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By Milt Northrop

Old American Football League die-hards must be suffering these days. New England and Denver appear to be playoff bound, but it has not been a banner season for the other six original AFL franchises.

Going into Week 13 games today, Buffalo, the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans (the former Houston Oilers) and the New York Jets (nee N.Y. Titans) are out of playoff contention or barely hanging on.

What’s more, the AFL originals include the NFL’s most troubled franchises and four of them may be due for head coaching changes in 2013. The Chiefs have the worst record (1-10) in the league, and Kansas City fans and media are demanding changes in management.

In Buffalo, San Diego and Oakland fans are voting at the turnstile. The home games of the Bills, Chargers and Raiders today will be blacked out on local television.

The Patriots (8-3) and the Broncos (8-3) are the only AFL originals with winning records entering December. Overall, the old AFL is 36-52. Outside the original eight, the AFLers are only 20-35 despite New England’s 6-0 mark.

Against the NFC, the AFL originals are only 7-18. The Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs are a combined 0-8 against the NFC.

Game of the day

Buccaneers (6-5) at Broncos (8-3)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.

The line: Broncos (-6½)

The scoop: Denver can clinch AFC West with a win or a Chargers loss. Bucs trying to stay in NFC wild-card picture. … Bucs have best NFL record against the spread (7-2-2). … Already sitting pretty, Broncos have easiest remaining schedule. Opponents have 22-33 (.400) combined record. … Josh Freeman of Buccaneers has thrown for 16 TDs with just three INTs in last seven games. However, his overthrow of wide-open Mike Williams in end zone last week lost vital division game against Atlanta, a 24-23 defeat. … Knowshon Moreno has moved into starting RB spot for Denver in place of injured Willis McGahee.

Outlook: Denver’s only home loss was to Houston. Too tough to beat Peyton Manning and Co. in Mile High. Denver, 34-24.

Top attractions

Patriots (8-3) at Dolphins (5-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Patriots (-7½)

The scoop: Pats can wrap up AFC East by winning. Two games with Dolphins are only division games left on New England schedule. … Pats have won last four games against Fish, including 27- and 14-point margins at Sun Life Stadium. … Patriots have won last 12 December games. … New England’s 31-21 win over Broncos on Oct. 7 may end up deciding No. 2 seed in AFC playoffs.

Outlook: Can Miami hold Pats under 30? New England, 27-20.

Steelers (6-5) at Ravens (9-2)

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.

The line: Ravens (-8)

The scoop: Ravens clinch AFC North with a win and Bengals loss. A win assures Baltimore of playoff spot. … Baltimore has won last 15 regular season games at home. Steelers in 2010 were last to defeat Ravens at home. … Charlie Batch gets the start at quarterback for the Steelers, replacing the injured Ben Roethlisberger. … Ravens converted fourth-and-29 on tying FG drive at Chargers last week on way to OT win. Officials missed obvious block-in-the-back by Ravens WR Anquan Boldin.

Outlook: Steelers may get Polamalu back for this one, but they need Ben more. Ravens, 17-10.

Giants (7-4) at Redskins (5-6)

TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:30 p.m.

The line: Giants (-2½)

The scoop: New York’s remaining opponents have a 32-23 (.582) overall record, best among playoff contenders. Giants also have other road games against Falcons and Ravens. … If Redskins hadn’t allowed 77-yard TD pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left for 27-23 Giants win, teams would be tied for division lead going into today’s game. Redskins have gone 3-1 since that heartbreak.

Outlook: Shanahan may be Coach of Year. Grit and RG3 makes Redskins tough out. Giants, 28-20.

Seahawks (6-5) at Bears (8-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Bears (-3½)

The scoop: Giving up late lead in loss at Miami last Sunday damaged Seattle playoff hopes and virtually ended any chance of winning division. … Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson has had 7-0 TD-INT ratio and plus-125 passer rating last three games. … Chicago may be without CB Charles Tillman and return man Devin Hester for this one.

Outlook: Seahawks play three of last four at home after 20-10 loss here.

Colts (7-4) at Lions (4-7)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Lions (-6)

The scoop: Missed call by refs in Thanksgiving loss to Houston (OT) probably ended Detroit’s playoff chances. … Except for two games with 10-1 Texans, Colts have easiest remaining schedule. … Lions are 0-3 against Indy since last win in 1997.

Outlook: Resourceful Colts have done well to win seven. They were played to standstill at home by Bills last week. Things will be tougher in Motor City. Lions, 33-21.

Vikings (6-5) at Packers (7-4)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Packers (-8½)

The scoop: First of two to be played between NFC North rivals. They also will meet again in Week 17. Packers have won last nine division games and last four against Minnesota. … Packers trying to come back from humiliating rout at hands of Giants. Vikings were handled by Bears last week.

Outlook: Packers may get LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) back but not DB Charles Woodson (collarbone), too. Both missed loss at Giants. A must-win for Packers, 27-17.

Best of the rest

Jaguars (2-9) at Bills (4-7)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Bills (-6)

The scoop: Buffalo is last in the league in defending third downs (46.4) and Jaguars (30.6) are last in converting them. If those numbers are reversed Bills will lose. … In just two-plus games, Chad Henne of Jaguars has thrown for seven touchdowns. Blaine Gabbert had only nine in 8½ games before injuries put him out for the year.

Outlook: Bills end two-game losing streak to Jax, but just barely, 24-20.

Cardinals (4-7) at Jets (4-7)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Jets (-5)

The scoop: Cardinals have lost last seven and only road win was at Patriots in Week Two. … Jets lead all-time series, 5-2, including wins in last five. … Rookie Ryan Lindley makes second career start for Arizona.

Outlook: Even Fireman Ed has given up on Jets, but Cardinals have not scored 20 in last seven games. Jets, 24-10.

49ers (8-2-1) at Rams (4-6-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: 49ers (-7½)

The scoop: Teams played to a 24-all tie on Nov. 11 at Candlestick. Niners have defeated tough Bears and Saints since while Rams have gone 1-1. … QB Colin Kaepernick of Niners is talk of league.

Outlook: Can’t see Rams scoring 24 against Niners again. San Francisco, 28-10.

Texans (10-1) at Titans (4-7)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Texans (-6½)

The scoop: Houston clinches playoff spot with a win and can do it even with a loss depending on outcome of other games. … Texans are 5-0 on road this season. One more win would be club record for single season. They were 10-6 last year.

Outlook: Former Houston Oilers managed to lose at Jacksonville so losing at home to Texans should be easy. Houston, 21-14.

Bengals (6-5) at Chargers (4-7)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: Bengals (-2)

The scoop: Bengals have won last three averaging 31 points. … Chargers are 18-3 in December under Norv Turner. Late push won’t do Bolts much good this time.

Outlook: San Diego’s only wins in last nine are over Chiefs twice. Nevertheless, Chargers, 31-28.

Eagles (3-8) at Cowboys (5-6)

TV: Ch. 2, 8:20 p.m.

The line: Cowboys (-10½)

The scoop: People have been overrating Philadelphia all season. Eagles only 1-9-1 against the spread and have lost last seven outright. … Injury situation making Philadelphia situation uglier by the week.

Outlook: Andy Reid has 17-11 record against Dallas. It looks like he will finish 17-12. Cowboys, 30-17.

Browns (3-8) at Raiders (3-8)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: Browns (-2)

The scoop: Browns special teams were horrible in 24-17 loss at Raiders last season. Gave up 101-yard kickoff return and a TD pass by punter Shane Lechler. … Could come down to field goal duel between Phil Dawson of Browns, who has made his last 27 FGs, and Sebastian Janikowski of Raiders, who is 22 for 23. … Browns QB Brandon Weeden (concussion) may not play.

Outlook: This should be real ugly game between two of NFL’s dullest offenses. Browns, 20-16.

Dog of the day

Panthers (3-8) at Chiefs (1-10)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Panthers (-3)

The scoop: Chiefs playing game despite tragic death of LB Jovan Belcher, who shot himself at Arrowhead Stadium after murdering girlfriend. Brady Quinn (0-4 TD-INT) gets start at QB for K.C.

Outlook: Nobody except Giants and Broncos has had easy time against Panthers but coach Ron Rivera is on hot seat anyway. Chiefs due to reach end zone. K.C, 20-17.

Last week’s results: 9-4 outright, 8-4-1 versus spread.

Season’s record: 98-63-1 outright, 76-82-5 versus spread.

email: mnorthrop@buffnews.com