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AFC Playoff Picture: Buffalo Bills’ Week 8 rooting interests

The Buffalo Bills are in a precarious place in the AFC Playoff Picture. They need to feast on some lesser opponents and get some help to get back to the top of the heap following their bye and the loss to the Tennessee Titans. All of that can take care of itself, but the Bills still need some help.

Here are the rooting interests for this weekend’s games in order from most important to least important. Before we get to that, here are the standings heading into the weekend.

Note: Rankings are listed in playoff order, so division leaders are listed 1-4 followed by the Wild card teams.

AFC East

  1. Buffalo Bills (4-2)
  2. New England Patriots (3-4)
  3. New York Jets (1-5)
  4. Miami Dolphins (1-6)

AFC Playoffs

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

These are presented in order of most important to least important. The odds are to help you better understand how feasible it is we’ll receive the result for which we’re looking. Our partners at DraftKings helped us out with those.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

Buffalo Bills (4-2) over Miami Dolphins (1-6)
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Bills by 14

Buffalo starts a three-game stretch against the bottom of the AFC this week. This is when they need to pad their wins column to get to the top of the conference. Beat the teams you’re supposed to beat.

Indianapolis Colts (3-4) over Tennessee Titans (5-2)
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Colts by 3

If Buffalo is going to pass the Titans, they need Tennessee to lose. The Colts are playing well and as healthy as they have been all year. It would be nice to get an AFC loss for Derrick Henry’s crew.

New York Jets (1-5) over Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Bengals by 11

An upstart team ahead of Buffalo in the standings, the Bengals have a lot of tough games down the stretch. This isn’t one of them. Still, we can hope Mike White catches lightning in a bottle.

New England Patriots (3-4) over Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)
Sunday, October 31, 4:05 PM Eastern
Line: Chargers by 4

I know what you’re thinking, but this is the best outcome for the Bills. Root for a chargers loss instead of a Patriots win.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) over Cleveland Browns (4-3)
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Browns by 4.5

The AFC North destroying each other would be so big for the rest of the AFC. Evening out these two teams around .500 is the best-case scenario for right now, so even if Buffalo lost their tiebreaker to Pittsburgh, this is the right play.

New York Giants over Kansas City Chiefs (3-4)
Monday Night Football
Line: Chiefs by 9.5

They still have the potential to be dangerous. Let’s try and knock the Chiefs from the playoffs.

Washington Football Team over Denver Broncos (3-4)
Sunday, October 31, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Broncos by 3.5

This helps Buffalo by further pushing down the Broncos as well as giving the Bills’ Strength of Victory and Strength of Schedule a boost.

Houston Texans (1-6) over Los Angeles Rams (6-1)
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Rams by 16.5

This helps Buffalo in the Strength of Victory and Strength of Schedule tiebreakers.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) over Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, October 31, 4:05 PM Eastern
Line: Seahawks by 3.5

At minimum, this helps Buffalo’s Strength of Schedule but should also be a boost to the Bills’ Strength of Victory later.

San Francisco 49ers over Chicago Bears
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: 49ers by 4

We don’t really care about the AFC South’s Strength tiebreakers because of the loss to the Titans, so we will root to push down the AFC North Strength of Victory and Strength of Schedule. But it’s not likely to matter when all is said and done.

Arizona Cardinals over Green Bay Packers
Thursday Night Football

We don’t really care about the AFC South’s Strength tiebreakers because of the Cardinals’ loss to the Titans, so we will root to push down the AFC North Strength of Victory and Strength of Schedule. But it’s not likely to matter when all is said and done.

Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings
Sunday Night Football
Line: Vikings by 3

We don’t really care about the AFC North vs AFC West Strength tiebreakers, but the Vikings play both the AFC North and the Chargers which gives them the edge for the team we want to lose. It’s miniscule.

Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Falcons by 3

Right now, this game doesn’t matter. Buffalo plays both teams later on and if they beat both of them, the outcome of this game will even out.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
Sunday, October 31, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Bucs by 4

Right now, this game doesn’t matter. Buffalo plays both teams later on and if they beat both of them, the outcome of this game will even out.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions
Sunday, October 31, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Eagles by 3.5

Philly over Detroit outcome would hurt the AFC North’s Strength of Victory and Strength of Schedule. Of course, it helps the AFC West’s. So either way is fine for now, I guess.

BYE: Las Vegas Raiders (5-2), Baltimore Ravens (5-2)


Here is what the standings would look like if all of the above scenarios played out Buffalo’s way. It doesn’t change a lot for the Bills right now but gets them tied for the lead in the AFC with three other teams and poised to continue their run with an easy schedule. The Bills would move up from fourth to third, passing the Titans.

*Note: Baltimore is way ahead in Strength of Victory (13 to 7) right now, and adding a win over the 1-win Miami team won’t help a lot. I put them ahead of Buffalo based on that even though I didn’t add it up. Similarly, the Chargers are way ahead of Pittsburgh (14 to 9).

PROJECTED AFC East

  1. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
  2. New England Patriots (4-4)
  3. New York Jets (2-5)
  4. Miami Dolphins (1-7)

PROJECTED AFC Playoffs

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