Navigating the incredibly crowded AFC playoff race | PFT on Yahoo Sports

13 of the 16 teams in the AFC are still alive for a postseason berth. Mike Florio and Peter King dissect the race that will likely come down to the final week until it is decided. How will remaining schedule factor in? And why is Peter concerned about the Bills?

Video Transcript


MIKE FLORIO: Time now for PFT on Yahoo Sports. Peter King, Mike Florio breaking things down in the NFL. And Peter nothing says parity like 15 weeks of a season in the books and the Browns playing a game where if they win they're in first place in division, if they lose they're in last place in the division. But that's where we are in this AFC, where most of the teams are still alive. Everybody except the Texans, Jaguars, and Jets still in the mix for seven playoff spots. And who knows how it's all going to settle? I have a feeling there's going to be a cluster of 10 and 7 teams and some of them are getting in and some of them are going home.

PETER KING: Mike, right now if you look at the standings, you know, the-- I did-- I've been doing this the last couple of weeks to. You know, Denver right now is the 13th seed, they got seven wins. Cincinnati is the 4th seed, they have four wins. I'm sorry. They-- they have eight wins. And that has been the case for most of the last month where there is just-- there's dental floss separating all these teams in the division. I mean, 10 teams in the AFC have seven or eight wins. And I really think what it comes down to is, who's got the advantageous schedule? And like Baltimore has been playing-- there number 8 right now-- they've been playing a killer schedule and will continue to do so. And so that is always where I look, Mike, when it comes to who's going to make it.

MIKE FLORIO: Yeah. That's the key. Do you have games against teams that are out of it? Do you have games against teams that are in it but they're kind of overmatched? Do you have a murderer's row coming up? And-- and one of the realities, Peter, of the late season schedule was you've got a game looming in the final two weeks or so against a powerhouse but that team has clinched what it needs to clinch, so maybe they'll go easy and you can steal one through the back door that way. That's not happening this year in either conference because there's a fight at the bottom to get in and there's a fight at the top for that one and only by.

PETER KING: I would be most worried among the teams that at the beginning of the year we loved. I'd be most worried if I were the Buffalo Bills. And not because, I mean, look their last two weeks are cake. They've got Atlanta and the Jets at home. But Mike, look at the Buffalo Bills right now, 5 in 5 conference record. And that's the-- you know, that is really in the lower. That's not even in the meaty part of the curve. That's in the lower part of the curve.

And so the only reason I bring that up is that they now have to go to New England this week. And if they lose that game, the best they can be in the conference is 6 in 6. Is that going to be good enough if you finish 10 in 7 to win a tiebreaker over the other 10 and 7 teams? That's one of the reasons why I look at this and I say, there is no team in the NFL that has a more important game this weekend than the Buffalo Bills.

MIKE FLORIO: And who would have ever dreamed back when the Bills were 4 in 1 and truly at the time the only dominant team in the NFL. They had won four straight games by something like an average margin of 28 points, that they would be one game in the standings ahead of the Dolphins now who started 1 in 7, and have won six in a row. And they're in that cluster of seven-- seven teams.

Peter what continues to fascinate me the most though, is the tie that the Steelers worked very hard to get in extra 10 minutes against the Detroit Lions the day after Ben Roethlisberger went on COVID reserve and Mason Rudolph was pressed into service. That-- I feel like that tie-- and I know the Steelers when you talk about remaining schedule they've got it tough, but I just feel like that tie is going to be a factor. And wouldn't it be something if all those tiebreakers, whether it's 10 in 7 or 9 in 8, did they become moot? Because the Steelers are 9, 7, and 1 or 10, 6, and 1 and they jump past all of them.

PETER KING: I mean, if they're 10, 6, and 1, absolutely, unequivocally they deserve it because it means that they will have won this weekend at Kansas City. And look, if in back to back weeks you beat Tennessee and Kansas City you deserve to be in.

MIKE FLORIO: Well, it's going to be fun to watch the next three weeks. Every game feels like it has significant consequence because it does. And we'll be tracking it here at PFT on Yahoo Sports for you every week. Thanks for some of your time. We'll see you again.