & Jaguars lose, the Dolphins win or tie, & the Colts win; the Chiefs & Colts win and the Jaguars & Steelers lose; the Bills & Jaguars lose, the Colts win, & the Steelers tie.

The Raiders are eliminated, if they lose on Christmas afternoon. They can also be eliminated if they tie and…the Bengals & Bills win; the Jaguars & Bengals win and the Colts win or tie; the Bengals & Jaguars win and the Texans win or tie; the Texans, Bengals, & Colts win; the Bills & Jaguars win and the Colts win or tie; the Jaguars & Bills win and the Texans win or tie; the Colts, Texans, & Bills win; the Jaguars, Texans, & Colts win.

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The Chargers can be eliminated in a myriad of ways, but the most direct way is if they lose or tie on Saturday. While I won’t give all of the other ways they can be eliminated, I will say that many of them will involve “strength of victory” scenarios. As for more direct possibilities, they need to hope the following scenarios don’t happen (*-Scenario involved the Los Angeles Rams winning.):

The Jaguars win or tie. The Bengals, Colts, & Texans win or tie. The Broncos & Colts win and the Bengals win or tie. The Raiders & Broncos tie, the Bengals win or tie, & the Colts win. The Colts & Bengals tie and the Broncos win. The Bengals, Colts, Broncos, & Raiders tie. The Texans & Bengals win or tie and the Broncos win. The Raiders, Bengals, & Texans win or tie and the Broncos tie. The Bengals & Raiders win or tie and the Broncos win.

The Broncos tie, the Raiders win, and the Bengals win or tie. *-The Steelers win and the Texans & Colts tie. *-The Texans tie and the Colts & Steelers win. The Raiders & Steelers win, the Texans win or tie, & the Colts tie. *-The Colts & Raiders tie and the Texans & Steelers win. *-The Broncos & Colts tie and the Steelers & Texans win. The Steelers & Colts win, the Texans win or tie, and the Broncos tie. The Texans & Raiders win or tie and the Colts & Steelers win. The Broncos & Steelers win and the Colts win or tie.

The Raiders & Colts win or tie, the Broncos tie, & the Steelers win. *-The Texans, Steelers, & Broncos win and the Raiders tie. *-The Broncos & Raiders tie and the Steelers & Texans win. The Steelers & Raiders win, the Broncos win or tie, & the Texans tie. *-The Texans tie and the Steelers & Broncos win. *-The Broncos, Texans, & Raiders tie and the Steelers win. The Browns, Broncos, & Steelers win and the Raiders win or tie. The Browns, Raiders, & Steelers win and the Broncos tie.

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