NFL Playoffs Picture 2019: Which AFC Teams Will Make the Postseason?

Almost a third of the NFL season is gone and a clearer picture is slowly beginning to emerge of where the 16 AFC franchises are at.

The New England Patriots are firmly on the way to another divisional title and few would bet against them meeting the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship for the second consecutive season, while the Cleveland Browns are yet to live up to the preseason hype.

Fans of the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, meanwhile, are in all likelihood looking forward to the offseason after a string of dismal performances.

So, based on the first five weeks of the season, which AFC teams can we expect to see in the playoffs?

AFC East

The Patriots have got off to their best start since 2015 and their fourth-best of the Bill Belichick era. If that sounds ominous, it's because it is.

New England is 5-0 and could feasibly arrive into the Week 10 bye with a 9-0 record. Whether the Patriots can emulate their 16-0 season from 2007 remains to be seen—they face a difficult stretch between Week 11 and 14—but an 11th consecutive divisional title appears a formality.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Patriots have a 99 percent chance to reach the playoffs and an 88 percent chance to win the division.

Behind them, the Buffalo Bills' chances of playing football in January stand at 78 percent after a remarkable 4-1 start, while the Dolphins and the Jets are destined for another disappointing season after losing their first four games.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots in action in the second half against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 6 in Landover, Maryland. Patrick McDermott/Getty

AFC North

The Cleveland Browns began the season as 6/4 to win the division for the first time since 1989—when it was called AFC Central—but have failed to live up to expectations so far.

Cleveland is 2-3 and is struggling to integrate its shiny new weapons in its offense. In his second year in the NFL, Baker Mayfield is experiencing the kind of growing pains he had avoided last season and hasn't been helped by a porous offensive line.

FiveThirtyEight ranks the Browns' chances to make the playoffs at 48 percent, while Baltimore's stand at 61 percent. The Ravens are 3-2 and are now 67/100 to win the division, after beginning the season at 3/1.

Baltimore's defense has been uncharacteristically weak, but the Lamar Jackson-led offense has so far offset those issues—no other AFC team has scored more points than the Ravens.

Pittsburgh is down to its third starting quarterback in six weeks after injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph and is set for a second consecutive season without playoff football after winning just once in its opening games.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, is 0-5 and in dire straits.

AFC South

The AFC South is arguably the most open division in the league. The Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts lead the division with a 3-2 record and their chances of reaching the playoffs stand at 58 and 53 percent, respectively.

Houston began the season as 14/5 favorite to win the division and is now down at 3/2, while the Colts have moved from 5/1 to 7/4.

The Texans have the fourth-hardest schedule in the NFL and has already traveled to Los Angeles to play Chargers and to New Orleans, with back-to-back road games against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Colts coming up in Weeks 6 and 7.

Indianapolis has already played and won in Kansas City and bar a trip to New Orleans in December, its schedule gets easier between now and the end of the season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, meanwhile are 2-3 and both have a 20 percent chance of reaching the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts
Defensive back George Odum #30 of the Indianapolis Colts and his teammates celebrate as the defeat the Kansas City Chiefs against at Arrowhead Stadium on October 6 in Kansas City, Missouri. Peter Aiken/Getty

AFC West

Despite losing at home to the Colts in Week 5, the Kansas City Chiefs remain the overwhelming favorite to win the division.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Chiefs have an 82 percent chance of topping the AFC West and a 90 percent probability of making the playoffs.

A repeat of last season AFC Championship Game against the Patriots appears on the cards and the outcome of their Week 14 meeting could determine who will finish as the conference's top-ranked team.

The Oakland Raiders have put the Antonio Brown fiasco firmly behind them and are 3-2, but their playoff chances are as low as 28 percent, largely because of having the hardest schedule in the NFL.

Oakland still has to play the Packers, Texans and Chiefs on the road this season.

The Chargers, meanwhile, began the season as 19/10 second-favorite to win the division after going 12-4 last season but are now out to 7/1 after losing three of their first five games.

Their playoffs chances stand at 23 percent after losing at home to Denver on Sunday, while the Broncos are 1-4 and need a minor miracle to reach the postseason.

NFL Playoffs Picture 2019: Which AFC Teams Will Make the Postseason? | Sports
{{label}}
{{title}}
EDITOR'S PICK