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Buffalo Bills rooting interests, Week 9

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 2021 season rolls on and lots of games in Week 9 have playoff implications in the bunched American Football Conference.

Here are your rooting interests for the Bills’ playoff chances and seeding. Current betting odds are listed on each game from DraftKings Sportsbook and to give you a sense of what bettors think is going to be the outcome. Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

They are listed in order by importance. But first, a reminder on the state of the AFC. 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 (5-2)
  2. New England Patriots (4-4)
  3. New York Jets (2-5)
  4. Miami Dolphins (1-7)

AFC Playoffs

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

Buffalo Bills (5-2) over Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Sunday, November 7th, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Bills by 14.5

The Buffalo Bills need to stack wins against bad teams during this stretch of their schedule. They are a half-game back of the top team in the AFC, and they play one of the top teams in the NFC this weekend. It’s definitely a week Buffalo can make a move.

Los Angeles Rams over Tennessee Titans (6-2)
Sunday, November 7th, 8:20 PM Eastern
Line: Rams by 7

The Titans are facing the five seed in the NFC, but that team is 7-1. The Rams just traded for Von Miller and their defense will be fierce while the Titans just lost All-World running back Derrick Henry for the foreseeable future. Can Adrian Peterson step right into the lineup and not miss a beat? It seems unlikely. The Titans have an easier schedule down the stretch, so this is an important game for Buffalo.

New York Giants over Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)
Sunday, November 7th, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Raiders by 3.5

A Pacific time zone team traveling east for an early start is usually pretty good for the East Coast team. The Raiders could be reeling from yet another team setback this week, or it could further galvanize their locker room. The Giants aren’t very good, so it might not matter.

Minnesota Vikings over Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Sunday, November 7th, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Ravens by 6

The Vikings are certainly capable of pulling off the upset this week, and Buffalo could use the help. The AFC North is hopefully going to continue beating up on each other, but an NFC team beating them would be even better!

Cleveland Browns (4-4) over Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
Sunday, November 7th, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Bengals by 2.5

The upstart Bengals were humbled a bit last week, giving up a bunch of yards to Mike White on the way to a Jets victory. The game is in Cincinnati, and the Browns are dealing with drama from Odell Beckham, Jr. and an injury to Baker Mayfield but they have the horses to win the game. It’s a divisional game, too, and Cleveland wanted to be fighting for the top spot in the division entering this year.

Chicago Bears over Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Monday Night Football
Line: Steelers by 6

We could use a few more Steelers losses since they have a head-to-head tiebreaker over Buffalo. An NFC team giving it to them would be even better.

Carolina Panthers over New England Patriots (4-4)
Sunday, November 7th, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Patriots by 3.5

Screw the Patriots. But also, New England is only 1.5 games behind Buffalo right now. An NFC team knocking them down a peg or two helps Buffalo and it only costs Buffalo one game on the Strength of Schedule (and hopefully, the Strength of Victory) tiebreakers. Step one, win the division. Then we focus on other things.

Philadelphia Eagles over Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)
Sunday, November 7th, 4:05 PM Eastern
Line: Chargers by 2

The Chargers are another upstart team trying to figure out how to win week in and week out. This is another NFC team that could help the Bills this week, and the Jamestown native who coaches the Eagles might wanna help out the 716ers.

Green Bay Packers over Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)
Sunday, November 7th, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Chiefs by 7.5

What a crazy way for Jordan Love to earn his first start. But here we are, and one of the NFC’s leaders can knock off an AFC competitor this week. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Dallas Cowboys over Denver Broncos (4-4)
Sunday, November 7th, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Cowboys by 10

If you feel dirty rooting for the Cowboys, feel free to skip this game. Denver traded their best pass rusher and is fourth in the AFC West right now. They’re not a big enough threat right now. Still, rooting for Dallas is the right play in the next NFC vs AFC matchup.

New York Jets (2-5) over Indianapolis Colts (3-5)
Thursday Night Football
Line: Colts by 10

Listen, I’m not going to root for the Jets on Thursday night. Frankly, neither team is catching Buffalo this season. This is about Strength of Victory tiebreakers, and Buffalo’s are bad right now. But this will likely only result in one more win for Bills opponents when Buffalo wins all three games against these teams.

Miami Dolphins (1-7) over Houston Texans (1-7)
Sunday, November 7th, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Dolphins by 5.5

We want the Dolphins to have a better draft pick, so they can win out for all I care. It also helps Buffalo’s Strength of Victory for Miami to win. But it’s down the list, you guys.

San Francisco 49ers over Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, November 7th, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: 49ers by 2

I still dislike you. There’s no rooting interest for the playoff race.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Line: Saints by 6.5

Buffalo plays both teams, so unless you know the outcomes will be different against each team, it doesn’t matter.

Byes: Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team

If everything goes Buffalo’s way this weekend, there are BIG CHANGES afoot. Buffalo could go from fourth to first, and it’s not even super-crazy scenarios. Tennessee isn’t favored, the Raiders are barely favored, and the Ravens are six-point favorites at home.

Here is what that would look like if things went our way. 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 (6-2)
  2. New England Patriots (4-5)
  3. New York Jets (3-5)
  4. Miami Dolphins (2-7)

AFC Playoffs

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

* Only one game currently separates the Chargers and Steelers in Strength of Victory. I didn’t do the math, but I’m mildly sure with the games predicted above that the Steelers would keep their edge in SOV.