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NFL Playoffs: Key AFC games in final month of regular season

These matchups will help ultimately decide who makes it to the NFL playoffs in the AFC.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With only four regular-season games remaining, many teams are making their final push for a berth in the playoffs, while others are merely boosting their position in hopes of hosting one or more postseason games.

The 7-5 Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Chiefs, Dolphins and Bills are all just trying to get into the playoffs in one of the tighter wild-card races in recent memory. With so many teams in contention, whoever gets that final wild-card spot will probably have won at least three of their final four games to get in.

Here is a look at the remaining matchups that will determine which of those teams gets in.

Week 14

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

The Bengals beat the Steelers for a spot in the playoffs in 2012, then won the division in 2013 while Pittsburgh sat at home for the postseason again. This is their chance to right those wrongs and get back to the playoffs, while the Bengals look to get back for a fourth straight season.

At 8-3-1, Cincinnati leads the AFC North by 1.5 games over Pitt, but with the Steelers getting two shots at Cincy over the next month, they can easily get back in the race for the division.

Baltimore at Miami

The Ravens are coming off a crushing defeat to the Chargers that now has their playoff hopes in jeopardy. They badly need to rebound at Miami this week ,but it won;t be easy with all-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata done for the regular season after being popped for a PED violation.

The 2013 Dolphins were haunted by a frustrating October loss at home to Baltimore that cost them a spot in the playoffs (both teams finished 8-8 and missed playoff by one game).

New England at San Diego

Two teams looking to win their divisions face off, but the 8-4 Chargers are more in the hunt for a wild-card spot but are within striking distance of the 9-3 Broncos atop the AFC West.

The Patriots are in contention for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, but need to rebound from last week's 26-21 loss at Green Bay.

Indianapolis at Cleveland

The Colts should win the AFC South, but they'll remain in the hunt for a first-round bye if they can win this game, while the Browns look to keep their postseason hopes alive, most likely as a wild-card team.

Week 15

Cincinnati at Cleveland

The Browns won the first matchup, so if they hold serve at home, it's hard to see Cincy winning the division. The Bengals do hold a 1.5-game lead over the rest of the AFC North, and a win here could be enough to take a stranglehold on the division.

Denver at San Diego

The Broncos look to stay atop the AFC West, while the Chargers look to stay in the hunt for it while also keeping their wild-card hopes alive if they can't overtake Denver.

Houston at Indianapolis

The Texans have an outside shot at winning the AFC South at 6-6, but they'd have to upset the 8-4 Colts in Indy for any chance of that happening.

Week 16

Baltimore at Houston

Two teams that missed the playoffs last year fight to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Ravens are more likely to still be in contention at this point, while the Texans will likely be playing the role of spoiler.

Kansas City at Pittsburgh

The Chiefs are firmly in the playoff picture right now, and the Steelers are also in good shape at 7-5, good enough for a 6-way tie for the final wild-card spot.

Denver at Cincinnati

This could determine who wins one of the two first-round byes, and the loser could slip out of the lead in their division with several teams nipping at their heels.

Week 17

Cleveland at Baltimore and Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

Both games could decide the winner of the AFC North, just as both could decide who wins a wild-card spot. The Bengals and Steelers matchup has a higher chance of featuring that scenario, given they currently lead the division, but Pitt gets two shots at them in December.

San Diego at Kansas City

The playoff-hopeful Chargers face a Chiefs teams that has let their grasp on a wild-card post slip through their hands. This game could feature both teams in a do-or-die scenario in terms of their playoff hopes.

Buffalo at New England

The Bills played at New England last year out of the playoffs, while the Pats had to win to clinch a first-round bye. That could be the same scenario this time, but this time, the Bills are better positioned to be in the playoff picture.