Updating the AFC playoff picture

Last updated: Dec 23, 2013 9:13 AM

After 16 weeks, five of the AFC's playoff spots have been claimed, and four teams have a chance at the last Wild Card berth.

The Broncos, Colts, Pats, and Bengals own the four division crowns, while the Chiefs have the first Wild Card. Only KC has its seed - the fifth - while only the Broncos have clinched a bye.

Denver (12-3) clinched the AFCW and a first-round bye on Sunday, and can nail down HFA with a win or tie at Oakland, or a New England (11-4) loss or tie against the visiting Bills.

With their 41-7 thrashing of Baltimore (8-7), New England remains a game behind Denver in the AFC standings, and needs a win over the Bills and a Broncos loss at Oakland to end up with the AFC's #1 seed.

The Pats clinched the AFCE once Miami (8-7) was whitewashed 19-0 by Buffalo (6-9); New England can clinch a first-round bye with a win or tie against Buffalo next week, and could potentially end up with any of the AFC's top four seeds.

Cincinnati (10-5), which beat Minnesota (4-10-1) by a whopping 42-14 margin, and Indy (10-5), which handed Kansas City (11-4) a 23-7 loss (their fourth in six weeks), are still alive for the #2 seed, but need a Patriots loss to get them there.

The Bengals clinched the AFCN and can finish with either the #2, #3, or #4 seed, as can the Colts.

Kansas City is locked into the #5 seed and will travel to take on the #4 seed in the Wild Card round.

Miami, Baltimore, San Diego (8-7), and Pittsburgh (7-8) are the remaining contenders for the #6 seed, but the Chargers' and Steelers' clinching scenarios require loads of help.

The Chargers kept hope alive with a 26-13 win over Oakland (4-11), while the Steelers needed a wild 38-31 win over Green Bay (7-7-1) to stave off elimination.

Jason Lisk and Joe Ferreira provide all the details, although at least one of their clinching scenarios conflicts (ie Cincy's path to a bye).

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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