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AFC Week Fifteen Playoff Picture: Colts vs. Ravens Currently Projected for Wild Card Round

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We take a weekly look at the AFC playoff picture.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There are two weeks left in the NFL regular season, and in the AFC three of the four division leaders have clinched.  The Patriots are AFC East champions, the Broncos are AFC West champions, and the Colts are AFC South champions.  That leaves just three playoff spots up for grabs in the final two weeks, plus some seeding as well.

The Patriots and Broncos can both clinch first round byes with wins this Sunday, and if they both do that it means the Colts will officially have zero shot at earning a bye.  It seems slim now, but by this time next week it could be impossible, depending on what the two leaders do this weekend.  The Patriots play at the New York Jets while the Broncos play at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.

The Colts are in the driver's seat for the third overall seed, however, which is big.  The third seed would guarantee that the Colts would not have to travel to New England until the championship round (assuming the Patriots earn the number one seed, of course).  That's big because, while the Colts could stand a chance at Denver, they likely wouldn't have much of a chance at New England.  Of course, that also means the Colts would have to win their first game, however, so let's take a look at what that first game is currently projected to be.

The Colts are currently projected to host the Baltimore Ravens in the wild card round, as the Ravens are currently slotted as the sixth seed.  With that said, however, the Ravens are still right in the thick of the AFC North race that will likely come down to the final week, so a lot could change.  Right now, though, it's projected to be Colts vs. Ravens.  And if you asked me to choose which one of the possible opponents I'd most like the Colts to play, I think I might really say the Ravens.  Maybe the Bengals if they don't win the division, but I'd take Baltimore as well.  When the Colts played them earlier this year they won 20-13 in an impressive all-around performance, though one that left room for the offense to improve too.  The Steelers had the best offensive game plan of the year against the Colts that we've seen and I wouldn't like that matchup, and the Chargers could present a tough challenge with Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates.  The Kansas City Chiefs nearly beat Indy in the wild card round last year, and this year the Chiefs seem to be a better team than the one last year.  I'm not saying a game against either the Ravens or the Bengals would be easy - it's the playoffs; no game will be easy.  But I like the matchup for the Colts against Baltimore about as much as I'd like any of the possible match ups - and that's the one that is currently projected, though there's certainly a lot left to play out over these final two weeks.  The Colts just have to do their part and win to set themselves up with the third seed.

Complete AFC Playoff Picture - Week Fifteen:

First Round Bye:

1.  New England Patriots (11-3)

2.  Denver Broncos (11-3)

Other Division Leaders:

3.  Indianapolis Colts (10-4)

4.  Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1)

Wild Card:

5.  Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)

6.  Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

In the Hunt:

7.  Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)

8.  San Diego Chargers (8-6)

9.  Buffalo Bills (8-6)

10.  Houston Texans (7-7)

11. Miami Dolphins (7-7)

12.  Cleveland Browns (7-7)

Eliminated:

New York Jets (3-11)

Tennessee Titans (2-12)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

Oakland Raiders (2-12)