The Buffalo Bills may have won on Sunday, but it didn’t change their place in the AFC very much. Sure, they moved ahead of the Indianapolis Colts, and they moved within one game of the sixth spot in the standings after the Sunday night game, but there are a lot of teams in their way.
1. New England Patriots (9-2, 7-1 AFC)
2. Oakland Raiders (9-2, 6-1 AFC)
3. Baltimore Ravens (6-5, head-to-head win over PIT, 6-2 AFC)
4. Houston Texans (6-5, 4-4 AFC)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-3)
6. Miami Dolphins (7-4, 5-3 AFC)
7. Denver Broncos (7-4, 4-3 AFC)
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5, head-to-head loss to BAL, 5-3 AFC)
9. Buffalo Bills (6-5, 3-4 AFC)
10. Tennessee Titans (6-6)
11. Indianapolis Colts (5-6, head to head win over SD)
12. San Diego Chargers (5-6, head to head loss to IND)
13. Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)
14. New York Jets (3-8)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
16. Cleveland Browns (0-11*)
* Cleveland has officially been eliminated from the playoff race. (Here are the tiebreaker procedures if you’d like: http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakingprocedures)
What it means
The good news is that Buffalo plays two teams standing directly in their way; Pittsburgh and Miami. They play the Steelers in two weeks and the Dolphins in Week 16. Miami has a better divisional record than the Bills, but has three game remaining in the division including a Week 17 game against the Patriots who look like they’ll have something to play for to the end. The Broncos have a very difficult schedule to manage down the stretch, as well, and should lose a game or two.
The bad news is that Buffalo will likely need to win out and get some help on the out of town scoreboard. They’ll likely need to concede the 5th spot to the AFC West runner-up. Four teams, one spot; Buffalo, Miami, Pittsburgh, Denver.