Shutdown Corner

How crazy is the AFC playoff race? A 5-6 record is good enough right now for a spot

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner



Here's all you need to know about the AFC playoff race: The Pittsburgh Steelers, once 0-4, were the AFC's sixth seed at 5-6 if the season ended at the conclusion of Sunday's early games.

Then the Tennessee Titans, also at 5-6, overtook them for that temporary spot with a last-minute win against the Raiders, who fell to 4-7.

The bottom half of the AFC hasn't shown a lot of desire to play in January. The failures continued on Sunday. The Dolphins had a chance to take a step forward, but gave up a late game-winning drive to the Panthers and lost. They are now 5-6. The Jets, the other 5-5 AFC team coming into Sunday, got nothing going in an ugly 19-3 loss at Baltimore. The Ravens are once again alive at 5-6.

View photo


(USA Today Sports Images)

The Chargers, Titans, Ravens and Steelers won on Sunday, which means there are six (!!!) teams tied at 5-6 for the final playoff spot in the conference.

The Steelers held the tiebreaker over the rest of the 5-6 teams as the early games ended Sunday. The Titans own it now because of wins against Pittsburgh, the Jets and Chargers early in the season.

Who has the tiebreaker means nothing with five weeks to go, but it shows the craziness of the AFC race.

The possibility that the Steelers are tied for the sixth seed is amazing. They lost their first four games, and the 1992 Chargers are the only 0-4 team to make the playoffs in NFL history. Also, the 2010 Seahawks are the only team in NFL history, not counting strike-shortened seasons, to make the playoffs with a losing record.

So the race for the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs might be ugly, but don't say it's not potentially historic.

The Steelers dealt a huge blow to the Browns by beating them 27-11. That knocked Cleveland to 4-7. That doesn't mean the Browns are out of the playoff race, because 8-8 might end up being good enough to make the playoffs in the AFC.

The way the race for the sixth seed is going, it might not even take an 8-8 record.

- - - - - - -

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball
View Comments