Setting the AFC playoff picture

January, 1, 2012
1/01/12
7:58
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The AFC playoff picture is set and it looks like this:

1. New England
2. Baltimore
3. Houston
4. Denver
5. Pittsburgh
6. Cincinnati

So the wild-card round matchups have Cincinnati visiting Houston and Pittsburgh traveling to Denver.

The Patriots will face the lowest remaining seed in the divisional playoff round.

The best-case scenario, from this view, is for the Patriots to avoid having to face Pittsburgh and then Baltimore.

At initial glance, the feeling here is that the Bengals -- of all the possible No. 6 seeds -- have one of the best chances of going into Houston and beating the Texans. If they do that, it would mean the Patriots avoid Pittsburgh/Baltimore back-to-back scenario.

Do you agree with that line of thinking?

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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