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NFL playoff picture: Browns-Bengals game shakes things up in the AFC

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Updating the NFL playoff picture as the Chiefs prepare to visit the Bills in Week 10.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The last time we visited with the NFL playoff picture the Cincinnati Bengals were the third seed, the Pittsburgh Steelers held the fifth seed and the Cleveland Browns weren't in. With the Browns laying the beat down on the Bengals on Thursday night, the AFC playoff picture has seen a shake up.

I don't plan on tracking every single movement in the playoff picture but I do want to use this as an example of how far we have to go. One game (Browns vs. Bengals) changed the playoff standing of three teams. The Bengals are now out, the Steelers go from the fifth to third seed and the Browns are now in.

Here is the current AFC playoff picture (tiebreaker info at ESPN):

1. New England Patriots (7-2)
2. Denver Broncos (6-2)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)
5. Cleveland Browns (6-3)
6. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)

In this scenario, the Chiefs would be going on the road to face the Steelers. Unfortunately for our emotional well-being, playing the Colts again remains a very ,very real possibility for the Chiefs. I'm not sure I could handle that.

The top two seeds will receive a first round bye and a home game in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The top four seeds are the four division winners. The final two seeds are the Wild Card teams. If the Chiefs can't beat out the Broncos in the AFC West, they can only secure the fifth or sixth seed and a road playoff game on Wild Card weekend.

Not listed above but sitting in what would be the seventh seed are the Buffalo Bills, who just so happen to host the Chiefs this weekend. That's why that game is so important for both teams. The Chiefs already beat the eighth seeded Miami Dolphins as well as the 10th seeded San Diego Chargers, whom the Chiefs also play in Week 17.

Unrelated but as someone who feels for the fans of struggling franchises, I love seeing the Bills and Browns in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.