Updated AFC playoff picture: Ravens locking up a bye week

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens are on fire, and they look poised to earn an AFC playoff bye week alongside the New England Patriots.

There weren’t any major upsets in the AFC playoff race in Week 11, but the Baltimore Ravens made the strongest statement by winning a showdown between Super Bowl contenders in the conference. They blew the Houston Texans out of the water, with quarterback Lamar Jackson confirming that he is the MVP frontrunner in a scintillating display that included four touchdown passes.

With the win, the Ravens are 8-2 and have the second-best record in the AFC behind the New England Patriots, whom they defeated in Week 9.

The Patriots, however, remain in the driver’s seat and are still the top Super Bowl contenders in the NFL until proven otherwise. At 9-1, the defending champions have the AFC’s best record and are essentially guaranteed to earn a playoff bye despite a tough upcoming schedule.

Here is how the playoff picture would look if the season ended today.

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Buffalo Bills
  6. Houston Texans

Bubble: Oakland Raiders

Since Mason Rudolph is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, only the Oakland Raiders belong as a true bubble team in the AFC.

Next: The Patriots are still the Super Bowl favorites

The Colts got back on track with a big win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, thanks to star quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s return to the lineup. He means everything to the Colts and is the reason why they have not missed a beat as a playoff-worthy team in Andrew Luck’s absence.

Kansas City are the darkhorse here, because if it plays to its potential, it should be right there with the Patriots and Ravens as the elite teams in the conference. The Chiefs need to cut down on bizarre mistakes on offense and start creating some luck of their own defensively in order to break the ceiling.

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