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AFC Playoff picture: Buffalo Bills rooting interests, Week 8 2019

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Some juicy AFC games this week.

The Buffalo Bills sit at 5-1 and in second place in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots. They lead the Wild Card standings by 1.5 games heading into Week 8. With a weak schedule coming up, you have to think that missing the playoffs would be a huge disappointment.

As we enter Week 8, here are the rooting interests for the Bills around the league. Some are more important than others, and they are indexed near the top of our list and descend to the less important contests.

Please note, I’m using 10-6 as the likely record for the Wild Card teams. Any of the teams lurking with five losses are still “in the hunt” for the time being. The Titans, for instance, are pretty far down the pecking order but with five losses, they could make a run to 10-6 so we are rooting against them this week.

Before we give you the rooting interests, here are the current standings.

Full AFC Standings

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

Buffalo Bills (5-1) over Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM Eastern

The Bills need to keep pace with the Patriots in the AFC East. These are the kind of toss-up games playoff teams need to win in order to go from also-ran to the leader of the pack. Philadelphia is wounded, so getting up on them early is a must and they’ve allowed a ton of first-half points this season. Then Buffalo’s defense can clamp down.

Cleveland Browns (2-4) over New England Patriots (7-0)
Sunday, October 27, 4:25 PM Eastern

If Buffalo wants a shot at the AFC East crown, they are going to need some help. The Browns have been underperforming all year but they should shoot for the moon this week. Baker Mayfield isn’t afraid of anything (even when he probably should be) and will attack this Patriots team head-on. We could really use a hand from Cleveland.

Denver Broncos (2-5) over Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM Eastern

With the Colts in a race for the Wild Card in the AFC South, a loss by them would certainly help if they fell back out of first place in the division. Plus, if Buffalo wins the AFC East, we want the Bills to have a better record than the AFC South champ so we can host a playoff game. We don’t need to worry about Denver blowing up down the stretch since we get to face them one-on-one in Buffalo the week before Thanksgiving.

Houston Texans (4-3) over Oakland Raiders (3-3)
Sunday, October 27, 4:25 PM Eastern

The Raiders only have two games left against teams with winning records; the Chiefs and Texans. The Texans play the Ravens, Colts, and Patriots. If this game can’t end in a tie, I am going to root for the Texans to take it and give Oakland their fourth loss of the season. Plus, the Texans have a halfway decent shot of winning their division while the Raiders are looking up at Kansas City. So, it’s more likely Buffalo will be up against Oakland in a Wild Card situation.

Green Bay Packers over Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
Sunday, October 27, 8:20 PM Eastern

Speaking of the Chiefs, this is a no-brainer pick. An NFC team knocking off an AFC team at this point in the season would be great for Buffalo’s potential seeding in the playoffs in the event they are division winners AND could help them in the wild card race if Patrick Mahomes misses time and the Chiefs fall back closer to a .500 record.

New York Jets (1-5) over Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)
Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM Eastern

Don’t root for the Jets, just root against the Jags. In terms of playoff race, this helps put more distance between Jacksonville and the Wild Card plus it helps Buffalo’s strength of victory and strength of schedule. It’s a no-brainer with the Jets already at five losses.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Tennessee Titans (3-4)
Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM Eastern

Not a super-important game with a 2.5-game lead over Tennessee plus a head-to-head tiebreaker, but it couldn’t hurt at this point.

Miami Dolphins (0-6) over Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)
Monday, October 28, 8:15 PM Eastern

The Bills will have their chance to take care of the Steelers later this year, so we’re not necessarily worried about overall records here. This helps Buffalo’s strength of schedule and SHOULD help their strength of victory tiebreakers (because two wins over Miami is better than one win over Pittsburgh).

Chicago Bears over Los Angeles Chargers (2-5)
Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM Eastern

It seems like every year, the Chargers are hanging around the edges of the AFC playoff race. A sixth loss this early in the season could sink their chances coming down the stretch.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-7) over Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM Eastern

With seven losses already, if Buffalo is dealing with Cincy coming down the stretch, other things have gone terribly wrong. This builds Buffalo’s strength of victory and strength of schedule.

New York Giants over Detroit Lions
Sunday, October 27, 1:00 PM Eastern

With a win over the Giants, New York continuing to win helps Buffalo’s strength of victory and strength of schedule.

Washington over Minnesota Vikings
Thursday, October 24, 8:20 PM Eastern

This helps the Bills’ strength of schedule and hopefully their strength of victory in tiebreakers later on.

Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints
Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers

These games have no direct bearing over Buffalo’s playoff chances. Root for whoever you want.

Byes: Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys


If everything goes Buffalo’s way this weekend, they will be a half-game plus a tiebreaker out of first place in the AFC East race against New England. In the Wild Card, they would be two games clear of the second wild card team and three games clear of the seventh-place team. That’s a pretty sizable lead when you haven’t even played eight games yet.

Full “Best Case” AFC Standings

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

Full “Best Case” AFC Playoff Standings

1. New England Patriots (7-1)
2. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
3. Houston Texans (5-3, head-to-head win over KC)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3, head-to-head loss to HOU)
5. Buffalo Bills (6-1)
6. Indianapolis Colts (4-3)
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7. Cleveland Browns (3-4, 3-1 AFC)
8. Oakland Raiders (3-4, 2-2 AFC)