Oakland Raiders
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Home » Blog » AFC playoff picture, Week 11: Bengals-Raiders looms

AFC playoff picture, Week 11: Bengals-Raiders looms

If the Las Vegas Raiders or Cincinnati Bengals are to make noise in the AFC playoff picture, a win this week would be huge.

We’re approaching Thanksgiving. This weekend is the final gaggle of games before we dive into turkey, and before the NFL turns for home.

So where does the AFC playoff picture stand heading into Sunday? Here’s a look:

1. Tennessee Titans (8-2)
2. Buffalo Bills (6-3)
3. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
5. New England Patriots (7-4)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1)
7. Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)

8. Las Vegas Raiders (5-4)
9. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
10. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
11. Cleveland Browns (5-5)
12. Denver Broncos (5-5)

The most important games of the weekend happen at the bottom of the bracket. The Steelers visit the Chargers on Sunday night, in what will be a de facto home game for Pittsburgh. The Steelers are without edge rusher T.J. Watt, corner Joe Haden and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, but they should run all night on Los Angeles’ porous defense.

Earlier in the day, the Raiders host the Bengals at Allegiant Stadium. The winner breaks a two-game losing skid while the loser falls deeper into a three-game funk. Frankly, a loss for either is devastating considering the picture and tiebreaker implications.

The Titans are leading the conference by 1.5 games and should win again, getting the Houston Texans for the first of their two meetings this year. Tennessee has a nice schedule ahead, including two with Houston, along with a rematch against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a showdown with the three-win Miami Dolphins.

As for Buffalo, a key game with the visiting Colts. Indianapolis was 1-4 but has since rallied, getting back to .500 and looking to eclipse the mark this weekend in western New York. It’ll be a challenge, with the Bills trying to stay in front of the Patriots, who handled the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, 25-0.

Meanwhile, the Ravens are banged-up with quarterback Lamar Jackson questionable and receiver Hollywood Brown out, but their opponent, the Chicago Bears, are equally injured. Chicago is down defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and outside linebacker Khalil Mack, the latter being out for the year.

Finally, the game of the day is expected to take place in Kansas City, where the Chiefs welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Arrowhead Stadium. Should Andy Reid’s club win, it would be four straight going into its bye week, with the Broncos and Raiders at home on the other side of the break. The Chiefs would have a chance to get on a serious roll.

  • 100%