Picture of the AFC Playoffs … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

There are nine teams with some sort of life in the AFC playoffs as the 2011 schedule is about to play its final weekend.

Not among those nine are the AFC’s seven other teams, including the Chiefs that have been eliminated from the chance to play in the tournament. They are one of two teams that were in the AFC playoffs last year that have been eliminated from this year’s January football; the other is Indianapolis.

It now means the Chiefs will have gone 18 seasons without a post-season victory. The last one occurred during the 1993 AFC playoffs, when they beat the Houston Oilers at the Astrodome. Since and including that next game loss in the AFC Championship Game to Buffalo, they are 0-7 in the post-season.

Right now, four of the six teams in the AFC are set – New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Houston. This weekend, Denver and Cincinnati are the only teams that can get into the AFC party with a victory in their final game. Oakland, the New York Jets and Tennessee will need help.

Here’s how the conference breaks down:

New England Patriots

  • 12-3/First in AFC East
  • Status – They are in the playoffs and can clinch home-field advantage with a victory over Buffalo.
  • Last appearance in playoffs – 2010, when they were the AFC’s top seed. They lost in the divisional round to the Jets 28-21.
  • Last post-season victory – 2007 AFC Championship game, with a 21-12 victory over San Diego.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 2007 in Super Bowl XLII when they were beaten by the New York Giants 17-14.

Baltimore Ravens

  • 11-4/Tied for first in AFC North with tie-breaker advantage over Pittsburgh.
  • Status – They are in the playoffs and can be the No. 1, 2 or 5 seed depending on the outcome of this weekend’s games. They can win the division and achieve the No. 1 seed with a victory over Cincinnati and a New England loss to Buffalo. They can earn the No. 2 seed by beating the Bengals. They would fall to a wildcard spot if they lose to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh beats Cleveland.
  • Last appearance in playoffs – 2010, when they were the AFC’s No. 2 seed and advanced to the Super Bowl, where they lost to Green Bay.
  • Last post-season victory – 2010 AFC Championship Game, beating the New York Jets 24-19.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 2010, when they were beat by the Packers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV.

Houston Texans

  • 10-5/First place in AFC South
  • Status – The Texans are in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They are locked into the No. 3 seed, and thus will host their first appearance in the post-season.
  • Last appearance in playoffs – none. Last post-season victory – never. Last Super Bowl appearance – again, never.

Denver Broncos

  • 8-7/First place tie in AFC West; they hold tie-breaker advantage over Oakland.
  • Status – Right now, the Broncos are the No. 4 seed in the AFC bracket, but they must win Sunday’s game against the Chiefs to claim the AFC West division title. They can also earn the division championship and a trip to the playoffs if the Raiders should lose to the Chargers, no matter what they do against the Chiefs.
  • Last appearance in playoffs – 2005, when they were the No. 2 seed and went 101, with a victory over New England and a loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game.
  • Last victory in playoffs – It came in 2005, in the AFC divisional round when the Broncos beat the Patriots 27-13.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 1998 season, when the Broncos beat Atlanta 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • 11-4/Tied for lead in AFC North, but they lose first place because of a tie-breaker disadvantage to Baltimore.
  • Status – The Steelers are in the tournament, and could go as the No. 1, 2 or 5 seed. To be the first seed, they must beat Cleveland, Baltimore must lose to Cincinnati and New England must lose to Buffalo. Second seed would require a Steelers victory and Ravens loss. They get the fifth seed if they are not division champion.
  • Last appearance in playoffs – 2010, when they lost to Green Bay in the Super Bowl.
  • Last victory – 2010, beat the New York Jets 24-19 in the AFC Championship Game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 2010, when they fell in Super Bowl XLV to the Packers 31-25.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • 9-6/second place in the AFC North two games behind the Steelers.
  • Status – the Bengals make the playoffs as the No. 6 seed with a victory over Baltimore. They can also get into the bracket if the Jets lose and either the Raiders or Broncos lose.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2009, won the AFC North and hosted a wildcard game.
  • Last post-season victory – 1988, when they beat Buffalo 21-10 in the AFC Championship Game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 1988, when they lost to San Francisco 20-16 in Super Bowl XXIII.

Oakland Raiders

  • 8-7/tied for first place in the AFC West but they are at a tie-breaker disadvantage compared to the Broncos.
  • Status – the Raiders have two shots at making the playoffs as either the No. 4 seed or the No. 6 seed. If Oakland beats San Diego and the Chiefs beat Denver, the Raiders win the AFC West and line up in the fourth slot. If the Broncos win, the Raiders can make the playoffs if they win and Cincinnati and either Tennessee or the N.Y. Jets lose.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2002, when they won the AFC West and advanced to the Super Bowl.
  • Last post-season victory – 2002, when they beat Tennessee 41-24 in the AFC Championship Game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 2002, when they lost to Tampa Bay 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Tennessee Titans

  • 8-7/They are locked into second place in the AFC South, behind division winner Houston.
  • Status – Remarkably, the Titans still have a pulse in the playoffs, although it is a weak one. First, they must beat the Texans and they need Cincinnati to lose to Baltimore. Then they need the Jets must win and either Oakland or Denver has to lose. One other avenue has the Jets losing and Oakland and Denver winning. Any way you slice the situation, its slim hope for the Titans.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2008, when they were the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
  • Last post-season victory – 2003, when they beat the Baltimore Ravens 20-17 in the wildcard round.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 1999, when they lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

New York Jets

  • 8-7/they are locked into second place in the AFC East behind division winner New England.
  • Status – The Jets can still claim the No. 6 seed but they need to beat Miami, and then Cincinnati and Tennessee must lose, along with either Oakland or Denver.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2010, when they were the No. 6 seed and went all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
  • Last post-season victory – 2010, when they beat New England 28-21 in an AFC divisional round game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 1968, when the Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III.

San Diego Chargers

  • 7-8/third place in the AFC West behind Denver and Oakland.
  • Status – Eliminated from any post-season consideration.
  • Last appearance in playoffs – 2009, as the AFC West champions they were the No. 2 seed.
  • Last post-season victory – 2008, when as the No. 4 seed they beat the Indianapolis Colts 23-17 in a wildcard round game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance — 1994, when they lost to San Francisco 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX.

Buffalo Bills

  • 6-9/locked into third place in the AFC East behind New England and the New York Jets.
  • Status – Eliminated from any post-season consideration.
  • Last appearance in playoffs – 1999, when they were the fifth seed in the AFC as the second team out of the AFC East.
  • Last post-season victory – 1995, when they beat Miami 37-22 in a wildcard round game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 1993, when the Bills fell to Dallas 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • 6-9/fourth place in the AFC West, behind Denver, Oakland and San Diego.
  • Status – Eliminated from any post-season consideration.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2010, when they won the AFC West but lost a wildcard round game to Baltimore.
  • Last post-season victory – 1993, when they beat the Houston Oilers 28-20 in the divisional round of the playoffs.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 1969 season, when they beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV.

Miami Dolphins

  • 5-10/Sitting in fourth place in the AFC East.
  • Status – Eliminated from any post-season consideration.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2008, when they were the No. 3 seed as AFC East champions.
  • Last post-season victory – 2000, when they beat Indianapolis 23-17 in overtime in a wildcard round game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 1984 season, when they lost to San Francisco 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX

Cleveland Browns

  • 4-11/Locked into fourth place in the AFC North.
  • Status – Eliminated from any post-season consideration.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2002, as the sixth seed after finishing second in the AFC North.
  • Last post-season victory – 1994, when the Browns beat New England 20-13 in the wildcard round.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – The Browns have never played in the Super Bowl.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • 4-11/Locked into third place in the AFC South.
  • Status – Eliminated from any post-season consideration.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2007, they were the No. 5 seed as the second place team in the AFC South.
  • Last post-season victory – 1999, when they beat Miami 62-7 in a divisional round game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – The Jaguars have n ever played in the Super Bowl.

Indianapolis Colts

  • 2-13/Locked into fourth place in the AFC South.
  • Status – Eliminated from any post-season consideration.
  • Last appearance in the playoffs – 2010, as division champions in the AFC South, they were the No. 3 seed.
  • Last post-season victory – 2009, beat the New York Jets 30-17 in the AFC Championship Game.
  • Last Super Bowl appearance – 2009, lost to New Orleans 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.

4 Responses to “Picture of the AFC Playoffs … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 28, 2011  - RW says:

    Nice article. My view is that none of these AFC teams give one the warm feeling of being able to dominate the field and strut into the Superbowl as a prohibitive favorite. Each of the above contenders has issues of one sort or the other.

    Meantime, NFC teams like New Orleans and the Pack in particular appear to have that kind of momentum so at this point, have to be considered favorites for hoisting the Lombardi in early February. Maybe with the elimination of playoff contention, Pioli can pull his head out of his butt cheeks and get some solid intelligent work done in strengthening this team during the off-season.

    Given his recent uneven history in the Chief’s GM role, I’m not expecting any bold Pioli moves nor am I looking for Hunt Jr. to suddenly grow a brain and spend some loot on player/personnel upgrades. Reality can be a cold bitch at times but there it is.


  • December 28, 2011  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    Bob, the Ravens’ stats above are mixed up with the Steelers.

    Agreed, reality is a cold bitch. My one consolation is that the Jets have not reappeared in a Super Bowl longer than the Chiefs. Browns never.

    I now expect some great football decisions by management.

    Go CHIEFS!


  • December 28, 2011  - el cid says:

    You have to wonder about Clark. We have the beginnings of a good to great defense. I just heard it said by Charles Barkley, you cannot cheat time. Will the Chiefs fill in the missing parts or will they waste Hali, DJ, and the DBs? It was pointed out Jones in Dallas built his own stadium and floods his team with money, got a hunger to be seen and heard….not our Clark, no we build thru the draft, no free agents, business sound and a loser.


  • December 29, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Clark Hunt also owns a soccer team. I want to see his birth certificate. But in 1970, after the super bowl win, we had a great defense, then they got old. 18 years of losing followed. Please don’t let it happen again.




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