clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Monday Night Football result will swing AFC standings

New, comments

The Bills are now going to need some help.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals play the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight on Monday Night Football and Cincinnati has the chance to leap frog into seventh place in the AFC.

With a win by the Bengals tonight, the Buffalo Bills would fall further down the playoff chart, but it’s not Cincy’s head-to-head win over Buffalo that would move them up, it would be their conference record.

With the Chargers, Bengals, Bills, and Raiders all tied at 6-6, the first tiebreaker would eliminate the Raiders as their head-to-head loss to Los Angeles means L.A. would top the division. The next tiebreaker between the remaining three teams would move the Bengals to the top of the 6-6 heap based on their 6-5 conference record. With cincy out of the picture, L.A.’s win over Buffalo would be the tiebreaker there and then the Bills’ win over the Raiders would sort out the rest of the six-win teams.

Here is the full projected AFC playoff picture:

AFC Playoff Standings with Bengals win

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

* Cleveland has been eliminated from the 2017 postseason race


With a Steelers win, things are much more interesting. The Patriots and Bengals would be tied atop the conference with a huge game looming in two weeks. Cincinnati would fall back into the pack at 5-7 where they would be last thanks to their conference tiebreaker.

Here is the full projected AFC playoff picture:

AFC Playoff Standings with Steelers win

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

* Cleveland has been eliminated from the 2017 postseason race


On a purely wins and losses basis, Buffalo would seemingly want the Steelers to win and keep Cincinnati in the rearview mirror.

You could also look at it a different way and pull for Cincy. If Pittsburgh loses this week and then loses in two weeks to New England, the Patriots wouldn’t have anything to play for in the Week 16 matchup against the Bills if they win this Sunday against the Dolphins. With home field advantage locked up, maybe they rest some guys. The Bengals have a difficult schedule down the stretch and shouldn’t be a threat in the end, anyway.