Week 15 is on the books as theNFL is quickly moving toward the end of the regular season. Despite losses by a few contenders over the weekend, there is still plenty to determine as far as who gets spots and what seed they get. Look for plenty of excitement over the final two weeks. The AFC picture especially has plenty of drama left to unfold. Not only are there the battles for who is getting in but there is a dogfight at the top of the standings for seeding.
New England Patriots-(+195 to win Super Bowl, -115 to win AFC) The Patriots last second controversial win over the Steelers leaves both teams sitting at 11-3 atop the AFC playoff picture. With their win, the Patriots hold the head to head tiebreaker over the Steelers and thus control their own destiny. All teams covet the #1 seed as it not only gives them a first-round bye but ensures home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Nobody wants to come to Gillette stadium in January trying to go thru Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
New England hosts the Bills and Jets to close out the season. They will be heavily favored in both of these matchups, so the #1 seed is definitely within their grasp. I wouldn't bet against Brady to get the job done with so much on the line.
Pittsburgh Steelers-(+600 to win Super Bowl, +175 to win AFC) - What a crushing defeat. Victory overturned on what many view as a terrible catch rule. The Steelers had the number one seed in their grasp and as is often the case the Patriots send them home disappointed. They still have the advantage for the #2 seed and the first-round bye as they lead the Jaguars by a game with two remaining.
They finish with two very winnable games vs. the lowly Texans and winless Browns. There is also the hope the Patriots will slip up. With as much trouble as Pittsburgh has with New England, you have to think they will do everything they can to have the opportunity to host the Patriots at Heinz field for a birth to the Super Bowl.
Jacksonville Jaguars-(+950 to win Super Bowl, +700 to win AFC) - One of 2017's biggest surprise teams currently sits in the #3 seed at 10-4. The Jaguars have done it behind a stellar defense and we have seen in the past what a top-notch defense can do in the postseason.
While currently the #3 seed the Jags have not actually clinched the AFC South currently as Tennessee at 8-6 is still alive. They have, however, clinched a playoff spot The Jags schedule for the final two games is also a little tougher than above as they have to travel to the suddenly red-hot San Francisco 49ers followed by traveling to Nashville in what could be a division-deciding matchup with the Titans. Regardless of where they finish, it's Jaguar fever in Jacksonville and a team that has been mostly a laughingstock in the past is looking to make noise in January.
That's it for the top half of the AFC playoff bracket as only three teams are alive for the top spot. Next, it will be time to take a look at the jumble at the bottom of the playoffs standings, where 5 teams with 8-6 records are competing for three spots.