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AFC Playoff Picture: Colts Currently Projected to Host Chiefs in Wild Card Round

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We take a weekly look at the AFC playoff picture.

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The Colts had a great shot to get into the driver's seat when it comes to getting a first round bye in the playoffs.  And they wasted it.  With a 42-20 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots, the Colts not only saw their chances at earning that bye greatly diminish, they also saw a drop in the projected playoff seeding from number three to number four.  At the same time, however, there's still six more weeks to go and a lot will change.

Speaking of change, how about the AFC North?  We talk often about going from first to worst, but what about in one week?  The Browns, who entered the week leading the division, lost - which dropped them to fourth place in the division.  Every team is at least 6-4 or better, and that's very impressive - and a sure sign that we haven't seen the last of the standings changing in that division.

The current leader of the AFC North, the Bengals, hold the third seed over the Colts thanks to that tie they had earlier in the year.  They have one less loss than the Colts, so they have the edge at the three seed.  The Colts do hold the tiebreaker over Cincy due to the 27-0 win earlier this year.  It seems as if the Colts would be in line for the three seed when everything shakes out (especially considering the Colts' upcoming schedule), but right now they are the projected four seed behind the Bengals.

If the playoffs started today, that would mean a rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs in Indianapolis.  And this year, they're actually for real.  In fact, they're in a tie for first in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos (Denver holds the head to head tiebreaker - for now) and are playing the best football in that division.  There's a chance the Chiefs could win the division - making for Broncos vs. Colts in Indy in that wild card game.  Of course, this is all getting ahead of ourselves.  I still think the Colts will end up as the three seed (which right now would mean hosting the Steelers in the first round), but their current projection of the fourth seed has them slotted to host the Chiefs.

I think this could help show us also why it's important that the Colts earn the third seed and not the fourth (while not ruling out the possibility of a bye, the chances were greatly diminished this past weekend) - either the Chiefs or the Broncos will very likely earn the fifth seed, and both are legitimate teams.

We saw a couple of changes to the playoff picture this week, and you can be sure that there are plenty more to come during the final six weeks of the regular season.

Complete AFC Playoff Picture - Week Eleven:

First Round Bye:

1.  New England Patriots (8-2)

2.  Denver Broncos (7-3)

Other Division Leaders:

3.  Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1)

4.  Indianapolis Colts (6-4)

Wild Card:

5.  Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)

6.  Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)

In the Hunt:

7.  Miami Dolphins (6-4)

8.  San Diego Chargers (6-4)

9.  Baltimore Ravens (6-4)

10.  Cleveland Browns (6-4)

11.  Houston Texans (5-5)

12.  Buffalo Bills (5-5)

13.  New York Jets (2-8)

14.  Tennessee Titans (2-8)

15.  Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)


16.  Oakland Raiders (0-10)