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AFC Playoff Picture: Bills hang onto Wild Card spot following Week 15 win

Buffalo won and got the help they needed

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

With the postponement of Saturday’s game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns, the playoff picture was not complete in the AFC until Monday night. The COVID-ravaged Browns put up a gallant fight and nearly won it for their comrades, but the Raiders pulled out a last-second victory.

The win kept Buffalo in playoff position. but it wouldn’t have been a big deal if they fell out. That’s because the Bills control their destiny to the division crown. Buffalo wins their final three games, they are in the postseason and hosting a Wild Card game.

In terms of the Wild Card race, the Raiders beating the Browns so both of those teams are 7-7 and a game behind Buffalo was the best thing that could have happened. The Browns have remaining games against the Steelers and Bengals, which would knock out at least one team from the Wild Card race. If Buffalo gets to 10 wins, they are probably in the postseason as a Wild Card just by beating the lowly Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets.

Of the potential 8-6 and 7-6-1 teams, so many of them play each other over the final three weeks, it’s bound to eliminate certain teams. Here are the remaining schedules:

Buffalo: at New England, vs. Falcons, vs Jets
Cincinnati: Ravens, Chiefs, at Cleveland
Baltimore: at Cincinnati, Rams, Steelers
Pittsburgh: at Kansas City, Browns, at Baltimore
Indianapolis: at Arizona, Raiders, at Jacksonville
Los Angeles: at Houston, Broncos, at Las Vegas

  1. Here is the current playoff picture following Week 15. Please note the division leaders are listed first.

AFC Standings

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

A win on Sunday puts Buffalo potentially in a tie for the two or three seed, but they’d be at least fourth in the Conference. A loss could tumble them down pretty far for the time being.