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AFC playoff picture: Week 12 Buffalo Bills rooting interests

The Bills love the NFC.

The Buffalo Bills won an AFC road game last weekend! They also received some help on the out-of-town scoreboard, but it didn’t dramatically improve their standings. That can all change this weekend with some help around the league.

AFC Standings

1. Oakland Raiders (8-2)
2. New England Patriots (8-2)
3. Houston Texans (6-4)
4. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, 2-0 in AFC West)
6. Denver Broncos (7-3, 1-2 in AFC West)
7. Miami Dolphins (6-4)
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5, 4-3 in AFC)
9. Indianapolis Colts (5-5, 3-4 in AFC)
10. Buffalo Bills (5-5, 2-4 in AFC)
11. Tennessee Titans (5-6)
12. San Diego Chargers (4-6)
13. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1)
14. New York Jets (3-7)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8)
16. Cleveland Browns (0-10)

(Here are the tiebreaker procedures if you’d like:

Who to root for

Pittsburgh (5-5) over Indianapolis (5-5)

Thursday, November 24, 8:30 p.m. ET

With Pittsburgh on Buffalo’s schedule in a few weeks, the Bills control their own destiny against the Steelers so it’s okay if they win on Turkey Day. With Pittsburgh’s four-game losing streak being snapped by the Browns, it’s still unclear how good they really are.

Buffalo (5-5) over Jacksonville (2-8)

Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

Duh. The Bills will probably need to win out to secure a playoff spot. It continues this week with a home game against an inferior opponent.

San Francisco over Miami (6-4)

Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m.

The Dolphins need a few more losses on their record. While Buffalo can beat them in Week 16, it’s still better if Miami loses a lot more games and crashes and burns down the stretch. Having it start against an NFC team would be even better than, say, the 5-5 Ravens who they play a week from now.

Cincinnati (3-6-1) over Baltimore (5-5)

Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

Buffalo could really benefit from the Ravens being knocked down a peg or two. If Baltimore doesn’t end up with the best record in the AFC North, their win over the Bills could factor into tiebreakers in a heads-up tie.

San Diego (4-6) over Houston (6-4)

Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

This one is pretty insignificant. If Houston loses they could still be leading their division. If we had any faith they could run away with the AFC South, we might consider having them silence the Chargers for good. We don’t.

Chicago over Tennessee (5-6)

Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

Another loss would effectively end Tennessee’s season.

New York Jets (3-7) over New England (8-2)

Sunday, November 27, 4:25 p.m.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Bills could win the division?

Carolina over Oakland (8-2)

Sunday, November 27, 4:25 p.m.

The AFC West needs some losses and the NFC South could have helped a lot over the past few weeks. It would be nice if Carolina could come through this week before the teams out West start cannibalizing each other.

Denver (7-3) over Kansas City (7-3)

Sunday, November 27, 8:30 p.m. ET

The toughest match to pick on the board. They have identical records. Buffalo won’t play either one. Which one we root for might come down to their remaining schedules. KC has Atlanta, Oakland, and Denver (again) among their final five games. Denver has New England, Kansas City (again), and Oakland. We think the Broncos’ path will be more difficult with the Patriots standing in their way, so we will root for Denver this week. Really, it’s a toss-up.

Games that matter just a little to Buffalo

Arizona over Atlanta

Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

Arizona finishing with a better record helps the Bills in strength of victory, a tiebreaker that’s down the list.

Los Angeles over New Orleans

Sunday, November 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

Same concept as Arizona over Atlanta.

Seattle over Tampa Bay

Sunday, November 27, 4:05 p.m. ET

Same concept, but strength of schedule tiebreaker not strength of victory.

Games that don’t really matter to Buffalo

Minnesota vs. Detroit - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Washington vs. Dallas - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
New York Giants vs. Cleveland
Green Bay vs. Philadelphia - Monday Night Football

What it means

If Buffalo wins, they’ll move up to ninth, but won’t be able to move any higher than that thanks to tiebreaker losses to the winner of the Colts/Steelers game and the Dolphins. It would set up Buffalo to potentially make a major move should they beat the Raiders the following week.

If Buffalo loses, their season will be effectively over. Even if they run the table after that, at 10-6 and with their AFC record, they wouldn’t be able to overtake the AFC West teams.