Buffalo Bills Playoff Picture: Week 10 Rooting Interests

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 9: Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets intercepts a pass intended for Aaron Hernandez #81 of the New England Patriots in the first half at Gillette Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With a win over the Dallas Cowboys and a little help, the Buffalo Bills can once again re-claim their spot atop the AFC East. Here's what you need to root for, Bills fans, with Week 10 beginning this evening.

New England Patriots over New York Jets
The second AFC East showdown features a team Buffalo has beaten and a team they've lost to. If you want Buffalo back on top of the AFC East, root for the Jets to lose. They own the tie-breaker over the Bills, while Buffalo's win over New England gives them the edge there.

Pittsburgh Steelers over Cincinnati Bengals
The math here is pretty simple; the Bengals are a full game ahead of the Bills, while the Steelers sit only a half-game ahead of Buffalo. Throw in the Bengals' tie-breaking victory against the Bills, and it's imperative that the Bengals fall in their first real divisional test.

Oakland Raiders over San Diego Chargers
The Bills hold the tie-breaker over the Raiders and have yet to play the Chargers. For now, we'll continue to root for the Raiders in this matchup on Thursday night.

Denver Broncos over Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City has the better record, so rooting for them to lose makes sense. It likely won't matter, since the Bills hold the tie-breaker over the Chiefs thanks to their Week 1 victory.

Seattle Seahawks over Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore is in the midst of the teams within one game of the Bills. A non-conference loss like this would boost Buffalo's playoff chances considerably.

Carolina Panthers over Tennessee Titans
With the Titans only a game behind Buffalo, it would be nice if the Panthers could put some more distance between Tennessee and the Bills in this non-conference match-up.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Houston Texans
The Texans are one of the teams ahead of Buffalo, and similar to the teams behind Buffalo, this NFC-AFC match would be a great time for the Texans to fall when we don't have to worry about the other team's record.

Philadelphia Eagles over Arizona Cardinals
The Bills' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles could come into play in their strength of victory tiebreaker. It's best to root for them this week over the Arizona Cardinals.

New York Giants over San Fransisco 49ers
If the strength of victory tiebreaker doesn't determine the winner of a tiebreaker, it will go to strength of schedule, were the Giants having a good record would help the Bills.

Miami Dolphins over Washington Redskins
If the Bills do what they should do and sweep the Dolphins, the Dolphins having a better record for the strength of victory tie-breaker could be crucial.

Indianapolis Colts over Jacksonville Jaguars
It may seem like this game doesn't matter, but the Jets play the Jaguars and not the Colts. A loss by Jacksonville would keep New York's strength of victory low, which would hurt them if it came down to that. Short term, the Bills would be ranked higher if the Jags win because of that Jets tie-breaker. In the long term, though, the Jets having a smaller strength of victory is better for the Bills.

Games That Likely Won't Matter
St. Louis Rams vs. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are two games behind Buffalo and out of the playoff hunt for now. They are probably not going to matter a whole lot in the long run, because they play the entire AFC North twice and the entire AFC South, which will likely only send one team to the post-season. In the AFC East, they play the Dolphins, who aren't in the playoff race. If you really want to root, always root for the AFC team to lose.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

These NFC intra-divisional matchups likely won't affect the outcome of the AFC playoff picture, since any AFC team they face will face both of them anyways. That may change later in the year, as strength of victory becomes more important.

Playoff Picture
If the games above all go according to Buffalo's interest, the Bills could be as high as the second seed in the AFC by Monday morning. Here's what it would look like.

1 seed - Pittsburgh (7-3)
2 seed - Buffalo (6-3)
3 seed - Houston (6-4)
4 seed - Oakland (5-4)
5 seed  - New England (6-3: lose head-to-head tiebreaker to BUF)
6 seed - Baltimore (6-3: lose AFC tiebreaker to NE, 5-2 to 4-2)
7 (OUT) - Cincinnati (6-3: lose AFCN tiebreaker to BAL, 2-0 to 1-1)
8 (OUT) - New York (5-4)

Rest of AFC teams: San Diego (4-5), Tennessee (4-5), Kansas City (4-5), Denver (4-5), Cleveland (3-6), Jacksonville (2-7), Miami (2-7), Indianapolis (1-9)

If everything above goes against the Bills this week, here's where they will be on Monday morning:

1 seed - Cincinnati (7-2)
2 seed - Houston (7-3)
3 seed  - New York (6-3)
4 seed - San Diego (5-4)
5 seed - Baltimore (7-2: lose record vs. common opponents tiebreaker to CIN, 4-0 to 3-2)
6 seed - Pittsburgh (6-4)
7 (OUT) -
Buffalo (5-4)
8 (OUT) - New England (5-4: lose head-to-head tiebreaker to BUF)
9 (OUT) - Kansas City (5-4: lose record vs. common opponent to SD; 4-0 to 3-1; lose AFC tiebreaker to BUF, 3-2 to 4-3; lose record vs. common opponents tiebreaker to NE, 3-1 to 2-3)
10 (OUT) - Tennessee (5-4: lose AFC record tiebreaker to KC, 4-3 to 4-4)

Rest of AFC teams: Oakland (4-5), Cleveland (4-5), Denver (3-6), Jacksonville (3-6), Miami (1-8), Indianapolis (0-10)

This scenario isn't the worst case, though. If the Patriots manage to defeat the Jets but Buffalo also loses, here is what it could look like depending on several factors in the Jets vs. Titans strength of victory race including the IND vs. JAC and :

1 seed - Cincinnati (7-2)
2 seed - Houston (7-3)
3 seed  - New England(6-3)
4 seed - San Diego (5-4)
5 seed - Baltimore (7-2: lose record vs. common opponents tiebreaker to CIN, 4-0 to 3-2)
6 seed - Pittsburgh (6-4)
7 (OUT) - Kansas City (5-4: lose record vs. common opponent to SD; 4-0 to 3-1)
8 (OUT) - Tennessee (5-4: lose AFC record tiebreaker to KC, 4-3 to 4-4) 
9 (OUT) - New York (5-4: lose AFC tiebreaker to KC, 4-3 to 4-4; lose strength of victory tiebreaker to TEN)
10 (OUT) - Buffalo (5-4: lose head-to-headtiebreaker to NY)

Rest of AFC teams: Oakland (4-5), Cleveland (4-5), Denver (3-6), Jacksonville (3-6), Miami (1-8), Indianapolis (0-10)

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