Bill Belichick, Patriots
Nov 15, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

AFC playoff picture, Week 9: Ravens battle with Patriots

Week 9 is here. The AFC is a bit clearer than the NFC in terms of who will make the postseason and who will likely be looking at draft guides by Thanksgiving. Still, there’s intrigue, so let’s get into it.

Going into Week 9, here is how things stand in the AFC:

1. New England Patriots (8-0)
2. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
3. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
5. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
6. Houston Texans (5-3)

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
8. Tennessee Titans (4-4)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4)
10. Oakland Raiders (3-4)

The best game of the week features two of the top three AFC teams. New England is on the road taking on Baltimore, with the Ravens trying to knock the Patriots from the ranks of the unbeaten. Tom Brady and Co. are 8-0 and continuing their quest for a second perfect regular season in 12 years. Meanwhile, should the Ravens win, it seems they would have a hammerlock on the top spot in the AFC North.

Indianapolis is taking on the Steelers this weekend in Pittsburgh, and will be doing so without receiver T.Y. Hilton. With Hilton out, the Colts need to figure out how to move the ball consistently through the air. Look for tight ends Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron to be the featured weapons when running back Marlon Mack isn’t pounding the ball. As for Pittsburgh, it can get into the playoff picture with a third straight victory.

Kansas City could be getting back MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes this weekend with the Minnesota Vikings coming to town. Beating the Vikings would be a major step towards reclaiming the second seed and positioning itself well for a January run.

In Buffalo, the Bills are playing host to the hideous Washington Redskins. Josh Allen and friends are attempting to get to 6-2 on the year while Washington starts rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins for the first time in his young career. This should be one of the easiest weekends for the Bills.

Houston and Jacksonville are playing a critical game in London, with the winner owning the sixth seed for the time being. The Texans are trying to move forward without J.J. Watt, while the Jaguars are hoping for a third consecutive victory.

Finally, the Titans are on the road facing the Carolina Panthers, hoping to get to 5-4. If they should win, it’s 3-0 for Ryan Tannehill as Tennessee’s starting quarterback. Meanwhile in Oakland, the Raiders welcome in the Detroit Lions for a crucial affair between two teams on the fringe of playoff contention.

  • 100%