AFC playoff picture: How Patriots (mostly) benefited from Week 10 results

Darren Hartwell

The New England Patriots had a bye in Week 10, meaning they couldn't directly improve their standing in the AFC.

But the rest of the NFL did them a solid Sunday -- for the most part.

The 8-1 Patriots watched from their couches as three serious AFC contenders all lost games they probably should have won.

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The biggest "win" of New England's bye week? The Kansas City Chiefs falling 35-32 to the Tennessee Titans in Patrick Mahomes' return, a loss that dropped them to 6-4 and down to fourth place in the AFC.

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills -- who entered Sunday just one game back of the Patriots at 6-2 -- came down to earth in a 19-16 loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns.

But the Indianapolis Colts managed to upstage the Bills in their futility, losing to the cellar-dwelling Miami Dolphins at home to slip to 5-4 and behind the surging Pittsburgh Steelers, who suddenly are 5-4 after collecting their fourth consecutive win Sunday.

The Patriots' closest competition for the No. 1 seed took care of business, though, as the Baltimore Ravens moved to 7-2 with an easy win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Here's an updated look at the AFC playoff picture through Sunday's Week 10 games:

1. New England Patriots, 8-1 (AFC East leader)
2. Baltimore Ravens, 7-2 (AFC North leader)
3. Houston Texans, 6-3 (AFC South leader)
4. Kansas City Chiefs, 6-4 (AFC West leader)
5. Buffalo Bills, 6-3 (First Wild Card)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-4 (Second Wild Card)




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 technically control their own destiny, as they'll earn the AFC's No. 1 seed if they win out. But the Ravens own the tiebreaker over New England after their Week 9 upset, so another Patriots loss and a Baltimore win would move the Ravens into the No. 1 seed.

Baltimore hosts the Houston Texans in Week 11, while the Patriots travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles.

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AFC playoff picture: How Patriots (mostly) benefited from Week 10 results originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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