We all know that getting into the playoffs in the AFC is brutal. Here is a list of likely contending teams for the 6 spots, their remaining schedules and some notes I feel important.
Teams I consider out of the hunt: Bills, Miami (we may have lost to them, but their team got destroyed through injuries), Bengals, Browns, and Broncos. 5 of the 16 teams in the AFC. That leaves 11 battling for the 6 spots.
Ratbirds and Steelers (both at 6-3) are strong and likely to take up the remaining wildcard. (However, the Steelers did lose some key players on the DL and OL recently. We can hope they start to drop more games.) The Steelers' remaining schedule includes Oakland, Balt, Cinci, NYJ and the surprising Browns. Carolina and the Bills will be speed bumps, but not much else. Likewise, the Ravens have the Steelers (someone has to lose), Cinci, Browns, Superbowl champs NO, Houston, and the surprising Bucs. Neither has an easy slate. Whoever loses the head-to-head matchup is going to be fighting for the wildcard and could back out of the race completely.
The AFC west is getting convoluted. The Chargers are the scariest to the Titans, and besides their divisional games, face Indy, SF and Cinci. We want them to take down the Colts, yes, but I know I speak for many of us here in that we don't want them in the playoffs. Oakland (we own the tie-breaker) takes on Jax and Indy along with their division and Pittsburgh (and a limping Miami). KC is on a losing streak but has an easy slate of games to go with their divisional and us. Many are predicting only one of these teams to make it to the playoffs. We should root for the Chargers vs Indy and then for their opponents down the stretch to better our chances.
AFC South: We have 5 of our 6 games to be played. We need to take care of business there and not worry about the others (as if we win, we are knocking them down). However, I will cover the Colts, as we will more than likely need them to lose at least one more of theirs to guarantee the division. Their schedule: NE (tough), SD (primetime - tough), Dallas (let's see how they are over the next few weeks; they are talented though), TEN, Jax (they already lost one to them), Raiders, and Titans. The Colts are 6-3, but have already lost 2 division games.
If we have the same record and split the head-to-head games, we should get the spot IF (big if here) we take care of the other divisional games.
So while the loss to Miami hurts, the road Indy has isn't any easier. But yes, as always, we need to do our part.