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Once again, the New England Patriots are poised to steamroll through the regular season, meaning the road to the Super Bowl will likely run through Foxborough in the AFC.
The Patriots are basically a lock to make the NFL playoffs, earning a berth in 99.2 percent of our simulations.
And despite a loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, the Kansas City Chiefs still have a 97.9 percent chance of making the postseason.
But after the Patriots and Chiefs, which of the remaining teams in the AFC are expected to make the playoffs?
After 10,000 simulations of the NFL season, here are the most likely AFC teams to earn postseason berths, including records following Week 5.
Please note that we limited the data to teams with a 15 percent chance or better of making the playoffs.
AFC playoff picture
After the top two, the Ravens, Bills and Texans all seem poised to qualify for the postseason with playoff probabilities above 70 percent. That sets five of the six spots, with a battle for the final berth.
As of right now, yes, the Cleveland Browns are the most likely team to eke their way into the playoffs. But remember, at 41.5 percent it’s still more likely that the Dawg Pound misses the playoffs for the 17th straight season.
The Chargers’ chances took a big hit after losing to the Broncos last week, as Los Angeles was at 52.8 percent heading into that matchup.
Interestingly, Indianapolis’ prospects actually fell despite the huge win over Kansas City on “Sunday Night Football.” Prior to Week 5, the Colts were listed at 37.8 percent to make the playoffs. Those odds now sit at 33 percent.
How can that be?
Because Indy’s two losses are to teams also in the playoff hunt (Chargers and Raiders), the Colts would lose tiebreakers to both.
In addition, our sims project the Colts and Browns to finish with 7.9 wins, the Chargers at 7.8 and the Raiders at 7.3, so those tiebreakers are very significant when looking at the current playoff picture.
As a result, the Colts’ most likely path is to win the AFC South, and with Houston projected to finish on top, we see how Indy’s postseason chances look bleak despite the big win over Kansas City.
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