Action Sports 3 years ago

NFL: AFC Wildcard Hunt

  • NFL: AFC Wildcard Hunt

With just two weeks to go in the NFL regular season, the race for the AFC Wildcard remains as tight as ever. Here's who leads thus far:

Kansas City Chiefs:

The Chiefs have shocked everyone. After going 1-5 through the first six games of the season, Andy Reid's men have now put together eight consecutive wins and look well on track to make it nine by the time Week 16 is over. Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton has done a tremendous job and improved the Chiefs to the AFC's second-best team in points against. While many thought their season would continue its crash course following injuries to running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Justin Houston, the side has instead turned the corner with both vigour and cohesiveness. With just two games to go in the regular season, and currently standing 9-5, the Chiefs remain just one games back from taking Denver's spot atop the AFC West. And with favourable fixtures still to come against the Browns and Raiders respectively, an AFC Wildcard spot looks to be the 'worst' that could happen.

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Pittsburgh Steelers:

It hasn't been easy this season but - following a thumb injury to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton - the Steelers are in with a big chance of post-season football. Mike Tomlin's team currently sit 9-5 heading into Week 16 and, as a result of their impressive victory over Denver last week, now occupy the sixth seed AFC Wildcard spot. But assuming Dalton's aforementioned injury sidelines him for the rest of the regular season, the AFC North's designated playoff spot now hangs in a cloud of uncertainty. With five wins in their last six the Steelers are in red hot form and with the 4-10 Ravens set to face them this weekend, the black-and-gold will need nothing short of a victory to keep their playoff aspirations intact. Ben Roethlisberger has been the key to Pittsburgh's success this season. While injuries sidelined him for much of the season's first 10 weeks, the two-time Super Bowl champion has returned to lead the offense to some very important victories. As a result, this weekend should be no different. 

New York Jets:

Given that New England has already clinched the AFC East and its designated playoff spot, Todd Bowles' side currently sit second in the division and well in touch with an AFC Wildcard spot. The 9-5 Jets are one of three 9-5 sides in with a legitimate chance of clinching a playoff berth. As a result of this three-way-tie, the Jets will need nothing less than a win this weekend against the Patriots (12-2) to keep their post-season hopes alive. The Gang Green have improved dramatically over last season's 4-12 showing. Led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, the former Texan has shown maturity in the pocket and the ability to make plays on a consistent basis, and his receiving core of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall have never let him down. Nevertheless, with the Steelers facing the Ravens, and the Chiefs battling the Browns, Week 16's matchup in New Jersey now becomes all the more significant.

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