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AFC Playoff Picture: Buffalo Bills’ rooting interests, Week 10

It’s nice not having to worry about many games.

It’s really nice not needing to worry about a lot of games this week. The Buffalo Bills beat the Seattle Seahawks to go to 7-2 for the first time in a generation. They’re an overwhelming favorite to make the postseason and win the AFC East. We will keep doing rooting interests posts until the Bills clinch their seed.

Looking ahead, it’s likely that the four seed will play the second-place team in the AFC North. With the battle-tested Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers in that spot, it’s not exactly an ideal matchup. So let’s have Buffalo keep moving up the seeding to provide an easier path to the postseason.

One more note before we get into the standings: The NFL voted this week to expand to an eight-team playoff in each conference if games are cancelled due to COVID-19. That means both the one- and two seed would get byes in the Wild Card round. The Bills are right on the cusp of that number-two seed.

Here is where the AFC Playoff Picture stands heading into Monday:

Overall Standings

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

Playoff Standings

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)
3. Buffalo Bills (7-2)
4. Tennessee Titans (6-2, 4-2 AFC)
5. Baltimore Ravens (6-2, 4-2 AFC)
6. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3, 3-2 AFC)
7. Cleveland Browns (5-3, 3-3 AFC)
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8. Miami Dolphins (5-3, 2-2 AFC)
9. Indianapolis Colts (5-3, 2-3 AFC)

Pittsburgh Steelers bye
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans


Here are the Buffalo Bills’ rooting interests for this weekend in order of importance:

Buffalo Bills (7-2) over Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, 4:05 PM Eastern

The Bills can go to 8-2 on Sunday and head into the bye week in great position. If the Bills want to be contenders, they need to win games over teams with young QBs even if that team is the top yardage offense in the league. Their defense has been stingy, too, but they’ve lost to the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, and Miami Dolphins. They are far from a juggernaut.

Los Angeles Chargers (2-6) over Miami Dolphins (5-3)
Sunday, 4:05 PM Eastern

You gotta hand it to them. The Dolphins have been scrappy this year and they look to be on the upswing. If Buffalo loses Sunday and Miami wins the next two weeks, the Bills would come back from their bye tied for the lead in the AFC East. The Chargers have played well all year but can’t close out wins, losing multiple games in heartbreaking fashion. They are not a pushover by any means.

Indianapolis Colts (5-3) over Tennessee Titans (6-2)
Thursday Night Football

Because of the Titans’ win over Buffalo, it’s way better for the Bills if Tennessee is a Wild Card team instead of the AFC South champ. This result would go a long way toward keeping Buffalo in the top three of the AFC.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1) over Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
Sunday, 4:25 PM Eastern

Pittsburgh almost lost to the Dallas Cowboys’ third-string QB last week. If Buffalo wants to pass them in the standings, the Steelers need to lose at least one more game. Why not a division contest against a rookie QB?

New England Patriots (3-5) over Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Sunday Night Football

I will gladly stand for the Patriots this week. They are virtually out of the AFC East race and with Baltimore hot on the heels of the Bills in the overall standings, we are more worried about the playoff seeding than New England staging a roaring comeback. If you want to bury the Patriots, it’s totally understandable, but I’m going to root for Bill Belichick this week.

Houston Texans (2-6) over Cleveland Browns (5-3)
Sunday, 1:00 PM Eastern

A bottom-dweller in the AFC taking out a Wild Card team that could sneak into the AFC North race. No-brainer here.

Denver Broncos (3-5) over Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
Sunday, 4:05 PM Eastern

Another 5-3 team is the Raiders, but Buffalo has a head-to-head tiebreaker over them and while it’s unlikely Las Vegas passes the Chiefs in the AFC West, it’s still possible. Buffalo gets to play Denver later, too, so this is the play for Week 10.

San Francisco 49ers over New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 4:25 PM Eastern

This will help Buffalo’s Strength of Schedule tiebreaker and potentially their Strength of Victory, but it’s not really that important.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Green Bay Packers
Washington Football Team vs. Detroit Lions
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams
Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears

Because the Bills beat both the Rams and Seahawks, the game will be a wash for any tiebreaker scenarios. The rest of the teams on this list won’t factor directly into Buffalo’s tiebreaker scenarios.

Byes: Kansas City Chiefs (8-1), New York Jets (0-9), Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons


If everything goes Buffalo’s way, they can’t move up in the standings this week but they can inch closer toward a move to the number-two seed and put some distance between themselves and the rest of the AFC East and the conference at large. A 1.5-game cushion between Buffalo and the four seed would be really nice heading into the bye.

Here are what those projected standings would look like:

Projected AFC Standings

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

Projected AFC Playoff Picture

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

Kansas City Chiefs bye
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts