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AFC Playoff Picture: Buffalo Bills can clinch the two seed in Week 16 with help

Looking at you, Indy

NFL: DEC 19 Bills at Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the Pittsburgh Steelers fall, so too the Buffalo Bills ascend. With Pittsburgh’s loss debacle in Cincinnati on Monday Night Football, the Buffalo Bills now possess the two seed in the AFC playoff picture. That could become set in stone with a Bills win on Monday night against the New England Patriots if some things go the Bills’ way on Sunday.

Below are the two scenarios to keep an eye on:

1) the Bills win + the Indianapolis Colts beat the Pittsburgh Steelers + the Tennessee Titans lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football

This would clinch the two seed before any games are played in Week 17, allowing the Bills the opportunity to rest key starters before the playoffs begin and avoid the Kansas City Chiefs until the AFC Championship Game.

2) the Bills win + the Indianapolis Colts beat the Pittsburgh Steelers + the Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets

This scenario would give the Bills a greater than 99 percent chance of obtaining the two seed. In this scenario, the Titans could still pass the Bills if they win their Week 17 game, and Buffalo loses to Miami, and the Browns and Steelers play to a tie in the final game of the season. Buffalo would lose the ensuing two-way tie with Tennessee despite winning any three-way tie scenario involving Cleveland/Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Tennessee.

Buffalo may or may not rest their starters in this scenario. They would be guaranteed the three seed, thus avoiding a trip to Kansas City until the AFC Championship. In the current climate of no fans in the stadium, maybe that would be enough for them to not care about the difference in the two and three seed.

Obviously the Bills need to take care of their own business against the Patriots before worrying about things falling their way. If the Bills lose to the Patriots, they could fall all the way to the fourth seed just as quickly as they’ve risen, depending on what happens with the AFC North and South. That being said, it isn’t at all crazy to imagine the Colts beating the struggling Steelers or the Packers beating the Titans in Green Bay and the stage being set for the Bills to clinch something else this weekend.