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Thursday night AFC shakeup?

We didn't see that coming. Sure, the San Diego Chargers have posted some impressive victories this season -- at Kansas City, anyone? -- but their 27-20 win in Denver on Thursday came as a surprise. It also might have shaken up a somewhat clear regular-season picture in the AFC. Suddenly, San Diego is back in decent playoff position. Denver, off an uncharacteristically slow offensive performance, might need a pair of road wins to clinch a division that seemed theirs. How will the last two-plus weeks play out?

How worried should Broncos fans be about their 27-20 home loss to the Chargers on Thursday?

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    26%
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    54%
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    20%

Discuss (Total votes: 42,814)

  • Can the Broncos win the Super Bowl without a healthy Wes Welker?

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      39%
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      61%

    Discuss (Total votes: 13,388)

  • Which team will win the AFC West?

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      84%
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      16%

    Discuss (Total votes: 12,695)

  • What is your pick to win the AFC?

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      49%
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      51%

    Discuss (Total votes: 106,062)

  • If the current AFC top five (DEN, NE, CIN, IND, KC) holds, which of these teams is most likely to earn the sixth playoff spot?

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      21%
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      35%
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      44%

    Discuss (Total votes: 47,287)

  • How many wins will the sixth AFC wild-card team finish with?

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      15%
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      71%
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      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,138)

  • Peyton Manning is three TD passes shy of tying Tom Brady's single-season record (50). Will he break it?

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      57%
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      37%
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      6%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,630)

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While the Denver Broncos were taking control of the AFC West against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the other three top AFC contenders took care of business to extend their leads atop their respective divisions. And although none has officially clinched, the Cincinnati Bengals (two games up), New England Patriots (three) and Indianapolis Colts (also three) seem destined to host playoff contests come January.

Elsewhere, the Miami Dolphins moved to .500 by hammering the New York Jets, while the Baltimore Ravens looked on after beating the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving. Which wild-card contender will taste the postseason? How will the division leaders fare?


Patriots' outlook?

The Patriots moved to 9-3 on Sunday -- but had to eke out a win over Houston.

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How far will the Patriots go this season?

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    5%
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    25%
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    45%
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    8%
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    17%

Discuss (Total votes: 13,828)


Bengals' outlook?

The Bengals topped the host Chargers 17-10, moving them to 8-4 with three home games left.

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How far will the Bengals go this season?

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    41%
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    49%
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    6%
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    1%
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    3%

Discuss (Total votes: 13,118)


Colts' outlook?

Indy hasn't looked great of late but is 8-4 and should cruise to the AFC South title.

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How far will the Colts go this season?

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    49%
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    41%
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    6%
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    1%
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    3%

Discuss (Total votes: 13,053)


Last spot?

The Dolphins and Ravens are one game ahead of a four-team pack at 5-7.

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If the top five playoff spots hold in the AFC, which team will earn the sixth?

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    24%
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    54%
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    22%

Discuss (Total votes: 47,344)

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You know how the NFL goes: One shouldn't assume anything. But -- despite losses by the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday -- the top five playoff spots in the AFC have seemed locked up for some time. That last berth, though? The race continues to be heated. Six teams (New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers) currently are tied for that position, with 5-6 records. Three (Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders) trail by just one game. Of those nine teams, which is most likely to make the playoffs? Least likely? Click on the images below to set your rankings!

AFC wild-card contenders

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Browns

Chargers

Dolphins

Jets

Raiders

Ravens

Steelers

Titans

Your Rankings

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Who makes playoffs from AFC?

With each passing week, things get muddier in the AFC playoff picture. Well, not among the top five teams -- the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals all have one foot through the postseason door. But that last spot is up for grabs, with eight teams within one game of qualifying.

The New York Jets, they of a 37-14 loss at Buffalo on Sunday, are tied for the spot. The Miami Dolphins, who gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their first win all season, also own a 5-5 record. A trio of AFC North teams -- the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens -- all are 4-6, as are the Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. How will the whole thing play out?

  • Will the AFC's current top five teams (Kansas City, Denver, New England, Indianapolis and Cincinnati) all make the playoffs?

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      87%
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      13%

    Discuss (Total votes: 12,193)

  • If the top five playoff spots (Chiefs, Bengals, Patriots, Colts, Broncos) hold in the AFC, which team will earn the sixth?

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      18%
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      20%
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      21%
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      20%
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      21%

    Discuss (Total votes: 43,146)

  • Which 4-6 AFC North team has the best chance of making the playoffs?

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      18%
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      46%
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      36%

    Discuss (Total votes: 35,212)

  • Which of these surprising playoff contenders has the best shot of reaching the postseason?

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      21%
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      48%
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      18%
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      13%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,469)

  • Are the Chargers (4-6, 4 games against Kansas City, Denver and Cincinnati remaining) finished?

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      83%
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      17%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,056)

  • How has the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito situation affected the Dolphins?

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      4%
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      75%
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      21%

    Discuss (Total votes: 32,204)

  • Which team had the biggest win Sunday?

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      22%
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      12%
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      66%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,644)

  • The Jets pulled Geno Smith during Sunday's 37-14 loss at Buffalo. Should they bench him next week at Baltimore?

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      37%
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      63%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,479)

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AFC playoff race heating up

Six AFC teams end Week 10 within one game of the second wild-card spot. Two -- the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns -- are clawing ever closer to the top of the AFC North, whose leader (the Cincinnati Bengals) lost its second straight game Sunday and its defensive leader last Thursday. In other words, intrigue abounds in the season's final seven weeks.

  • If the AFC's top five teams (Chiefs, Broncos, Patriots, Colts, Bengals) all reach the playoffs, which team will grab the other slot?

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      34%
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      9%
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      24%
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      19%
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      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 33,630)

  • Which team will win the AFC?

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      55%
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      25%
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      4%
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      11%
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      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 34,489)

  • Will the AFC's current top five teams (Kansas City, Denver, New England, Indianapolis and Cincinnati) all make the playoffs?

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      76%
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      24%

    Discuss (Total votes: 33,448)

  • Which of the AFC's current top five is in the most danger of missing the playoffs?

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      66%
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      2%
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      2%
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      21%
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      9%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,338)

  • Which team will win the AFC West?

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      39%
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      61%

    Discuss (Total votes: 27,531)

  • Will the Bengals (6-4, 1.5 games up on Browns and Ravens) win the AFC North?

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      74%
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      26%

    Discuss (Total votes: 15,181)

Comment »