AFC Playoff Picture: Wild Card Weekend Matchups Set As Regular Season Ends

UPDATE (12:21 a.m. ET): The NFL released its playoff schedule Sunday night, and here’s when the AFC teams will face off this month.

Saturday, Jan. 9
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at Houston Texans (9-7), 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (12-4), 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)

Saturday, Jan. 16
Highest remaining seed at New England Patriots (12-4), 4:35 p.m. ET (CBS)

Sunday, Jan. 17
Lowest remaining seed at Denver Broncos (12-4), 4:40 p.m. ET (CBS)

Sunday, Jan. 24
AFC Championship Game, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS): Teams TBD

AFC winner vs. NFC winner, Sunday, Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

ORIGINAL STORY: With all Week 17 AFC games finished, we now have a clear picture of what the playoffs will look like.

The Denver Broncos clinched the No. 1 overall seed, thanks to a comeback win led by Peyton Manning and a New England Patriots loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers all won, while the New York Jets lost and fell out of contention.

Here are the final AFC playoff standings:
1. Denver Broncos (12-4)
2. New England Patriots (12-4)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
4. Houston Texans (9-7)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

The Steelers will travel to face the Bengals, and the Chiefs will visit the Texans on wild card weekend.

Denver will play the lowest remaining seed in the divisional round, while the Patriots get the other wild-card winner. That means New England can’t face Pittsburgh and Denver can’t face Cincinnati before the AFC Championship Game. New England could play any of Cincinnati, Houston or Kansas City in the divisional round in two weeks.

If Cincinnati defeats Pittsburgh, it will be the visitor at Gillette Stadium in New England’s playoff opener. If Pittsburgh wins, it will travel to Denver and New England would face the Kansas City-Houston winner.

Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via AFC playoff picture

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