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AFC playoff picture, Week 14: Buffalo Bills on the fringe

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The Bills were up 15 points but let their playoff hopes slip away Sunday.

The Oakland Raiders scored 29 consecutive points on the Buffalo Bills Sunday and it didn’t just set up the Raiders for the first seed in the AFC, it dealt a near-knockout blow to Buffalo’s playoff hopes. Here’s how the conference rankings shake out today.

AFC Standings

1. Oakland Raiders (10-2, 7-1 AFC)
2. New England Patriots (10-2, 7-1 AFC)
3. Baltimore Ravens (7-5, head-to-head win over PIT)
4. Houston Texans (6-6, head-to-head win over TEN)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)
6. Denver Broncos (8-4)
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7. Miami Dolphins (7-5, head-to-head win over PIT)
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5, head-to-head loss to BAL & MIA)
9. Tennessee Titans (6-6, head-to-head loss to HOU, 2-2 common opponent w/ BUF)
10. Buffalo Bills (6-6, 1-3 common opponent w/ JAX)
11. Indianapolis Colts (5-6)
12. San Diego Chargers (5-7)
13. Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1)
14. New York Jets (3-8)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10*)
16. Cleveland Browns (0-11*)

* Eliminated from the playoff race.
(Here are the tiebreaker procedures if you’d like: http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakingprocedures)

What is means

The Jacksonville Jaguars join the Cleveland Browns as the only teams eliminated from the AFC playoff race, though the Jets could be eliminated with a loss on Monday Night Football.

While Buffalo is still “In The Hunt”, they have a steep hill to climb. They’ll need to go 4-0 down the stretch against an albeit winnable slate of games. They need two losses from the Denver Broncos against a difficult schedule. They need one loss from Miami in their three games that aren’t against Buffalo. They need a Pittsburgh loss. They might need Tennessee to lose another game, too. That’s a pretty heavy lift.

We’ve gone from the “it would be nice” portion of the season to the “Buffalo has been all but mathematically eliminated” stretch of the schedule.