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Tuesday, December 3, 2002
Updated: December 4, 11:19 AM ET
Which of these teams is in?

SportsNation

Bonus Question: Which 7-5 team in the AFC should start printing playoff tickets? If the playoffs started today, two of these teams would be in, and two would be out. But they also have five 6-6 teams to contend with.

Check out our analysis below and vote to the left.

Miami Dolphins
Overall record: 7-5
Division situation: Tied for AFC East lead with New England
Division record: 2-3
Wild card situation: Four teams are tied at 7-5
Conference record: 6-4

Remaining games: Chicago, Oakland, at Minnesota, at New England

It looks like it will all come down to that final Dec. 29 game, with the Fins going to New England. But even if the Dolphins find the Pats and the winter weather inhospitable, the rest of the schedule shapes up pretty well for Miami, and that strong conference record puts them in pretty good shape for any wild card tiebreakers.

New England Patriots
Overall record: 7-5
Division situation: Tied for AFC East lead with Miami
Division record: 2-1
Wild card situation: Four teams are tied at 7-5
Conference record: 4-4

Remaining games: Buffalo, at Tennessee, New York Jets, Miami

With three division games remaining, all at home, the Pats have their fate in their hands. Win two of those three games, including the final showdown with Miami, and New England is in. Otherwise, they're asking for big trouble.

Tennessee Titans
Overall record: 7-5
Division situation: Indianapolis leads the AFC South at 8-4
Division record: 3-0
Wild card situation: Four teams are tied at 7-5
Conference record: 5-3

Remaining games: Indianapolis, New England, at Jacksonville, at Houston

If the playoffs started today, the Titans would be in on the strength of their conference record. If they can handle the Colts this week at home, they would be 2-0 against Indy and on track to take the AFC South. If the Colts win, the schedule still lines up well for the Titans, with three winnable games.

Denver Broncos
Overall record: 7-5
Division situation: San Diego and Oakland lead the AFC West at 8-4
Division record: 2-2
Wild card situation: Four teams are tied at 7-5
Conference record: 4-5

Remaining games: at New York Jets, Kansas City, at Oakland, Arizona

The Broncos probably need to win at least three of four to have a shot. They aren't in good shape in the division tiebreakers, meaning an AFC West title is unlikely, and they have a weak conference record as well. This week's game at the Jets will tell us a lot about their chances -- a win there and things start looking up.