Dark Horse AFC Teams That Can Surprisingly Still Make the NFL Playoffs

David Kaestle

When you're gearing up for Week 13 in the NFL, most teams have a pretty good idea of what their fate will be by season's end. You're either in the playoffs, fighting for a spot, or preparing for the NFL Draft.

Although, this season, there are a few AFC teams that many considered dead in the water a couple weeks ago, but have now found new life in their playoff hopes. Let's take a look at three dark horse teams that could still make the NFL playoffs.

1. Cleveland Browns

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Coming into the season with more hype that any other team in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns sputtered to begin the season, starting 2-6. Since then, however, they have rattled off three straight wins and now sit at 5-6 and are in third place in the AFC North. Cleveland is one game back of the second place Pittsburgh Steelers, but those two will play each other in Week 13. The Browns are likely too far back to catch up with the Baltimore Ravens, but if they can get to nine or 10 wins, they'll have a real shot at competing for a Wild Card spot. With remaining games against the Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals (twice), Arizona Cardinals and Ravens, the task might not be as tough as you think.

2. New York Jets

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In similar fashion to the Browns, the New York Jets came into 2019 with high hopes, but fell flat on their face in the first half of the season, starting 1-7. They have now won three in a row and sit at 4-7, good for third in the AFC East. Going after a Wild Card spot like the Browns, the Jets also have a favorable schedule the rest of the way. New York has remaining games against the Bengals, Dolphins, Ravens, Steelers and Bills. While a couple of those games are surely tough, the Jets could be in the hunt for the last playoff spot if they manage to win out and get a little lucky down the stretch.

3. Tennessee Titans

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans started off the year 2-4, but they've won four of five games since inserting backup QB Ryan Tannehill into the starting lineup. Coming off back-to-back impressive wins against the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars, the Titans still have three division games remaining. Tennessee will face the second-place Indianapolis Colts once, and the division-leading Houston Texans twice. If Tannehill and the Titans can continue their impressive play and make those games against the Colts and Texans count, Tennessee certainly has a chance to sneak into the postseason this year.

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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.