Entering Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, there were nine teams in the AFC with winning records. That included the entire AFC East as the Bills (8-3), Dolphins (8-3), Jets (7-4) and Patriots (6-5) continued to be successful. In the three other divisions, there were the Ravens (7-4), Bengals (7-4), Titans (7-4), Chiefs (9-2) and Chargers (6-5).
But what a difference a Thursday night and a Sunday afternoon make. Six of those nine clubs took it on the chin. And suddenly, there are only seven teams above .500 in the conference. The Pats and Bolts have each now lost a half-dozen games.
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Ep 101: Conference Championship Sunday - Preview, Prop Bets, and Predictions
by Full Press Coverage on January 29, 2023 at 11:25 am
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Enter the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Both sport 5-7 records and have suddenly decided to string a few wins together. Kevin Stefanski’s club has won its last two contests. Same with the Black and Gold, which is actually 3-1 in their last four outings after dropping six of their first eight contests. And don’t count out the 5-8 Las Vegas Raiders quite yet, although the Silver and Black squandered a golden opportunity on Thursday night after blow a 13-point fourth-quarter lead in a 17-16 loss to the Rams.
So Week 14 is already underway. And the Kansas City Chiefs are the only team in the AFC that can wrap up a postseason berth. As for the Browns and Steelers, both face division rivals in the Bengals and Ravens, respectively.
There’s more intrigue around the conference. The 7-5 Jets travel to Buffalo looking to sweep the Bills. The Dolphins are in Tinsel Town to take on the Chargers. The AFC postseason picture could look a whole lot different Tuesday morning after the Patriots take on the Cardinals at Arizona on Monday night.
Nearly every season, there is a team or two that starts strong and slumps. That goes the other way as well as some clubs slow out of the gate catch fire when it really counts. The Browns, Steelers and Raiders were all playoff afterthoughts not so long ago. Of course, that’s why that “if the season ended today” thing is such a waste of time.