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Buffalo Bills clinch five seed, could rest starters in Week 17

Looks like a trip to Houston is on the horizon.

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 have officially clinched the five seed in the AFC with their loss to the New England Patriots. Without the ability to climb into the division lead, and with a two-game lead plus tiebreakers on the rest of the field in the AFC, Buffalo can’t move back.

With the way the AFC is shaking out, it looks like the Bills will be travelling to Houston to take on the Texans. If the Titans win out and the Texans lose out, Buffalo would face off against Tennessee, but they play the New Orleans Saints this week and the Texans next week. Houston clinched their division with a win on Saturday and they are a half-game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the race for the three seed. If Kansas City beats the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers, they will be the three seed and Buffalo will travel to Houston. That result would also happen if the Chiefs go 1-1 over their last two games and Houston loses to the Titans in the season finale.

This should lock in the Bills as a 1:00 PM Eastern kickoff next Sunday against the New York Jets and Buffalo is likely to sit many of their starters in a meaningless regular-season finale. Sean McDermott hasn’t been in this situation as a head coach after Buffalo clinched his only playoff berth in the last moments of Week 17 in 2017.