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AFC contenders enter hot playoff race

Seven AFC teams are 7-4 or better -- including the 11-0 Colts -- with five weeks remaining on the NFL schedule. Ten teams in the conference either reside in first place in their division or are within two games of first as the playoff picture continues to develop.

(Nov. 29, 2005) -- Seven AFC teams are 7-4 or better -- including the 11-0 Colts -- with five weeks remaining on the NFL schedule. Ten teams in the conference either reside in first place in their division or are within two games of first as the playoff picture continues to develop.

Among the clubs seeking to make up ground and improve their position in a competitive postseason field are the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4, .636). Winners of three of their past four games, the Chiefs have equaled their win total of a year ago and are charging hard in the AFC West. Every team remaining on Kansas City's schedule owns a record of 7-4 or better, giving them the toughest strength of schedule (.691) of the AFC contenders.

"The pressure is on us," Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said. "And with our kind of players that we have here, the pressure is an advantage. It brings the best out of us. You can use it as an excuse, but our guys have bought into taking the pressure on and using it to motivate them to work harder, prepare harder and play harder."

Following is the remaining strength of schedule for the eight AFC teams that are above .500 with five games to go:

AFC EAST

TEAMNEW ENGLAND (6-5)
OPP. RECORD19-36 (.345)
WEEK 13N.Y. Jets (2-9)
WEEK 14at Buffalo (4-7)
WEEK 15Tampa Bay (7-4)
WEEK 16at N.Y. Jets (2-9)
WEEK 17Miami (4-7)

AFC NORTH

TEAMCINCINNATI (8-3)PITTSBURGH (7-4)
OPP. RECORD26-29 (.473)30-25 (.545)
WEEK 13at Pittsburgh (7-4)Cincinnati (8-3)
WEEK 14Cleveland (4-7)Chicago (8-3)
WEEK 15at Detroit (4-7)at Minnesota (6-5)
WEEK 16Buffalo (4-7)at Cleveland (4-7)
WEEK 17at Kansas City (7-4)Detroit (4-7)

AFC SOUTH

TEAMINDIANAPOLIS (11-0)JACKSONVILLE (8-3)
OPP. RECORD30-25 (.545)21-34 (.382)
WEEK 13Tennessee (3-8)at Cleveland (4-7)
WEEK 14at Jacksonville (8-3)Indianapolis (11-0)
WEEK 15San Diego (7-4)San Francisco (2-9)
WEEK 16at Seattle (9-2)at Houston (1-10)
WEEK 17Arizona (3-8)Tennessee (3-8)

AFC WEST

TEAMDENVER (9-2)SAN DIEGO (7-4)KANSAS CITY (7-4)
OPP. RECORD25-30 (.455)35-20 (.636)38-17 (.691)
WEEK 13at Kansas City (7-4)Oakland (4-7)Denver (9-2)
WEEK 14Baltimore (3-8)Miami (4-7)at Dallas (7-4)
WEEK 15at Buffalo (4-7)at Indianapolis (11-0)at N.Y. Giants (7-4)
WEEK 16Oakland (4-7)at Kansas City (7-4)San Diego (7-4)
WEEK 17at San Diego (7-4)Denver (9-2)Cincinnati (8-3)

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