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Buffalo Bills Playoff Picture: Week 11 Rooting Interests

DENVER - OCTOBER 17:  Wide receiver Santonio Holmes #10 the New York Jets is tackled by cornerback Perrish Cox #32 of the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 17 2010 in Denver Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER - OCTOBER 17: Wide receiver Santonio Holmes #10 the New York Jets is tackled by cornerback Perrish Cox #32 of the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 17 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

First thing's first; Buffalo needs to win this divisional match-up or there is no reason to think they will make the playoffs. With that in mind, they could really get back into this thing with a win and a little help. In the highly unlikely event that the Bills right the ship in the coming weeks, they still control their own destiny in the divisional race.

Buffalo Bills over Miami Dolphins
We haven't been including the Bills games since we know who you are rooting for there. Still, this is such a key game for Buffalo's playoff goals that it needs to be mentioned.

Denver Broncos over New York Jets
The Thursday night game this week is an interesting match-up. What happens when the Jets strong secondary goes up against the Broncos rushing attack? The preparation for the Jets D couldn't be more different on a short week going from Tom Brady to Tim Tebow and they'll be traveling two-thirds of the way across the country. The Jets have a long week after this game to prepare to host Buffalo so if they had to dwell on a loss for a few extra days it would be helpful.

Kansas City Chiefs over New England Patriots
Another nationally televised game could mean the difference between Buffalo retaking their divisional lead or falling further behind in the AFC East. Everyone should root for the Chiefs hard on Monday night.

Cincinnati Bengals over Baltimore Ravens
This game isn't good for Buffalo win or lose because one of these teams is going to be a game up on Buffalo at 7-3. That Bengals victory over the Bills is troubling in the tiebreaking scenarios and would give them in essence a two-game lead over Buffalo should they win. That's why I was initially rooting for them to lose this week. After looking at the two teams' remaining schedules, it's pretty apparent that I had to switch my thinking. After this week, Baltimore faces only two teams with winning records the rest of the way. They'll play San Fransisco on Thanksgiving and Cincy again in the season finale. Cincinnati still has to play Houston, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. The AFC North is going to place at least one team as a Wild Card and despite the Bengals taking what is essentially a two-game lead over Buffalo with a win this, they would still have the tougher road to the playoffs than Baltimore. The simple truth is this: if Buffalo wins the AFC East, the AFC north team that gets the wild card spot won't matter.

Oakland Raiders over Minnesota Vikings
Someone has to win the AFC West and it might as well be the Raiders, who Buffalo holds a tiebreaker over. That's the reason I am throwing the normal NFC over AFC rule out the window. This will help Buffalo's strength of victory and as long as Buffalo takes care of business, they will still hold the edge on Oakland. With the being said, it wouldn't be a bad thing if Oakland lost this game.

Washington Redskins over Dallas Cowboys
Buffalo beat Washington but lost to Dallas. If Washington wins, it ups Buffalo's strength of victory tiebreaker which comes before strength of schedule.

Philadelphia Eagles over New York Giants
Buffalo beat Philadelphia bust lost to New York. If Philadelphia wins, it ups Buffalo's strength of victory tiebreaker which comes before strength of schedule.

Atlanta Falcons over Tennessee Titans
The Titans are tied with the Bills at 5-4. Removing them from the picture without strengthening another AFC team would be very helpful to Buffalo. It's not critical though, as Buffalo and Tennessee square off later this season and the Bills can knock the Titans off then.

Chicago Bears over San Diego Chargers
The surging Beards knocking off the Chargers would again help Buffalo, though like the Titans the Bills will face the Chargers later this year.

San Fransisco 49ers over Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have lost to both Pittsburgh and Baltimore already and have yet to play Cincinnati. If Arizona keeps losing, the strength of victory tiebreakers goes down for those teams. Despite a five-game lead in the AFC West, San Fransisco will still have something to play for through their Week 15 game against the Steelers as they are still one game behind the Packers for home-field advantage through the playoffs and only two up on the Saints for a first-round bye.

St. Louis Rams over Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has already lost to each of the three AFC North teams in the hunt for a playoff spot while St. Louis has only played Baltimore. While the Rams will likely lose to both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati when those teams play, there's still hope the Rams can pull off one of those upsets. Therefore, root for the Rams under the heading of strength of victory tiebreakers.

Green Bay Packers over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs play the Titans while the Packers face the AFC West. Buffalo should be more concerned about Tennessee than any AFC West team so root for a Tampa loss to keep their record low in strength of victory or schedule tiebreakers.

Detroit Lions over Carolina Panthers
For the same reason we are rooting for Tampa to lose, we are rooting for the Panthers to lose. Carolina lost to Tennessee last week. If they keep losing, it keeps hurting the Titans' strength of victory.

Jacksonville Jaguars over Cleveland Browns
While neither the Jaguars nor the Browns will be in the playoff conversation, they could still help decide the victor. The Jaguars lost to NYJ, CIN, and PIT already and still face TEN. Cleveland has lost to CIN and TEN already but still has five AFC North games remaining. If we assume they lost more of those than they win, we want their record to be lower for the strength of victory tiebreaker in the event Buffalo and Baltimore end up tied or the Jaguars can topple Titans for a second time this season.

Byes: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers

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

1 seed - Houston (7-3)
2 seed - Pittsburgh (7-3: lose AFC tiebreaker to HOU, 6-2 to 5-3)
3 seed - Buffalo (6-4)
4 seed - Oakland (6-4: lose head-to-head tiebreaker to BUF)
5 seed - Cincinnati (7-3: lose head-to-head tiebreaker to PIT)
6 seed - New England (6-4)
7 (OUT) - Baltimore (6-4: lose AFC tiebreaker to NE, 5-3 to 4-3)
8 (OUT) - Denver (5-5)
9/10 (OUT) - Tennessee/Kansas City (5-5: lose AFC tiebreaker to DEN, 5-3 to 4-4; comes to strength of victory)
11 (OUT) - New York (5-5: lose AFC tiebreaker to DEN, 5-3 to 4-5; lose AFC record tiebreaker to TEN/KC, 4-4 to 4-5)
Other AFC Teams: San Diego (4-6), Jacksonville (4-6), Cleveland (3-7), Miami (2-8), Indianapolis (0-10)

If everything above goes against Buffalo, isn't pretty with another divisional loss for the Bills. They would have to sweep the rest of their AFC East games after that to keep even with the Jets and Patriots two divisional losses. They would also need some help. Here's what it would like like:

1/2 seed - Houston/New England (7-3: comes to strength of victory tiebreaker)
3 seed - Baltimore (7-3: lose AFC tiebreaker to HOU/NE, 6-2 to 5-2)
4 seed - Oakland (5-5)
5 seed - Pittsburgh (7-3: lose head-to-head tiebreaker vs. BAL)
6 seed - Cincinnati (6-4)
7 (OUT) - New York (6-4: lose AFC tiebreaker to CIN, 5-3 to 5-4)
8 (OUT) - Tennessee (6-4: lose AFC tiebreaker to NYJ, 5-4 to 4-4)
9 (OUT) - Buffalo (5-5)
10 (OUT) - San Diego (5-5: lose head-to-head tiebreaker to OAK; lose AFC tiebreaker to BUF, 3-3 to 3-4)
Other AFC Teams: Denver (4-6), Kansas City (4-6), Cleveland (4-6), Jacksonville (3-7), Miami (3-7), Indianapolis (0-10)

This worst-care puts Buffalo two games out of the AFC East lead and two games out of a playoff spot with only six to play.