NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers
Aug 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; A helmet from a San Diego Chargers player in a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Home » Blog » AFC playoff picture, Week 13: Chargers must win

AFC playoff picture, Week 13: Chargers must win

There are four key games in the AFC playoff picture this weekend, and one features a desperate Los Angeles Chargers team.

With six weeks remaining in the 2021 NFL season, here’s how the AFC playoff picture looks:

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

8. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
9. Denver Broncos (6-5)
10. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

The AFC is loaded with important matchups this weekend, stretching through Monday night.


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We start there, with the Bills hosting the Patriots in a battle for first place in the AFC East. Should New England go on the road and win, it starts to appear it’s going to hold on in the division, while Buffalo fights for a wild card spot. If the Bills emerge victorious, the Patriots fall and need to bounce back when the two have their rematch on Dec. 26.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, there are great games galore.

In the early window, the Chargers are going to Cincinnati for a date with the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati is playing well, coming off an impressive 41-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Bengals can beat the Chargers, they go to 8-4 and start to solidify themselves in the playoff race. Conversely, Los Angeles has lost four of its last six and desperately needs to get back on track.

In the late afternoon, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers playing host to the Ravens. It’s the first of two tilts between the teams this year, after Pittsburgh swept Baltimore in 2020. The Ravens are 8-3 and leading the conference but have had incredibly tight, wild affairs throughout the season. Should they lose to the Steelers and Cincinnati wins its game, Baltimore drops to the No. 5 seed.


Read: NFC Playoff Picture, Week 13 – 49ers Look For Key Win


Additionally, the Chiefs are off their bye and welcome the Broncos into Arrowhead Stadium. Denver hasn’t beaten Kansas City since Week 2 of the 2015 season, and is trying to leapfrog the two-time AFC champs with an upset win in primetime. For the Chiefs, they’re aiming for a fifth-straight win and the potential to move into ahead of New England by the end of the weekend.

Elsewhere, the Colts are on the road to tangle with the Houston Texans in a must-win, while the Raiders are attempting to win a second straight game. Las Vegas, fresh off a Thanksgiving victory over the Dallas Cowboys, are hosting the Washington Football Team.

Tennessee is on its bye week before returning against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14.

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