NFL: Tennessee Titans-Training Camp
Jul 26, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
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AFC playoff picture, Week 12: Patriots-Titans clash

We take a look at the AFC playoff picture entering Sunday’s action, with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans matching up.

With the Thanksgiving Day games behind us, here’s how the AFC playoff picture entering the Week 12 weekend slate:

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

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)
9. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
10. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
11. Denver Broncos (5-5)
12. Cleveland Browns (5-5)

The biggest game involves the top team in the bracket, with the Titans taking on the Patriots in Foxboro. New England has won five straight and is coming off a mini-bye after handling the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday night. Meanwhile, the Titans are wounded with receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, along with running back Derrick Henry, all on the Injured Reserve list.

Another key area to watch this weekend is the AFC North. The division sees two battles with the Steelers and Bengals squaring off at Paul Brown Stadium, while the Ravens and Browns meet in Baltimore on Sunday night. For Pittsburgh, a loss could send it tumbling down the standings, while the Bengals are trying to stay above the cut line.

In Baltimore, the Browns desperately need to beat the Ravens, who they play twice in the next three weeks. If Lamar Jackson and Co. can win, they’ll move into the AFC’s top spot provided the Patriots knock off the Titans.

We also see an important matchup in the AFC West with the rested Broncos welcoming in the Chargers. Los Angeles can move into first place of the division with the Chiefs on their bye week. However, a loss and they almost certainly fall from the playoff picture. For Denver, it’s a must-win with a trip to Arrowhead Stadium looming in Week 13.

Finally, we get the Colts hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday. Indianapolis ic coming off its most impressive win of the campaign, hanging 41 points on the Bills. The Colts will need to run the ball aggressively with Jonathan Taylor, even if the Bucs have one of the league’s toughest groups to pound the rock against. Unfortunately for the Colts, a loss and they go to 6-6 with tough games against the Patriots and Raiders still coming in December and January.

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