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Buffalo Bills fan rooting interest: AFC playoff picture could shake up in Week 13

Buffalo could move up three spots this week.

The Buffalo Bills are staring up a mountain in the AFC Playoff race even if they’re only two games out of the sixth and final spot. As we enter the home stretch in Week 13, a lot needs to go right for Buffalo to make up ground but it’s certainly not impossible.

If you don’t think Buffalo has a shot for the playoffs, this isn’t the article for you. If you want them to tank for NFL Draft position (you’re wrong) and this one is not for you.

Here are the updated standings following Week 12. No team has been mathematically eliminated and this could be the last week we say that.

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

Here are the Buffalo Bills’ rooting interests for moving up that mountain this week in order of importance.

Buffalo Bills over Miami Dolphins
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

The Bills pretty much need to win out to make the postseason. Only one team left on their schedule has a winning record, so this isn’t the time for a misstep. Buffalo passes Miami in the standings with a win on Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings over New England Patriots
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. Eastern

For now, the easiest path to the playoffs is winning the division according to the New York Times Playoff Machine. At 8-3, Buffalo is four games behind New England but they play each other again, so Buffalo could close the gap by a full game with a Week 16 win. Especially being an NFC opponent, it would be nice to get a free loss from the Patriots.

Atlanta Falcons over Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Another NFC team that could really help the Bills this week is in Atlanta. Baltimore is two games plus a tiebreaker ahead of Buffalo and currently holds the Wild Card spot Buffalo wants. Easy to root against Baltimore here.

Jacksonville Jaguars over Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

It’ll be difficult without their top running back and playing with their backup quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. Maybe that’s why the Jags win. If players play inspired to prove it was some combination of Blake Bortles and Nathaniel Hackett that caused the offense to be so bad, maybe they can outscore the potent Colts offense. Buffalo has already taken care of the Jaguars, so this might as well be an NFC team vs. and AFC team in terms of worrying about Jacksonville.

Houston Texans over the Cleveland Browns
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Cleveland is a half-game ahead of Buffalo. Houston is two games ahead of the rest of the AFC South. Root for Houston to run the table to help the cause.

New York Jets over Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. Eastern

The Jets are in the rear-view and Buffalo gets another game against them. Buffalo passes Tennessee with a Bills win and a Titans loss.

Detroit Lions over Los Angeles Rams
Green Bay Packers over Arizona Cardinals
Chicago Bears over New York Giants

These are way down the line of tiebreakers, and therefore not really important, but it will help Buffalo in terms of strength of schedule and in the Lions’ case, hopefully strength of victory.

If everything goes Buffalo’s way

If all of these scenarios comes to pass, the Bills will move up several spots and get within striking distance of the Wild Card. Note: only records that would change with the rooting interests are listed.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Houston Texans (9-3)
  3. New England Patriots (8-4)
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers
  5. Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Baltimore Ravens (6-6, 6-3 AFC)
  7. Indianapolis Colts (6-6, 5-5 AFC)
  8. Cincinnati Bengals (Either DEN or CIN will be 6-6 or 5-7)
  9. Denver Broncos (Either DEN or CIN will be 6-6 or 5-7)
  10. Buffalo Bills (5-7, wins over MIA and TEN, likely behind both DEN and CIN in tiebreaker)
  11. Miami Dolphins (5-7, 4-5 AFC)
  12. Tennessee Titans (5-7, 3-6 AFC)
  13. Cleveland Browns (4-7-1)
  14. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)
  15. New York Jets (4-8)
  16. Oakland Raiders

Buffalo would move up three spots and be a game and a tiebreaker out of the Wild Card and three games out of the AFC East lead. I fully expect both Jim Mora and Jim Carrey in the comments, folks.