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AFC playoff picture remains group photo

(Dec. 12, 2006) -- With three weeks remaining in the regular season, 13 of 16 AFC clubs are squeezed together in the conference's playoff picture. The San Diego Chargers are the lone team among the 16 to have clinched a postseason berth, earning the AFC West crown last week.

Baltimore (10-3), Indianapolis (10-3) and New England (9-4) all have an opportunity to clinch division titles this week. Nine other clubs are wedged together between 8-5 and 6-7, toiling for a division championship or wild-card berth.

"The only thing that matters is us," said Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, whose team stands at 8-5 and controls its own playoff destiny. The final three games on the Bengals' schedule places the team at Indianapolis, at Denver and home against Pittsburgh.

"Nothing around us really affects what we do," Lewis said. "If we're a playoff team, we have to prove it by beating playoff teams. Those are the teams we're competing with. Those are the teams we get to play the next three weeks. We have no better opportunity than to go play, win the games, and everything else will take care of itself."

Following are the records of AFC playoff contenders, their remaining games and their wins and losses against other AFC playoff hopefuls:

AFC EAST

TEAM/GAMES VS. CONTENDERS OVERALL DIV. CONF. Week 15 16 17
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS* 9-4 4-2 5-4 Hou At Jac At Tenn
Wins: Buf (2), NYJ, Mia, Cin; Losses: Den, Ind, NYJ, Mia
NEW YORK JETS 7-6 3-2 5-5 At Min At Mia Oak
Wins: Tenn, Buf, Mia, NE; Losses: NE, Ind, Jac, Buf
BUFFALO BILLS 6-7 2-3 4-5 Mia Tenn At Bal
Wins: Mia, NYJ, Jac; Losses: NE (2), NYJ, Ind, SD
MIAMI DOLPHINS 6-7 1-3 3-6 At Buf NYJ At Ind
Wins: Tenn, NE, KC; Losses: Pit, Buf, NE, NYJ, Jac

AFC NORTH

TEAM/GAMES VS. CONTENDERS OVERALL DIV. CONF. Week 15 16 * 17 *
BALTIMORE RAVENS 10-3 3-1 7-2 Cle At Pit Buf
Wins: SD, Cin, Ten, Pit, KC; Losses: Den, Cin
CINCINNATI BENGALS 8-5 4-1 6-3 At Ind At Den Pit
Wins: KC, Pit, Bal; Losses: NE, Bal, SD
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 6-7 2-2 4-6 At Car Bal At Cin
Wins: Mia, KC; Losses: Jac, Cin, SD, Den, Bal

AFC SOUTH

TEAM/GAMES VS. CONTENDERS OVERALL DIV. CONF. Week 15 16 * 17 *
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 10-3 3-2 7-2 Cin At Hou Mia
Wins: Hou, Jac, Tenn, NYJ, Den, NE, Buf; Losses: Tenn, Jac
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 8-5 2-3 5-4 At Tenn NE At KC
Wins: Pit, NYJ, Tenn, Mia; Losses: Ind, Buf
TENNESSEE TITANS 6-7 3-2 3-6 Jac At Buf NE
Wins: Ind; Losses: NYJ, SD, Mia, Ind, Jac, Bal

AFC WEST

TEAM/GAMES VS. CONTENDERS OVERALL DIV. CONF. Week 15 16 17 *
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 11-2 4-2 9-2 KC At Sea Arz
Wins: Tenn, Pit, Cin, Den (2), Buf; Losses: Bal, KC
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 7-6 3-1 3-6 At SD At Oak Jac
Wins: SD, Den; Losses: Cin, Den, Pit, Mia, Bal
DENVER BRONCOS 7-6 3-3 7-4 At Arz Cin SF
Wins: KC, NE, Bal, Pit; Losses: Ind, SD (2), KC

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