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Buffalo Bills take commanding lead in race for AFC 1 seed with win

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 and Kansas City Chiefs finished number two and number one in the AFC playoff rankings last year, respectively. Kansas City’s win over Buffalo in the regular season was a big reason why. In 2021, it’s the Bills that own that tiebreaker and right now, the road to the Super Bowl runs through Buffalo.

The Bills have a very easy remaining schedule based on current record of opponents. In fact, only three teams remaining on their schedule have winning records right now; Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers in the NFC South plus the newly 3-2 Tennessee Titans. So not only will teams have to out-win the Bills down the stretch, they will have to do it against more difficult schedules.

According to Football Outsiders, the Bills have a 56.7% chance of being the AFC’s top seed and a 94% chance of winning their division. They are the overwhelming Super Bowl favorite, as well, winning the championship in more than 26% of simulations.

Next on that list are the Baltimore Ravens at 20%, but Baltimore’s upcoming schedule is brutal. Games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals (twice), Cleveland Browns (twice), Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Rams show just how much more difficult their path to the one seed will be.

The Chargers are third in percentage chance and currently lead the Bills in tiebreakers, but see the Ravens, Broncos, Bengals, Chiefs, and Raiders over the final few months of the season.

Home field advantage hasn’t meant much in the NFL this season, but getting the bye into the divisional round would certainly help get players healthy down the stretch for a run to the Super Bowl.