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Assessing wild-card chances

Despite their loss Sunday in San Francisco, the Jaguars are still in line for the AFC’s final playoff berth. They edge the Ravens and Steelers, who also have 6-5 records. The Texans and Titans are part of a group of four teams a game off that pace at 5-6.

What’s it look like for the three AFC South teams chasing a wild card?

Jacksonville (6-5)

Remaining schedule: Houston, Miami, Indianapolis, at New England, at Cleveland.

Opponents combined winning percentage: .537.

AccuScore’s chance of making playoffs: 19%.

Estimated win total: 8.25 games.

My thoughts: The three-game stretch at home is nice, even if those games are blacked out in Jacksonville. The Colts already have the AFC South locked up and could be taking their foot of the gas by Dec. 17. But that game is on Thursday on the NFL Network and a similar stage a bit earlier last year allowed Peyton Manning to put the finishing touches on his MVP campaign.

Houston (5-6)

Remaining schedule: at Jacksonville, Seattle, at St. Louis, at Miami, New England.

Opponents combined winning percentage: .425

AccuScore’s chance of making playoffs: 6%

Estimated win total: 7.51 games

My thoughts: The Texans have already lost to Jacksonville, and with two even teams from the same division a split is common. The two NFC games are very winnable. That means even after their three-game horror stretch they just finished, they could be 8-6 in three weeks with a shot at winning out. I’m not a big buyer right now, if the Patriots have their playoff position locked up and that last game means a lot to the Texans, they could wash away a lot of stumbles already committed.

Tennessee (5-6)

Remaining schedule: At Indianapolis, St. Louis, Miami, San Diego, at Seattle.

Opponents combined winning percentage: .527

AccuScore’s chance of making playoffs: 13 percent.

Estimated win total: 8.03.

My thoughts: I didn’t think it possible for the Titans to win all four games -- at Houston, Arizona, at Indianapolis and San Diego -- but they are already halfway there after beating the Texans and the Cardinals. When Jeff Fisher’s had good teams, he’s matched up well with the Colts and Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium should be intriguing. Three at home will be nice. Even after a win at San Francisco, Jeff Fisher’s bad history of taking teams to the West Coast could come into play if that Seattle game means anything.

Here is AccuScore’s more detailed assessment of playoff chances:

Which AFC team has the best chance at the wild-card?

In our preseason forecast, we had Tennessee making the playoffs at 47 percent which was good enough for 6th in the AFC. Despite their recent success we still only give them a 13% chance of making the playoffs. The chart below is attached. AccuScore simulations still give the Broncos and Steelers the best shot at Wild Card spots. If you add up their individual week winning percentages and combine that with the current wins then Denver finishes with an average of 9.72 wins. Even though this is better than Pittsburgh’s 9.44, Pittsburgh is making the playoffs more often because they beat Denver this season. Tennessee has the 3rd best winning percentage over the rest of the season and their chances at 13 percent are significantly better than the other five win teams, but it is still a long shot for Tennessee to leapfrog three of the four teams ahead of them.