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Here’s how the Bills could lose their playoff spot by Tuesday morning

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 have a chance to end up tied for the AFC’s one seed and in the second spot via a tiebreaker by the end of this week. We went through all of that on Thursday in our rooting interests piece, which you should definitely read.

But what if things go poorly this week? The Bills lose a weather-filled sloppy contest to the New England Patriots and the rest of the AFC results go against Buffalo?

Well, the Bills would fall completely out of playoff position.

Here are the current AFC Standings:

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

Despite the infighting in this week’s AFC Playoff Picture, Buffalo could fall out of Wild Card position with a loss this week. And the outcomes aren’t even weird:

  • Bills lose to fall to 7-5, 5-5 in the AFC
  • Chargers win to get to 7-5, 5-3 in the AFC by beating the Bengals who fall to 7-5, 5-3 in the AFC
  • Raiders win to move to 7-5, 4-3 in the AFC
  • Chiefs win to climb to 8-4

With the Chiefs in first place in the AFC West, the Chargers would be the five seed thanks to their wins over both the Bengals and Raiders. Cincinnati would be the six seed thanks to AFC record, and Las Vegas would be the seven seed based on AFC record.

The Bills would fall to eighth in the conference and their remaining AFC games would become extremely dire.

This isn’t a must-win game for the Bills by any stretch of the imagination. Even after a loss this week, a win in three weeks to defeat the Patriots and Buffalo would be right in the mix for the AFC East top spot and hold the divisional record tiebreaker over New England.

At home, coming off an extra three days of rest, against a rookie quarterback, with your own MVP candidate quarterback, and a group of guys who think they are among the best defenses in the NFL (if not the best), this is a game the Bills should win if they have Super Bowl aspirations.

A win this week, and the Bills are in the third or second spot in the AFC. A loss, and they could be all the way on the outside looking in at number eight.