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Buffalo Bills rooting interests, Week 8

Bills fans have a lot to root for today.

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

If the Buffalo Bills are going to make the postseason for the first time since the 1999 season, they are going to need a little help from around the NFL. They currently sit in playoff position but with a little help this week, Buffalo could jump all the way up to the number one seed in the conference.

The first domino to fall this week was Thursday night, when the Baltimore Ravens blew out the Miami Dolphins, 40-0. The Ravens now sit at 4-4 while the Dolphins are 4-3. Keeping the AFC clumped together around .500 only helps Buffalo at this point in the year.

A win from Buffalo this week serves two purposes. Most importantly, it moves Buffalo to 5-2. Teams that are 5-2 made the playoffs 75% of the time from 1990 to 2013 while teams that were 4-3 made the playoffs only 50% of the time. Secondly, it knocks down the Raiders, a team many expected to compete at the top of the Conference. With them at 3-5 and a bear of a schedule, they would be all but out of it.

Here are the other games of note for the Bills’ playoff chances in order of importance:

Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) over New England Patriots (5-2)
Sunday, October 29th, 1:00 p.m.

Buffalo can take the outright lead in the AFC East with a win and a Patriots loss, but a West Coast team traveling east for an early start is usually not a great shot. That being said, the Patriots have been vulnerable at home this year.

Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) over Denver Broncos (3-3)
Monday, October 30th, 8:30 p.m.

If you’re rooting for a playoff berth, this is the right call for Buffalo. If you think Buffalo needs to worry about things like home field advantage in the playoffs or something along those lines, root for the Broncos. We are taking one step at a time and eliminating a potential threat in the AFC and the New York Times playoff simulator agrees.

Atlanta Falcons over New York Jets (3-4)
Sunday, October 29th, 1:00 p.m.

Not that you would root for the Jets, but an NFC team knocking down a potential contender in the AFC Wild Card race is pretty good.

Seattle Seahawks over Houston Texans (3-3)
Sunday, October 29th, 4:05 p.m.

The Bills could be in fight for the Wild Card spot so knocking down the Texans would be a big help.

Indianapolis Colts (2-5) over Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
Sunday, October 29th, 1:00 p.m.

The Bengals’ win over Buffalo is a tiebreaker down the line but if Cincy is out of the race, that won’t matter.

Detroit Lions over Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
Sunday, October 29th, 8:30 p.m.

It’s always an easy call to root for the NFC team over an AFC playoff-bound team. It’s not likely Buffalo will be fighting Pittsburgh for a playoff spot, so it’s further down the list.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Carolina Panthers
Sunday, October 29th, 1:00 p.m.

While a playoff spot is unlikely to come down to the Strength of Victory tiebreaker, this one is pretty clear cut because of that.

Right now, the New York Times playoff simulator gives the Bills a 53-percent chance of making the playoffs. If all these swing Buffalo’s way, it moves up into the low 60s by Tuesday morning.

(Of course, the simulator also says to root for the Patriots to get a higher percentage of playoff possibilities so... nope.)