AFC playoff picture comes into picture with Ravens’ and Dolphins’ wild wins

Eric Edholm

The Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins needed drama to shape the AFC playoff picture.

The Ravens had the last laugh in a wild, late-game shootout over the Minnesota Vikings. The Dolphins survived a near Stanford-Cal finish to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pending the results of the Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers games, we could have quite a glut for the quest for the final AFC wildcard spot. What these teams might lack in prowess, they make up for in guts.

The defending-champion Ravens currently sit in the sixth spot at 7-6. Anyone want to face Joe Flacco and the suddenly hot Ravens in the playoffs?

The Dolphins, who lost to the Ravens in Week 5, have the same record but would lose the first tiebreaker if they finished even in the standings. That's three victories in four games from them. What controversy? Credit head coach Joe Philbin for keeping this ship afloat the past month.

The New York Jets quietly finished off the Oakland Raiders Sunday, and that game helped clear things up. The Jets remain in contention at 6-7 — with a game left against the Dolphins — and the Raiders fell to 4-9 and are out of it.

The Steelers' chances to make the postseason took a serious hit, as they fell to 5-8. So, too, did the Cleveland Browns, who blew a 12-point lead with 2:43 remaining, to fall to 4-9 and extinguish whatever hopes they had remaining.

With the Kansas City Chiefs moving to 10-3 with a blowout of the Washington Redskins, their chances of locking up the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs are all but certain at this point.

And a key tiebreaker was settled as the Cincinnati Bengals topped the Indianapolis Colts, which could help lock those teams in the 3 and 4 seeds, respectively, assuming they hang on to win their divisions.

Week 14 featured a little bit of everything, including some clarity in what has been a muddled AFC playoff picture.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!