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The AFC playoff picture through Week 15

Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets runs

Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets runs for a touchdown on a fourth-and-1 bootleg during the game against Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. (Dec. 19, 2010) Credit: Getty

Leave it to the Jets to take a game to the final seconds before giving their fans a chance to breathe again.

Leave it to the Jets to beat a 10-3 team, on the road, in the snow and still have that team earn a playoff berth. But that's just some convulted mathematics, which, of course, makes all the difference for football teams in the final month of the season.

Have a look at the AFC playoff picture with two weeks left.

1. x-New England Patriots 12-2
2. x-Pittsburgh Steelers 10-4
3. Kansas City Chiefs 9-5
4. Indianapolis Colts 8-6
5. Baltimore Ravens 10-4
6. New York Jets 10-4
7. San Diego Chargers 8-6
8. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-6
9. Oakland Raiders 7-7
(x = clinched postseason birth)

Key games coming up in Week 16

Some playoff scenarios and such

- The Jets, if tied with the Ravens, lose the tiebreaker because of their head-to-head loss in Week 1.

- If the Jets win their next game, they clinch a playoff berth.

- If the Jets and Chargers wind up tied at 10-6, it goes to the fourth tiebreaker (strength of victory) and possibly a fifth tiebreaker (strength of schedule). The first tiebreaker (head-to-head) is not an option, and both teams would have identical records in the conference (8-4) and against common opponents (4-1).

- If Oakland and Kansas City are tied at 9-7, Oakland -- Oakland! -- wins the division with its 6-0 record in the AFC West.

Remaining schedules for each team

New England
Dec. 26: at Buffalo (4-10)
Jan. 2: vs. Miami (7-7)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 11-17 (.393)

Steelers
Dec. 23: vs. Carolina (2-12)
Jan. 2: at Cleveland (5-9)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 7-21 (.250)

Kansas City
Dec. 26: vs. Tennessee (6-8)
Jan. 2: vs. Oakland (7-7)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 13-15 (.464)

Indianapolis
Dec. 26: at Oakland (7-7)
Jan. 2: vs. Tennessee (6-8)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 13-15 (.464)

Baltimore

Dec. 26: at Cleveland (5-9)
Jan. 2: vs. Cincinnati (3-11)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 8-20 (.286)

Jets*
Dec. 26: at Chicago (9-4)
Jan. 2: vs. Buffalo (4-10)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 13-14 (.481)
* Chicago plays Monday night against Minnesota.

San Diego
Dec. 26: at Cincinnati (3-11)
Jan. 2: at Denver (3-11)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 6-22 (.214)

Jacksonville
Dec. 26: vs. Washington (5-9)
Jan. 2: at Houston (5-9)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 10-18 (.357)

Oakland
Dec. 26: vs. Indianapolis (8-6)
Jan. 2: at Kansas City (9-5)
Combined record of remaining opponents: 17-11 (.607)

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