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AFC playoff picture: Baltimore Ravens win to take control of Wild Card

The Ravens and Colts game today is just as important as Buffalo’s game Sunday.

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

The Buffalo Bills would have benefited greatly from a Baltimore Ravens loss on Saturday night, and while the Indianapolis Colts put up a very good fight, their shoddy offense just wasn’t enough. With the win, Baltimore puts a stranglehold on a Wild Card spot. A win in Week 17, and the Ravens are in.

Here is what the playoff picture could look like tonight:

AFC Playoff Standings

1. New England Patriots (11-3, head-to-head win over PIT)+
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3, head-to-head loss to NE)+
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4)+
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)
5. Baltimore Ravens (9-6, 7-4 AFC record, 4-0 vs. common BUF opponents)
6. Tennessee Titans (8-6, 7-4 AFC record)
7. Buffalo Bills (8-6, 6-4 AFC, 3-1 vs. common BAL opponents)
8. Los Angeles Chargers (7-7)
9. Oakland Raiders (6-8, head-to-head win over MIA)
10. Miami Dolphins (6-8, head-to-head loss to OAK)
11t. New York Jets (5-9)*
11t. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9)*
11t. Denver Broncos (5-9)*
14. Houston Texans (4-10)*
15. Indianapolis Colts (3-12)*
16. Cleveland Browns (0-14)*

* Cleveland, Indianapolis, Houston, Denver, Cincinnati, and New York have been eliminated from the 2017 postseason race.
+ New England, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville have clinched playoff spots.

With a win, Buffalo would pass the Titans on Sunday regardless of the outcome of Tennessee’s game. The Bills would match the Titans in conference record and pass them based on wins against common opponents even if they pull out the victory against the Rams. Buffalo is 3-1 against the Raiders, Colts, Dolphins, and Bengals while Tennessee is 3-2. The Bills win the next tiebreaker, strength of victory, as well.

The Chargers and their 7-7 record still loom large for Buffalo with games against the Jets and Raiders looming. If the Bills and Chargers both finish 9-7, Los Angeles gets the spot based on their earlier win but if the teams are in a three-way tie, Buffalo would get the nod.

It’s confusing but if the Bills win both of their last two games, they are really, really likely to make the postseason. That’s a big ask heading into New England on Sunday.