If the NFL playoffs began today, the Bengals and Chiefs would be the two Wild-Card teams in the AFC. Kansas City pulled off a huge road win vs. the Buffalo Bills on Sunday to improve to 6-3, and it was also their sixth win in their past seven games after starting the year 0-2.
The Bengals however are on the opposite end of the spectrum, having lost/tied in four of their past six games after getting off to a hot 3-0 start this season. Though they've fallen on hard times in the past month, they've done just enough to hang onto the sixth and final Wild Card spot if the postseason began today.
Both Cincinnati and Kansas City are not only in the race for their respective divisions, but they control their own destiny going forward. The Chiefs will host the 7-2 Denver Broncos later this year, and if they somehow win out, they would win the AFC West.
As for the Bengals, they trail the 6-3 Cleveland Browns by just a half a game for first place in the AFC North. The Bengals head to Cleveland later on for what could decide the division, but not if the Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers have anything to say about that.
Both of those teams sit at 6-4 and just a game behind the 6-3 Browns for the AFC North lead, and they also trail the Bengals by a half a game for the final Wild Card spot. The Steelers still have both of their matchups with Cincinnati left on the schedule, and they could easily claim that final Wild Card spot, especially since they're hosting the Bengals in Week 17.
As for Baltimore, they too can control their own destiny, as they still have a home game vs. the Browns after winning at Cleveland earlier this year.
Needless to say, the odds favor the AFC North getting at least one Wild Card team into the playoffs. So too will the AFC West, as the 5-4 San Diego Chargers sit just a game behind the Chiefs for a playoff spot.
The two teams square off at Kansas City later this year in what will be the Chiefs' opportunity to possibly knock the Chargers out of the playoff hunt, but it will also be San Diego's best chance to get one of those final tow playoff berths.
Here is what the AFC Wild Card picture looks like:
1. New England Patriots (7-2)
2. Denver Broncos (7-2)
3. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)
4. Cleveland Browns (6-3)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)
6. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3-1)
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
9. Baltimore Ravens (6-4)
10. San Diego Chargers (5-4)
11. Buffalo Bills (5-4)
12. Miami Dolphins (5-4)
13. Houston Texans (4-5)