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Buffalo Bills playoff elimination scenarios, Week 15

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What would it take for the Bills to be mathematically eliminated in Week 15?

The Buffalo Bills haven’t been eliminated from the playoff race, but their loss last week did mean their nearly-impossible odds of winning the AFC East vanished. With just three games left, they need lots of help this week if they have any shot at making the postseason.

If the Bills win

Even with a win on Sunday, Buffalo’s path to the playoff will be a very long shot. If the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets, Miami and Denver both get to nine wins. That is the most Buffalo could achieve, as well. It would also get both teams to a place where they beat Buffalo in tiebreakers. FiveThirtyEight, the ESPN Playoff Machine, and the NY Times Playoff Simulator give Buffalo no shot if all three teams win this week. A Denver win alone would be enough to get the past the Bills because of the common opponent record.

If Buffalo loses

If Buffalo loses on Sunday, the best record they can achieve is 8-8. In order for the Bills to be eliminated, either the 8-5 Broncos or 8-5 Dolphins would have to win in addition to Buffalo’s loss, pushing one of them out of reach at nine wins. Another scenario is if the Bills lose and the Tennessee Titans defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, because an 8-8 Buffalo team wouldn’t be able to pass an 8-8 Tennessee team. (This also needs to take into account that the Titans can still win the AFC South, and gets a little convoluted.) Same is true if the 7-6 Ravens win and Buffalo loses.

There is a way Buffalo can still make the playoff even with a loss to the Browns on Sunday. They would need to win their final two games to get to 8-8 while needing multiple losses from the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, in addition to the Titans, Broncos, and Dolphins.

Buffalo is eliminated if...

  • Denver win
  • Buffalo loss AND Baltimore, Miami or Tennessee+Houston win