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AFC playoff picture: Chiefs, Steelers, Patriots locks

The AFC has been a very clear playoff picture from the start. The New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs have been rolling through their divisions since the start, with Pittsburgh being the only team to have a little hiccup on the way.

In the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars are tied atop the division with a 5-3 record, with the Titans owning the tiebreaker (for now) with a Week 2 win over Blake Bortles and Co. at EverBank Field.

As for the wild card spots, that’s where things get messy. The Buffalo Bills and Jaguars are holding down the two spots, each at 5-3, but there is some competition right below them. The Miami Dolphins are 4-4 and heading into Charlotte for their Monday night contest with the Carolina Panthers. The Baltimore Ravens are also in the mix, sitting at 4-5 and taking on the Green Bay Packers next week at Lambeau Field, fresh off a bye.

Then there are the Oakland Raiders, who were expected to make a Super Bowl run behind Derek Carr and a potent offense. Instead, the Raiders have limped their way to a 4-5 mark, although a win in primetime over the Dolphins last weekend made things feel a bit easier. This weekend, Oakland is on a bye before traveling to Mexico City to host the Patriots, who start a stretch of five road games in six weeks this Sunday night at Denver.

Here’s an easy look at what the AFC standings look like heading into Week 10:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)
2. New England Patriots (6-2)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)
4. Tennessee Titans (5-3)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)
6. Buffalo Bills (5-3)

7. Miami Dolphins (4-4)
8. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
9. Oakland Raiders (4-5)
10. New York Jets (4-5)

This week, Pittsburgh is traveling to Indianapolis to take on the Colts. Indianapolis is 3-6 and without a litany of key players including Vontae Davis (released on Thursday) and Andrew Luck, who was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

New England takes on the Broncos at Denver on Sunday night, with the Patriots laying more than a touchdown. Tom Brady has a losing record against the Broncos, but Denver is without any semblance of an offense.

Kansas City, Baltimore and Oakland are all off this week, but the Chiefs can’t be jumped in the standings.  The Raiders and Ravens can be if the Jets beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are without both Jameis Winston and Mike Evans.

Finally, Jacksonville and Tennessee are both at home, taking on the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively. Both are favored to win, something that would vault both into a tie with Kansas city at 6-3. The Bills are hosting the New Orleans Saints, and sit as three-point underdogs in some books.

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