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AFC playoff picture: Week 9 Buffalo Bills rooting interests

The Bills don’t play on Sunday, so here is who you should root for.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills enter Week 9 in eighth place in the AFC. If they are going to claw their way back into the race, they are likely going to need some help (unless you think they can rattle off 8 straight wins).

Since the Bills play on Monday Night Football, who should fans root for this Sunday? We have the full rundown for you below.

(For a refresher on tiebreakers, head to NFL.com - but we'll also do our best to explain them here, too. We won't go all the way down to the fifth and sixth tiebreakers and just call it a tie, at least for now.)

Standings

1. New England Patriots (7-1)

2. Oakland Raiders (6-2*)

3. Houston Texans (5-3)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

5. Denver Broncos (6-2*)

6. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

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7. Tennessee Titans (4-4, 3-3 AFC)

8. Buffalo Bills (4-4, 1-4 in AFC)

9. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1)

10. Baltimore Ravens (3-4, 3-2 AFC)

11. Miami Dolphins (3-4, 3-3 AFC)

12. New York Jets (3-5, 3-3 AFC)

13. Indianapolis Colts (3-5, 2-4 AFC, beat SD)

14. San Diego Chargers (3-5, 2-4 AFC, lost to IND)

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)

16. Cleveland Browns (0-8)

Who to root for

Jacksonville (2-5) over Kansas City (5-2)

Sunday, November 6, 1:00 p.m. ET

It’s a tall task of Jacksonville to head out the Midwest and knock off the Chiefs, but the AFC West is very strong right now and they need to start stacking losses. Maybe Nate Hackett will be good for something.

San Diego (3-5) over Tennessee (4-4)

Sunday, November 6, 4:25 p.m. ET

Even these two records below Buffalo’s would be good, especially with San Diego’s remaining schedule in the AFC West. Tennessee can already get fat on fellow AFC South squads.

Baltimore (3-4) over Pittsburgh (4-3)

Sunday, November 6, 1:00 p.m. ET

Which one of these teams is for real? If you can answer that question, root for the other one. With the Ravens are on a four-game skid, it would be best if the Steelers lost some more games with Ben Roethlisberger returning.

New York Jets (3-5) over Miami (3-4)

Sunday, November 6, 1:00 p.m. ET

Both teams have wins over Buffalo on their resume. Root for the team that currently has the worse record.

Green Bay over Indianapolis (3-5)

Sunday, November 6, 4:25 p.m.

We can’t have another AFC team sneaking into the mix when they are playing an NFC opponent.

Denver (6-2) over Oakland (6-2)

Sunday, November 6, 8:30

I’m not exactly sure why Sports Club Stats thinks a Denver win will help Buffalo more than a Raiders victory, but the result is there. Theoretically, if Oakland loses here and the Bills beat the Raiders on December 4th, Buffalo would move past them in the Wild Card race all things being equal. Hopefully that game a month from now will have some big AFC playoff ramifications.

Games that don’t much matter:

Los Angeles over Carolina

San Fransisco over New Orleans

The Bills beat the Rams and 49ers. While it’s unlikely to come down to strength of victory, there is still a clear rooting interest even if it’s negligible.

Dallas at Cleveland

If you really need someone to root for, go Cleveland to increase Buffalo’s strength of schedule.

Detroit at Minnesota

Philadelphia at New York Giants

These NFC games won’t mean very much to Buffalo until the end of the season if strength of victory matters for one of the other AFC teams. You can ignore these for Bills purposes now. (The Thursday Night Football game between the Falcons and Bucs also fit this bill.)