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Bedard’s Top 12: Chiefs, Titans rise in AFC playoff picture

Updated December 10, 2019 - 6:46 pm

Projecting the 12 teams most deserving of playoff berths, and then ranking them heading into Week 15.

1. Baltimore (11-2)

After facing — and beating — five quality opponents in six games, let’s see if the Ravens can keep their focus against weaker AFC foes to finish up.

This week: vs. Jets (5-8), Thursday. Last week’s ranking: 1.

2. San Francisco (11-2)

There has to be a lot of concern with the health of CB Richard Sherman, who keeps going in and out of games. He’s the heartbeat of that defense.

This week: vs. Atlanta (4-9). Last week’s ranking: 2.

3. New Orleans (10-3)

Sure, the Saints lost to the Niners, but the performance Drew Brees had (138.4 rating) should have other teams concerned. No one’s done that to the 49ers’ defense.

This week: vs. Indianapolis (6-7). Last week’s ranking: 3.

4. Seattle (10-3)

The biggest concern in the loss to the Rams was that the Seahawks didn’t sack Jared Goff once, and that line is bad.

This week: at Carolina (5-8). Last week’s ranking: 4.

5. Kansas City (9-4)

The Chiefs have won three straight, but Patrick Mahomes still isn’t right. He’s gun-shy in the pocket after his knee injury.

This week: vs. Broncos (5-8). Last week’s ranking: 9.

6. New England (10-3)

The offense was rough again, but the defense allowed a 3rd-and-19 conversion and a touchdown on 2nd-and-25. Can’t do that and beat the Chiefs.

This week: at Cincinnati (1-12). Last week’s ranking: 5.

7. Green Bay (10-3)

A five-point home win over the Redskins is not going to assuage anyone’s fear that this team isn’t as good as its record.

This week: vs. Chicago (7-6). Last week’s ranking: 7.

8. Minnesota (9-4)

Don’t get excited about all the pass rush the Vikings exerted on the Lions — QB David Blough’s indecisiveness was responsible for a lot of it.

This week: at Chargers (5-8). Last week’s ranking: 8.

9. Tennessee (8-5)

This team is for real, but if the wear-and-tear RB Derrick Henry showed late against the Raiders continues, the Titans will be in trouble.

This week: vs. Houston (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 11.

10. Houston (8-5)

Typical Texans. One week after Bill O’Brien’s biggest win over the Patriots, they get pushed around by the Broncos at home to drop into a division tie with the Titans.

This week: at Tennessee (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 6.

11. Buffalo (9-4)

A loss to the Steelers, with the Patriots looming next week, could kick the Bills out of the AFC playoff picture. A lot of pressure on Josh Allen.

This week: at Pittsburgh (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 10.

12. Dallas (6-7)

We officially have no clue who will take the mandated NFC East playoff spot. Cowboys look dead, but the Eagles don’t have much more of a pulse.

This week: vs. Rams (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 12.

Dropped out: None.

Knocking on the door: Pittsburgh (8-5), L.A. Rams (8-5), Philadelphia (6-7), Indianapolis (6-7).

Greg A. Bedard covers the NFL for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at gbedard@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GregABedard on Twitter.

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