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Who should Buffalo Bills fans root for this week?

The Bills playoff hopes rest on several NFC teams this week

The Buffalo Bills need a lot of help to make the AFC postseason for the first time since since Bill Clinton was president. Of course it will start with a win against the Indianapolis Colts this week, but there are several other games with almost as much importance.

Buffalo Bills (6-6) over Indianapolis Colts (3-9)
Sunday, December 10th, 1 p.m. Eastern

Even with rookie Nathan Peterman under center, the Bills can’t lose to the Colts. They are down their starting quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback, and more so injuries can’t be an excuse. “Beat the teams you’re supposed to beat” and “defend our dirt” matter, and are even more important today.

Arizona Cardinals over Tennessee Titans (8-4)
Sunday, December 10th, 4:05 p.m. Eastern

It’s actually easier for the Titans to fall apart and fall out of a playoff spot than it is for Baltimore. The Cardinals beat the Jaguars a couple weeks ago and can do the same against their AFC South competitor today and really help the rest of the AFC.

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2) over Baltimore Ravens (7-5)
Sunday, December 10th, 8:30 p.m. Eastern

According to the New York Times playoff simulator, this is the right way to root for this game. They want the Ravens to have as many losses as possible so Buffalo can pass them but that counts on Baltimore losing more games against a really easy schedule. Some fans might root for the Baltimore here so New England can clinch the number one seed over the Steelers prior to the Patriots Week 16 game against Buffalo.

Washington Redskins over Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)
Sunday, December 10th, 4:05 p.m. Eastern

The Chargers have come out of nowhere to take the lead over Buffalo in the playoff picture. A win by the Redskins in L.A. would be huge for the Bills and the rest of the AFC.

Seattle Seahawks over Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)
Sunday, December 10th, 4:25 p.m. Eastern

It would be nice if one of the top two AFC South teams falls apart. It would be better if both did. While this game is on the East Coast, at least it’s a late start time for the 8-4 Seahawks.

Chicago Bears over Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)
Sunday, December 10th, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Another nagging team in the playoff hunt with a win over Buffalo, the Bengals need some a loss and the best time would be against this NFC opponent. Chicago can end the Bengals’ 2017 run, and possibly Marvin Lewis’ run as coach, with a win today.

Miami Dolphins (5-7) over New England Patriots (10-2)
Monday, December 11th, 8:30 p.m. Eastern

The New York Times simulator says to root for the Patriots, but that doesn’t make any sense. Buffalo has two games against the Dolphins remaining so they pose no threat to the Bills playoff chances already having seven losses. If New England wins this week they clinch the AFC East, so why you would root for them makes no sense to me.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-6) over Oakland Raiders (6-6)
Sunday, December 10th, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

The simulator makes a clear case for the Chiefs in this matchup though I’m not really sure why. Buffalo has wins over both teams and they are both at .500 in AFC record with Buffalo. A tie would be the best outcome...

New York Jets (5-7) over Denver Broncos (3-9)
Sunday, December 10th, 4:05 p.m. Eastern

With both teams on their last leg of the playoff race, this game isn’t very important. We went with the Jets because it will help Buffalo’s strength of schedule tiebreaker.

New York Jets over Denver Broncos
Carolina Panthers over Minnesota Vikings
San Francisco 49ers over Houston Texans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers over Cleveland Browns
Philadelphia Eagles over Los Angeles Rams

These are strength of victory and strength of schedule interests. Pretty far down the list but the rooting interest is clear. Since the Bills have one win each against the Jets and Broncos, New York gets the nod for strength of schedule. Buffalo beat Tampa, but lost to Carolina. The AFC South Texans face both the Jaguars and Titans twice and also the Rams. Cleveland losing will hurt Baltimore. For the record, we got what we wanted on Thursday night when the Falcons beat the Saints for the strength of victory tiebreaker.

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

With the three-way tie in the AFC South right now, it’s unclear which of these teams to root for in a strength of victory or strength of schedule scenario but because Buffalo played the AFC West, it’s way more likely the head-to-head tiebreaker will come into play anyway.

If everything goes Buffalo’s way, they will still be alive in the AFC East race by a thread and tied for sixth place in the AFC with the Ravens at 7-5. The Bills and Baltimore would also be tied in AFC record at 5-4, but Buffalo would lose out on the record vs. common opponents tiebreaker. The Bills have wins over the Raiders and Colts (in this scenario) while the Ravens beat the Bengals, Dolphins, and Raiders. Buffalo has two games against the Dolphins to bring up that record while the Ravens face Indianapolis and Cincinnati over the final two weeks of the season. The loss to the Bengals looms large.

It’s the definition of “In the hunt.”