AFC Playoff Picture: Ravens Inch Closer To Patriots, No. 1 Seed

CBS Local Sports 3 weeks ago

BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots did not play football over the weekend, so their hold on the No. 1 seed in the AFC got a little tighter. The Baltimore Ravens won again, and now sit just a game behind New Engalnd with the tie-breaker in their back pocket.

The Ravens continued to roll, trouncing the winless Cincinnati Bengals, 49-13. Lamar Jackson took hold of the MVP conversation by throwing three touchdowns and running wild for another score, an electric 47-yard touchdown scamper that will lead all the highlight reels this week.

Jackson’s TD scamper was truly something out of a video game:

Baltimore now sits at 7-2 on the season, and they own the tie-breaker over the Patriots thanks to their victory over the Patriots last weekend. But while the Ravens snuck a little closer, the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills both lost on Sunday and fell back a little further in the standings.

Patrick Mahomes returned to action for Kansas City but the Chiefs came up short in Tennessee, 35-32, to fall to 6-4 on the year. Mahomes threw three touchdowns and had 446 yards through the air, but Titans running back Derrick Henry ran all over Kansas City, racking up 188 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. In a thrilling finish, Ryan Tannehill hit Adam Humphries for a 23-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left on the clock, and the Titans converted the two-point conversion to give them a 35-32 lead. The game wasn’t over though, and Tennessee needed corner Joshua Kalu to block Kansas City’s last-second field goal to preserve the victory.

Buffalo struggled to put up points against the Cleveland Browns, and dropped to 6-3 on the year with a 19-16 loss. With that defeat, New England’s hold on the AFC East grew to two games over Buffalo.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the L.A. Rams while the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Miami Dolphins (now winners of two straight), so Pittsburgh is sitting as the second Wild Card team with the Colts on the outside looking in. Here is the AFC Playoff picture with Week 10 all wrapped up for the conference:

AFC Playoff Picture

1. New England Patriots 8-1
2. Baltimore Ravens 7-2
3. Houston Texans 6-3
4. Kansas City Chiefs 6-4
5. Buffalo Bills 6-3
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-4

In The Hunt
7. Oakland Raiders 5-4
8. Indianapolis Colts 5-4
9. Tennessee Titans 5-5
10. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-5

The Patriots hang on the the No. 1 seed, but their path in the playoffs could be a little more difficult. Kansas City remains the No. 4 seed, meaning they would be the team to come to Foxboro for New England’s first playoff game — assuming the Patriots hang on to the 1-seed. While the Chiefs appear vulnerable at the moment, a meeting with Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans is a much more manageable matchup for anyone. If the playoff started today — and the Texans don’t blow their Wild Card matchup — the 2-seeded Ravens would get a visit from Houston.

Here is a look at the remaining schedules for the Patriots, Ravens, Texans and Chiefs:

Patriots: @ Philadelphia (5-4), vs. Dallas (5-4), @ Houston (6-3), vs. Kansas City (6-4), @ Cincinnati (0-9), vs. Buffalo (6-3), vs. Miami (2-7)

Ravens: vs. Houston (6-3), @ L.A. Rams (5-4), vs. San Francisco (8-0), @ Buffalo (6-3), vs. New York Jets (2-7), @ Cleveland (3-6), vs. Pittsburgh (5-4)

Texans: @ Baltimore (6-4), vs. Indianapolis (5-4); vs. New England (8-1), vs. Denver (3-6), @ Tennessee (5-5), @ Tampa Bay (3-6), vs. Tennessee

Chiefs: vs. L.A. Chargers (4-6), vs. Oakland (5-4), @ New England (8-1), vs. Denver (3-6), @ Chicago (4-5), vs. L.A. Chargers

So there is a lot to shake out, especially with Baltimore’s schedule getting a little tougher. The Patriots, fresh off their bye week, will be back to work on Monday as they prepare for Sunday’s matchup the Philadelphia Eagles.

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