AFC Playoff Picture After Week 10

Updated AFC Playoff Picture After Week 10

Written by on November 16, 2020

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 9-0 for the first time in franchise history and would be the AFC’s top seed if the playoffs started today, but Pittsburgh remains a +250 second-favorite to win the conference title behind the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who are +165 and were off in Week 10.

Updated AFC Week 10 | 2020 NFL Expert Analysis

Pittsburgh had no trouble Sunday in beating Cincinnati 36-10. It was a welcome change of pace after the Steelers won each of their previous three games by five points or fewer. And in each of those games, the Steelers had to fend off their opponent until the very last play, needing a missed field goal and two end zone pass breakups to seal the victories. Sunday was their second-greatest margin of victory this season after the 31-point win against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 27-of-46 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns. With the Steelers winning 36-7, Roethlisberger got a rest for the final 10 minutes. It was Big Ben’s first four-touchdown effort of the season. Rookie wideout Chase Claypool caught four passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns. He has been amazing.

The Steelers were the first NFL team to nine victories and now own a full game lead on the Chiefs for the top spot in the conference. Pittsburgh should remain unbeaten following Week 10, too, as they visit the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kansas City, meanwhile, comes out of its bye and visits Las Vegas – the only team to beat the Chiefs this year. The Chiefs’ next five games include four road matchups against the playoff-contending Raiders, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Saints. It’s the 11th-most difficult remaining schedule in the league

Buffalo (+900 to win AFC) leads the AFC East and would be the third seed as things stand. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen passed for 284 yards with two touchdowns and had a touchdown reception on Sunday in a last-second loss to Arizona. Allen is the fourth quarterback with at least two touchdown passes and a touchdown reception in a single game since 1990.

Allen, who had 20 touchdown passes and nine rushing touchdowns in 2019, has 21 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns this season and joins Dak Prescott (2016-18) and Deshaun Watson (2018-19) as the only players with at least 20 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons in NFL history. Buffalo is on the bye this week.

Indianapolis (+1100) would be the fourth seed in the AFC and is tied for first in the South Division. Indy looked very good last Thursday in a 34-17 win at the Titans. Philip Rivers completed 29-of-39 passes for 308 yards and one touchdown. It was his third 300-yard game of the season.

Rivers, 38, entered the game in Nashville with 61,358 passing yards in his 17-year career, needing just 4 yards to pass Dan Marino for fifth-most all-time. Rivers finished the night 29-for-39 passing for 308 yards, putting him at 61,666 yards for his career. The Colts won 34-17. The only other quarterbacks with more passing yards than Rivers are either in the Hall of Fame or will be first-ballot Hall of Famers at some point: Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and record-holder Drew Brees. The Colts have a tough one this Sunday as they host Green Bay.

The No. 5 seed in the AFC right now is Las Vegas (+1600). The Raiders trounced Denver on Sunday. Derek Carr completed 16-of-25 passes for 154 yards. Carr attempted two passes in the fourth quarter because the Raiders entered the final frame with a two-score lead. Josh Jacobs rushed 21 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Beating the Chiefs on Sunday night would put the Raiders one game out of the division lead. After that, they would have only two games remaining against teams who currently have winning records.

The rest of the current AFC playoff field: No. 6 Miami (+1500) and No. 7 Baltimore (+450).

The Dolphins are 3-0 since inserting rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup. The Ravens were upset in New England in Week 10 which left Baltimore three games behind the Steelers and, for the moment, left them barely clinging to a wild-card spot.

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