I'll tell you what: say what you want about the pros and cons of Thursday Night Football, but when your favorite team wins that game and goes into a weekend with even a flicker of playoff hope, it sure makes Sunday interesting.
As Buffalo Bills fans, we're already celebrating a Week 11 win, which came on Thursday night 19-14 over the Miami Dolphins. That means that we have the relaxing luxury of watching up to a dozen different pro football games today knowing full well that the Bills have already taken care of business. Then again, if you're not in the habit of relaxing, you may want to stress out about several key matchups that will impact Buffalo's playoff chances.
This will serve as your open thread for a leisurely Sunday here at Buffalo Rumblings - but if you're keen on making sure that everything goes perfectly for the Bills this weekend, your rooting guide is below.
- 1:00 - Rams (3-5-1) over Jets (3-6). This one's pretty straightforward: the Jets have a win against Buffalo, and that tie-breaker will matter so long as they're tied with or ahead of the Bills in the standings. Ergo, they need to be behind the Bills in the standings for the time being.
- 1:00 - Chiefs (1-8) over Bengals (4-5). Cincinnati has a fairly easy schedule from this point forward, and they're a game up on Buffalo in the standings. At some point, they're going to have to lose a game they should win if Buffalo is going to catch up. Go Chiefs.
- 1:00 - Texans (8-1) over Jaguars (1-8). This game is the least important of the list, but with a game in hand on Buffalo, we don't want Indy catching the Texans and putting Houston into the wild card mix. It's best for Buffalo if Houston maintains a comfortable lead in the AFC South.
- 4:25 - Patriots (6-3) over Colts (6-3). We know, it's gross, but root for New England. Buffalo isn't going to catch the Pats in the East with two games out of hand, and the Colts currently lead the wild card. Buffalo plays the Colts next Sunday on the road; in an ideal world, the Bills will exit that game at 5-6, with the Colts at 6-5 and having lost to the Bills.
- 4:25 - Broncos (6-3) over Chargers (4-5). Denver already controls the West; that needs to continue, specifically so that both of these teams are out of the wild card conversation.
- 4:05 - Saints (4-5) over Raiders (3-6). This goes beyond NFC over AFC: the Raiders do enough well offensively to be of legitimate concern to AFC teams in the wild card race. Go get 'em, Drew Brees.
- 8:30 - Ravens (7-2) over Steelers (6-3). It'll hurt Buffalo if both of these teams come out of Sunday Night Football sitting at 7-3. It doesn't hurt Buffalo if the Ravens run away with the North, and it certainly doesn't hurt if the Steelers slide back toward them in the wild card picture.
If all of this goes according to plan, the Bills will sit at No. 9 overall in the conference standings heading into Week 12, leapfrogging only Cincinnati (who would be 2-6 in conference, as opposed to Buffalo's 3-5) as the standings sit today.