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This was an interesting weekend in the AFC to say the least. The Patriots dismantled the Colts on Sunday Night Football, the Broncos got embarrassed by the Rams, the Chiefs upset the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks, and the Steelers squeaked by the Titans on Monday Night Football. With these statements games, the playoff picture has dramatically changed, with the Patriots now with control of their playoff future.

Currently, thanks to the St. Louis Rams, the Patriots have a one game lead for the #1 seed in the AFC over the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Here is a look at the current playoff seeding.

Fortunately for the Patriots, the Denver Broncos (7-3) play, in Kansas City, the Chiefs (7-3) on November 30th. This game sets one of these two teams back another game, but the Patriots very well could be cheering for the Broncos. The Patriots have the head to head advantage over the Broncos, but do not have the tie-breaker against the Chiefs due to losing to them earlier this year. In reality, the Patriots can afford to lose another game, as long as the Broncos defeat the Chiefs. This game is also key because, more than likely, this game will determine the winner of the AFC West. This game could determine the difference between the 2nd and 5th seed in the AFC.

The Chiefs do have a tough remainder of their schedule after they face the Broncos with games at Arizona and at Pittsburgh. Should they beat the Broncos, they are far from a lock to win out. In reality, the Chiefs will more than likely lost one of these three games, which would allow the Patriots to sustain a loss and still be the first seed.

The Broncos have found themselves in a difficult position. They have their backs against the wall. They face the Miami Dolphins this upcoming week, and the Dolphins may have the perfect team to stress the Broncos. Having a similar defense to the Rams, the Dolphins may sake to pressure the Broncos offensive line and get to Manning. They follow that game up with the Chiefs, who also have a good pass rushing defense. Besides the Chiefs, their toughest remaining game will come against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. While the Chargers have been unimpressive of late, they always play the Broncos tough, especially at home, so don't sleep on that game. What seemed like an easy road to the 2nd seed is now filled with doubt.

The Colts (6-4) are primed to win out with their easy schedule and earn the 3rd or 4th seed in the AFC. Their schedule contains the Titans, Jaguars, Texans, Redskins, Browns, and Cowboys. With the loss of Ahmad Bradshaw, the Colts have become one dimensional on offense, and that could severely damage their chances come playoffs. Unless the Colts plan on making a move for a free agent RB, they will be very thin in the backfield, with sputtering Trent Richardson leading the way.

The AFC North is all over the place, with the Bengals (6-3-1) currently holding the lead. The Steelers (7-4), Browns (6-4), and Ravens (6-4) still technically have a shot to win the division. The Bengals do not own the tie-breaker with the Patriots due to losing to them earlier this season. Right now, the final wildcard spot belongs to the Steelers. The Browns get back Josh Gordon, the Steelers will rely on Le'Veon Bell in the backfield, and the Bengals should get Giovani Bernard back this week. This division will be the most interesting to watch to see who comes out on top.

The Patriots have a good chance to run the table here and finish 14-2. Their toughest test this season may come against the rolling Green Bay Packers in the Frozen Tundra. If they overcome the Packers, the Patriots will play their three divisional rivals to end the season. The Lions and Chargers have lost a lot of their imposing stature, and both appear to be easy victories for the Patriots (knock on wood). Things are starting to fall into place for the Patriots, and barring injuries, they can go into the playoffs with a full head of steam, without having to leave the comfort of Patriot Place.

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Unknown 11/20/2014 11:39:00 AM Edit
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