The chase for the AFC's championship and the Super Bowl berth will eventually have to travel through either New England or Denver, but it will be the No. 6 seed Cincinnati Bengals and No. 3 seed Houston Texans that open the AFC's playoff schedule next weekend in the Wild Card round.
The Bengals-Texans meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday will precede a Sunday afternoon showdown between the No. 5 seed Indianapolis Colts and the No. 4 seed Baltimore Ravens in the other AFC Wild Card game at 1 p.m.
The AFC's top-seeded Denver Broncos will take on the lowest remaining AFC team after next weekend's action, while the No. 2 New England Patriots will square off with the highest remaining team after the Wild Card round.
Here's the complete AFC playoff schedule: