The recent three-game slide by the Buffalo Bills (5-5), featuring blowout losses to the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, and Los Angeles Chargers, has put a severe damper on Buffalo’s chances at snapping the team’s 17-year playoff drought.
But despite being outscored 135-55 during its three-game losing streak, the most points allowed by a Buffalo team over a three-game stretch in franchise history, the Bills still have a halfway-decent chance to make the postseason tournament.
Their chances are diminishing by the loss, but in the watered-down AFC, where only five teams have records above .500, anything is possible. Buffalo is currently tied for the final Wild Card spot, but if the season ended today, the Baltimore Ravens would edge the Bills for the last AFC playoff spot based on their record against conference teams, which is the second tiebreaker.
Buffalo is 3-3 vs. the conference this year, while the Ravens are 4-3, meaning the Bills sit in seventh place in the conference.
The good news? The Bills can control their conference record, as all six remaining games are against AFC foes. Buffalo travels to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Bills also have two games remaining against both the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, and one game remaining vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
The Chiefs and Patriots represent Buffalo’s opponents who currently hold down playoff spots.
So what do the Bills’ odds look like to make the playoffs?
According to the New York Times playoff simulator, the Bills have a 25 percent chance at qualifying for the postseason. A win over Kansas City improves Buffalo’s playoff chances to 43 percent, while a loss drops them to 16 percent.
ESPN’s Football Power Index, which three weeks ago gave the Bills a 61.1 percent chance at making the playoffs, dropped Buffalo’s odds to nine percent, with a projected win-loss record of 7-9 heading into Sunday’s game at Kansas City.
Among other sports prognosticators, FiveThirtyEight gives Buffalo a 17 percent chance, and the betting site Betlab Sports puts the Bills’ playoff chances at 16 percent.
For now, the only thing that matters is following that old sports cliché: win one game at a time.