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

Darren Hartwell
NBC Sports Boston

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.

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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