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Saturday, December 14, 2013

AFC Wild Card Race Round-Up

Wild on Sports
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AFC Wild Card Race Round-Up

In a year that we really have a lot of clear cut division winners, the race everyone will be watching down the stretch will be the AFC Wild Card race. Four teams (Baltimore, Miami, San Diego, New York) have a realistic shot at the final wild card spot. With three games remaining for each team, including several against each other, lets take a look at what each team needs in order to make it to the AFC Playoffs.

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Baltimore Ravens
(7-6, 2nd AFC North)

Remaining Games:
Week 15: @ Detroit Lions
Week 16: vs. New England Patriots
Week 17: @ Cincinnati Bengals

Outlook:
The Ravens control their own destiny and hold tie breakers over both Miami and New York thanks to head to head victories Their road will not be easy as the three remaining games all come against teams currently leading their divisions, including inner-division rival Cincinnati. That said, they are the defending champs and know what it takes to win big games. This is the time of year Joe Flacco makes his money. He just got the big bucks this year. Lets see if he can come through again.

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Miami Dolphins
(7-6, 2nd AFC East)

Remaining Games:
Week 15: vs. New England Patriots
Week 16: @ Buffalo Bills
Week 17: vs. New York Jets

Outlook:
The Dolphins, on paper at least, seem to have the easiest schedule of the teams in the race. They take on an injury depleted New England team at home in week 15, go on the road to play a struggling Buffalo team week 16 before returning home for a big rivalry game (that may decide the 6 seed) to close out the season. The Dolphins have gone through a lot of off the field distractions this season but Joe Philbin's club has hung in there tough and look like a playoff caliber team. They have an outside shot at the division should they will out and New England lose out. Its unlikely, but not entirely impossible.

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San Diego Chargers
(7-7, 3rd AFC West)

Remaining Games:
Week 15: vs. Denver (WIN)
Week 16: vs. Oakland
Week 17: vs. Kansas City

Outlook:
They had their backs against the wall going into Thursday nights game against Denver and really stood up to the test knocking off the #1 ranked team in the AFC. They close the season with a pair of divisional games, both at home. They really need to win out and get some help in the form of losses from Miami and Baltimore. Maimi owns a head to head tie breaker over them thanks to their week 11 victory. They are a long shot but no offense in the running may be hotter than that of Phillip Rivers' Chargers. They are certainly a team that no one would want to face if they were to get in.

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New York Jets
(6-7, 3rd AFC East)

Remaining Games:
Week 15: @ Carolina Panthers
Week 16: vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 17: @ Miami Dolphins

Outlook:
The Jets must win out to get in. Their toughest test will come in week 15 against the red hot Carolina Panthers. If there is a silver lining for the Jets it is that the team has gotten a little healthier each week. The past two weeks they have gotten back WR's Santonio Holmes and Jeremey Kerley. They will need rookie QB Geno Smith to gain some confidence with each of them if they want a chance down the stretch. Will it come down to the week 17 match-up with Miami?

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