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Buffalo Bills rooting interests, Week 6: AFC Playoff Picture

Who should Bills fans root for this 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 don’t play this Sunday, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have teams to root for. The Bills face the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday evening, and some big AFC games are still on the docket Sunday afternoon.

Before we get into the teams we are rooting for on Sunday, here is the AFC playoff picture:

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

So how this works is we are trying to get the Bills into first place in the AFC East and first place in the AFC. We root for the wins and losses that will help get to those outcomes. Here’s the full list in terms of importance to the Bills.

Buffalo Bills (4-1) over Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) (Monday)

One of the two big games in the AFC this week will be primeish time on Monday at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The Bills can solidify themselves as a team to beat at home against the Chiefs. It would be nice to come out of their huge stretch of AFC games 1-1 following their sleepwalking loss to the Titans on Tuesday night. Only the top team in the conference will get a bye, so you need to beat the other top teams when you get a chance. Josh Allen can also plant his flag for MVP consideration with a big game in front of a national audience.

Houston Texans (1-4) over Tennessee Titans (4-0)

This 1 p.m. EDT game has big playoff implications in the AFC South and could get Houston back in this thing. Tennessee is playing on a short week after facing the Bills Tuesday night. Buffalo is in effect a game and a half behind Tennessee because of the Titans’ head-to-head win over the Bills.

Philadelphia Eagles over Baltimore Ravens (4-1)

An NFC team beating one of the top teams in the AFC would be very helpful to Buffalo. Unfortunately, the 1-3-1 Eagles aren’t likely to take care of that today. Buffalo doesn’t play the Ravens, so they’ll presumably need some help to pass them.

Denver Broncos (1-3) over New England Patriots (2-2)

Maybe the Broncos will be pissed they lost their bye weeks because of positive COVID-19 tests from the Patriots. Take it out on them, Denver! Buffalo will still be ahead of New England after this week no matter what and they have two games against each other down the line.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-3-1) over Indianapolis Colts (3-2)

Let’s let the middle of the conference continue to fall to the bottom.

Cleveland Browns (4-1) over Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0)

The AFC North really needs to start beating each other up. (Not literally, Myles Garrett.) Buffalo gets to play the Steelers later in the year and won’t get to play Cleveland, so I waffled a little bit on this. Ultimately I went with the outcome that gives everyone in the AFC North a loss.

New York Jets (0-5) over Miami Dolphins (2-3)

Let’s let the middle of the conference continue to fall to the bottom.

Detroit Lions over Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)

If the Bills and Jaguars are in competition with each other, I’d be very surprised. an NFC team beating an AFC team is still what we’re looking for right now.

Los Angeles Rams over San Francisco 49ers

This outcome will help Buffalo’s strength of victory tiebreaker. If Buffalo beats San Fran later in the year, it will render it moot.

Arizona Cardinals over Dallas Cowboys (Monday)

It’s not likely to matter, but this would help Buffalo’s strength of schedule and potentially their strength of victory.

Games that don’t directly affect the Bills:

Chicago Bears vs Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons vs Minnesota Vikings
Washington vs New York Giants
Green Bay Packers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Teams on a bye:

Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
Seattle Seahawks
New Orleans Saints

If everything goes Buffalo’s way this weekend, they’ll continue to control their own destiny to the number-two seed in the AFC and be tied with the Titans for the number-one seed.

Projected AFC Standings

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