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AFC Wild Card Scenarios: Who Gets In and How?

Josh Allen by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

AFC Wild Card Scenarios: Who Gets In and How?


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

As it stands after week 15: 

In the Hunt:

  • Titans
  • Raiders 
  • Browns 

The Bills: With their win over the Steelers in primetime, the Bills have punched their ticket to the postseason and have all but locked up the No 5 seed in the AFC. Oh sure, they could beat the Patriots in Foxboro next week and go on to beat the Jets in the final week while at the same time the Patriots lose to the three-win Dolphins, which would give the Bills the division title and the No 2 seed. I’d imagine even the biggest dreamers in the Bills Mafia aren’t holding their breath on that scenario and are happy having a date to the dance. 


The Texans: Currently, they occupy the division lead and the 4th seed in the playoffs.

How they get in:

  • Win one of the final two games. A win vs the Bucs or Titans in the final week will give them the AFC South title and a trip to the postseason 

The Steelers: Currently the Steelers and their undrafted rookie QB hold the 6 seed.

How they get in:

  • Win at both the Jets and Ravens. Two wins will be enough to hold off the Titans.
  • One win vs the Jets or Ravens and either two loses by the Titans (Saints, Texans) OR just a Titans’ loss to the Texans in week 17.
  • Lose both games provided the Titans also lose out and the Browns and lose one of their final two vs the Ravens and Bengals.

The Titans: Currently, Tannehill and Co. are on the outside looking in with the same record as the Steelers, but with a worse win/loss vs AFC opponents.

How they get in:

  • Win vs both the Saints and Texans and get some help from either the Jets or Ravens beating the Steelers (in this scenario they could also win the division should the Texans also lose to the Bucs in week 16).
  • Win vs the Texans in week 17 and one loss from the Steelers to either the Jets or Ravens.

The Browns: The summer 2019 darlings of the NFL analysts’ world, the preseason shoe-in for the AFC North Title, the daring Superbowl Pick? Yikes! Despite everyone prematurely wetting themselves over Browns’ excitement, they are, in fact, still alive and can get in on a wing and a prayer.

How they get in:

  • Cleveland would need to win their remaining two games against the Ravens and Bengals. They would then need the Steelers to lose both games (Jets, Ravens) and the Titans to lose both of their final two (Saints, Texans), and they would need the Colts to win both of their final two games.

The Raiders: If you thought the Browns’ odds were crummy, I give you the Raiders. Still not mathematically eliminated, but they will need most likely a true Christmas miracle to make the postseason: Ready?

How they get in:

  • Win at the Chargers and Broncos. Then they would need the Steelers (vs Jets, Ravens), Titans (vs Saints, Texans) and Browns (Ravens, Bengals) to lose out. Then they would need the Colts to win both of their final two games. Ooof, if you’re a Raiders fan and that happens, buy a lottery ticket immediately!

Final Predictions (Prior to week 16)

  1. Ravens
  2. Patriots
  3. Chiefs
  4. Texans
  5. Bills
  6. Steelers

Christian is husband, father and video editor working in New York City. Originally from the Greater Pittsburgh Area he is a life long fan The Steelers, Penguins and Pirates as well as Professional Wrestling.

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