The once-cloudy AFC playoff portrait cleared up considerably in Week 16. There's no more mystery about which six teams are in -- the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals made the cut -- but there's still plenty to sort out when it comes to the postseason pecking order.
Here's what we learned:
Texans in hot water
The Texans have frolicked through this season as the likely No. 1 seed in the AFC. With one week to go, Houston's spot at the top is anything but secure.
**The surging Broncos (12-3) can steal the No. 1 slot if the Texans fall to the Colts and Denver knocks off the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17. It doesn't end there. The Patriots (11-4) can wrestle away the second seed if they wind up tied with the Texans at 12-4, because New England owns the tiebreaker.
Even the Patriots still have a shot at the top seed. If (a) New England beats the Miami Dolphins; (b) Denver loses to Kansas City; and (c) the Colts beat Houston, all three playoff-bound teams would finish 12-4. In that scenario, New England would own the three-way tiebreaker and Denver would be bumped from the bye into the No. 3 spot because the Texans own the tiebreaker with the Broncos.
More weirdness ... involving the Ravens
Baltimore's resounding 33-14 win over the New York Giants on Sunday -- combined with the now-eliminated Pittsburgh Steelers losing to the Bengals -- handed the AFC North to the Ravens (10-5). Baltimore is assured at least the No. 4 seed but can flip places with New England depending on what happens next Sunday.
A tale of horses and tigers
We'll need to wait out next week's games to see who their first-round opponents will be.