Buffalo Bills Playoff Picture: Week 13 Rooting Interests

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 13: Nate Clements #22 of the Cincinnati Bengals dives to stop Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during play at Paul Brown Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The 5-6 Buffalo Bills are down, but not completely out of, the AFC playoff picture. They play several of the teams ahead of them over the coming weeks, beginning with this Sunday's home tilt against the Tennessee Titans. If they have any shot at the playoffs, they need to pick up a victory in this game. Here are the other games for you to root for in the hopes that the Bills can run the table.

Indianapolis Colts over New England Patriots
The Patriots opened as 21-point favorites in this game. No team has ever opened as a 20-point favorite and lost. The Colts are going with Dan Orlovsky at quarterback, and are averaging less than two touchdowns per game on offense. So what? I don't care about any of that. They're due, right?

Pittsburgh Steelers over Cincinnati Bengals
It's highly unlikely the Bills are going to catch the 8-3 Steelers in the Wild Card race. We'll concede one Wild Card spot to the AFC North in the form of Pittsburgh or Baltimore, but the 7-4 Bengals need to lose three times in order for Buffalo to catch up thanks to their Week 4 win. This would be a good start. Cincy does play Houston and Baltimore, too, so they could very realistically end up at 9-7, which would give the Bills a chance.

Washington Redskins over New York Jets
The Jets own a sweep over the Bills, which is the first tie-breaker. The Jets have some tougher games remaining on their schedule - and will need to lose twice to give Buffalo a shot - but the Redskins played Dallas tough a couple weeks ago. If they can put together another complete game and ground the Jets, the Bills will stay alive for another week.

Cleveland Browns over Baltimore Ravens

Atlanta Falcons over Houston Texans
I don't think the Bills can catch either of these teams 8-3 with five games left. The Texans may fall apart using their third starting quarterback of the year, but even if they do, they still might win the AFC South over the Titans. The Ravens have control of the AFC North thanks to their season sweep of the Steelers. It won't matter unless Buffalo wins the AFC East.

Minnesota Vikings over Denver Broncos
Since the Bills will play the Broncos eventually, this game isn't super important. With that being said, any loss by a team ahead of the Bills is good for business.

Playoff Picture
If everything goes wrong for the Bills, they will be four games out of a playoff spot with four to play - and all but eliminated. They would need some kind of epic collapse by a team based in New England. As Red Sox fans can attest, it could happen, but we're not banking on it. So let's just focus on what would it look like if everything went the Bills' way this weekend.

No. 1 - Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
No. 2 - Houston Texans (8-4)
No. 3 - New England Patriots (8-4, lose AFC record tie-breaker to HOU)
No. 4 - Oakland Raiders (7-5)
No. 5 - Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
No. 6 - Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

No. 7 (OUT) - Denver Broncos (6-6)
No. 8 (OUT) - New York Jets (6-6, lose AFC tie-breaker to DEN)
No. 9 (OUT) - Buffalo Bills (6-6, lose head-to-head tie-breaker to NYJ)
No. 10 (OUT) - Tennessee Titans (6-6, lose AFC record tie-breaker to DEN/NYJ, lose head-to-head tiebreaker to BUF)

Also-rans: Kansas City Chiefs (5-7), San Diego Chargers (5-7), Cleveland Browns (5-7), Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9), Miami Dolphins (4-8), Indianapolis Colts (1-11)

Even with some luck this week, Buffalo will be two games back with four to play. Football Outsiders had the Bills as a 0.9% chance of making the playoffs this week. It's not a 100-to-1 shot, and I wouldn't bet those odds.

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