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Silver Minings: AFC Week 15 roundup

Checking in on the rest of the conference

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers vs Titans
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders don’t play until this afternoon, but let’s check in on the rest of the AFC as the Raiders will be one game out from a wild card spot with a win. However, Las Vegas will also be tied with three other teams at 7-7 and behind a four-way tie for the conference’s final three playoff spots.

Carolina Panthers 14 Buffalo Bills 31

Key Stats:

  • Josh Allen, QB: 19/34, 210 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 3 carries, 24 rushing yards
  • Devin Singletary, RB: 23 total touches, 96 total yards, 1 rushing TD
  • Gabriel Davis, WR: 5 catches, 85 yards, 2 TDs
  • Micah Hyde, S: 6 total tackles, 1 PD

The most interesting aspect of this game was the Panthers holding kicker tryouts during the pregame with position players after Zane Gonzalez was injured in pregame warmups. After that, the Bills got out to a 14-point lead in the second quarter and never looked back. Buffalo was finally able to get its rushing attack going as they ran for 4.4 yards per carry and 119 yards as a team, and their pass defense was stout like normal.

The Bills hold the seventh seed in the AFC and have a rematch with the Patriots on the road next week, and they have a chance to take control of the division.

New York Jets 24 Miami Dolphins 31

Key Stats:

  • Tua Tagovailoa, QB: 16/27, 196 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 7 carries, 19 rushing yards
  • Duke Johnson, RB: 23 total touches 127 total yards, 2 TDs
  • DeVante Parker, WR: 4 catches 68 yards, 1 TD
  • Jerome Baker, LB: 7 total tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, 2 QB hits

After starting the season 1-7, the Dolphins won six in a row to climb back to .500 and into the AFC playoff picture. They’ve done it with an old-school mentality, running the ball and playing good defense, and that was never more evident than yesterday. Miami put up 183 yards on the ground and held New York to just 228 total yards.

The Phins are one of the two current 7-7 teams in the conference, falling one game back of the four-way tie for a postseason berth. They’ll head to New Orleans for Monday Night Football next week.

Tennessee Titans 13 Pittsburgh Steelers 19

Key Stats:

  • Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans: 23/32, 153 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 5 carries, 18 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • D’Onta Foreman, RB, Titans: 24 total touches, 135 total yards
  • Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, WR, Titans: 4 catches, 32 yards
  • Naquan Jones, DT, Titans: 4 total tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs, 1 QB hit
  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: 16/25, 148 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 3 carries, 0 yards, 1 TD
  • Najee Harris, RB, Steelers: 12 carries, 18 yards
  • Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers: 5 catches, 38 yards
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Steelers: 14 total tackles

This one had the most postseason implications on the line in the conference yesterday and the game did not disappoint. It came down to a razor-thin failed fourth-down conversion that the Titans were on the wrong side of, a common theme in their organization’s history.

Tennessee’s offense and quarterback Ryan Tannehill continued to struggle without Derrick Henry in the lineup, while Pittsburgh’s defense continues to carry Big Ben and the offense. Four out of five of the Steeler’s scoring drives were less than 35 yards and three out of five were less than 20.

The Titans have now lost three of their last four and have a quick turnaround, hosting the 49ers on Thursday night. However, they still hold the 3rd spot in the conference and lead the Colts by one game in the AFC South.

As for the Steelers, they’re half a game back of the aforementioned four-way tie and head to Kansas City on Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals 15 Denver Broncos 10

Key Stats:

  • Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals: 15/22, 157 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 5 carries, 25 yards
  • Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: 17 carries, 58 yards
  • Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: 5 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD
  • Germaine Pratt, LB, Bengals: 15 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 QB hit
  • Drew Lock, QB, Broncos: 6/12, 88 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
  • Javonte Williams, CB, Broncos: 15 carries, 72 yards
  • Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Broncos: 3 catches, 58 yards

In what was a rather boring game, the Bengals made just enough plays to prove they’re a legitimate playoff contender. Their defense held tight and they made enough plays offensively to get the job done.

For Denver, the biggest storyline from yesterday is the health of starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater left the game on a stretcher and is reportedly going to be okay, but he did spend the night in the hospital. Drew Lock came in, in relief and made had a nice 25-yard touchdown toss to Tim Patrick, but didn't show much promise outside of that.

The Bengals took over the AFC North lead and hold the AFC’s four seed with a home matchup against the Ravens upcoming. Denver sits at 7-7, one game out of a playoff spot, and heads to Las Vegas next weekend.

Green Bay Packers 31 Baltimore Ravens 30

Key Stats:

  • Tyler Huntley, QB: 28/40, 215 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 13 carries, 73 rushing yards, 2 TDs
  • Latavius Murray, RB: 7 carries, 48 yards
  • Mark Andrews, TE: 10 catches, 136 yards, 2 TDs
  • Patrick Queen, LB: 13 total tackles

Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley played admirably in this game and went toe-to-toe with a league MVP candidate in Aaron Rodgers. However, a failed two-point conversion cost the Ravens again and now they’ve lost three in a row by a total of five points. It’s starting to feel like the injuries are just becoming too much for Baltimore to overcome this season.

The Ravens fell out of the playoff standings as they’re the fourth team in the wild card tie, but they do have a chance to move all the way up to at least the four seed with a win in Cincy next Sunday.

Still to play: Cleveland Browns (7-6, 9th in AFC standings) and Las Vegas Raiders (6-7, 13 in AFC standings)

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