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AFC playoff picture clearing up

Posted by Albert Breer  November 15, 2009 08:12 PM

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After today, it's hard not to think the Bengals are a real good bet to get one of the AFC's two byes. Just scan their schedule (Oakland, Kansas City and Cleveland are on there), and you'll see that this is probably a 13-3 or 12-4 team.

And that means that if New England loses today, it's gonna be pretty tough to get that all important week off in early January.

If the Patriots beat the Colts, on the other hand, things are wide-open. The Chargers are coming on, tied with Denver at 6-3, and would be just a game back of New England and Cincinnati, both of whom would close to within a game of the Colts. At 5-4, Houston and Jacksonville (yes, Jacksonville) are lurking, and Baltimore should be too after it wipes the floor with Cleveland tomorrow night.

So look at it this way: If the Colts win tonight, things are simplified in the conference race. If the Patriots win, it'll get complicated.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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