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Find a rooting interest for Bills fans in every Week 18 game

Playoff and 2022 NFL Draft implications surround every game this weekend

Currently the Buffalo Bills sit in the fourth spot in the AFC Playoff Picture. With a win on Sunday, they will solidify themselves as the AFC East division winner as well as at least the four seed and a home playoff game next weekend.

There are scenarios where the Bills can move up all the way to the two seed in the AFC, and we’ll share that in this week’s rooting interest, but there are also a ton of games that don’t have any rooting interests as it relates to the playoffs. That’s where this gets interesting.

We’ll break up our weekly rooting interests into three different groups this week, but every game will give you some reason to root. Our friends at DraftKings SportsBook have also given us the betting odds so you know how likely your desired outcome really is.

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

Here is the current AFC playoff picture for starters:

AFC Standings

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

y- Clinched division
x- Clinched playoff spot
italics- Eliminated


Playoff rooting interests

The first set of games we’re looking at have to do with Buffalo’s playoff run. Buffalo winning the division is the priority, then moving up to the 2 seed to ensure two or three home playoffs games if they keep winning, then maybe a look at a possible opponent or two.

Buffalo Bills over New York Jets
Sunday, January 9, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Bills by 16

Clinch a playoff spot. Check.
Clinch the division. This would do that.
Win some playoff games. This would help.
Win the Super Bowl. Hopefully.

Miami Dolphins over New England Patriots
Sunday, January 9, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Patriots by 6

The other way for Buffalo to clinch the division would be if the Dolphins beat the Patriots. Miami has nothing to play for except pride at this point, but it’s likely they’ll try to prove themselves in this game.

Denver Broncos over Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday, January 8, 4:30 PM Eastern
Line: Chiefs by 10.5

A Chiefs loss and a Bills win allows Buffalo to move up in the playoff seeding.

Cleveland Browns over Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, January 9, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Browns by 6

The Browns will be without Baker Mayfield while the Bengals will be without a bunch of different offensive starters. Cincinnati has said they will be without both their Pro Bowl quarterback and their Pro Bowl running back in the season finale. A Bengals loss and a Bills win and Buffalo moves up in the playoff seeding.

Jacksonville Jaguars over Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, January 9, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Colts by 15

The Colts haven’t won in Northern Florida in a really, really long time. This would be a massive upset, but the Colts are one of the scariest teams in the AFC Playoff Race and they’ve already blown out the Bills this year. If they lose and fall out of playoff position, that would ease my fears.

Las Vegas Raiders over Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, January 9, 8:15 PM Eastern
Line: Chargers by 3

If the Jaguars really do knock off the Colts, this game is incentivized to end in a tie. If they played to a draw, both teams would make the postseason and that would be fine with us. That would mean the Colts aren’t in. In a win/loss scenario, there’s nothing about the Raiders that scares me so if they could beat the Chargers, that would help.

Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, January 9, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Ravens by 4

Pittsburgh is a very different team than Week 1 and so are the Bills. They don’t necessarily worry me at this stage of Ben Roethlisberger’s season.

If all these outcomes happen, it would be Bills vs Steelers in round one and the Bills would be the 2 seed. In round two, they would be hosting the Chiefs, Bengals, or Patriots depending on Wild Card Round winners.

2022 NFL Draft

This set of games will either help make AFC East draft picks go down, or potentially help Buffalo’s draft pick if they don’t go to the Super Bowl. Obviously, we continue to hope the Bills picked 32nd.

Tennessee Titans over Houston Texans
Sunday, January 9, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Titans by 10

Obviously we want the 4-12 Jets to lose to the Bills, but we also want the Texans to stay in front of them in the draft order. A Texans loss would guarantee that.

San Francisco 49ers over Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, January 9, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Rams by 4.5

The Miami Dolphins hold the 49ers’ first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s keep pushing them down the draft board with a big win!

Seattle Seahawks over Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, January 9, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Cardinals by 6.5

Seattle’s first-round pick belongs to the Jets, so we want it to be as low as possible. The Cardinals would fall into a tie with the Bills at 11-6, but Buffalo is still likely to pick ahead of Arizona because of a worse Strength of Schedule.

Carolina Panthers over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, January 9, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Buccaneers by 8

The Panthers traded their second-round pick to the Jets as part of the Sam Darnold move. Go Panthers!

Minnesota Vikings over Chicago Bears
Sunday, January 9, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Vikings by 5.5

We want the Bears to keep losing to stay ahead of the Jets’ draft picks. A Bears loss and a Seahawks win, and the Jets move back in the draft order among the top ten.

Washington Football Team over New York Giants
Sunday, January 9, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Washington by 7

We want the Giants to keep losing to stay ahead of or at least tied with the Jets’ draft picks. The two Big Apple teams are currently tied, with Strength of Schedule the determining factor.

Dallas Cowboys over Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, January 8, 8:15 PM Eastern
Line: Cowboys by 5

The Cowboys sit at 11-5 and we want them to stay behind Buffalo in the draft order if both teams are ousted in the same round. A win here would keep them behind the Bills.

Green Bay Packers over Detroit Lions
Sunday, January 9, 1:00 PM Eastern
Line: Packers by 3.5

I am not a fan of telling you to root against the Lions. They are too fun. But if the Jaguars win and the Lions lose, Detroit gets the first overall pick. It’s not super-important, but knocking down another AFC team even one spot is at least something in the grand scheme of things. Remember the title of the article is “finding a rooting interest...”

For fun

I got nothing unless you got something.

Atlanta Falcons over New Orleans Saints
Sunday, January 9, 4:25 PM Eastern
Line: Saints by 3.5

Last weekend, we hosted the Falcons and we had a great time interacting with their fanbase and pool of writers, bloggers, and reporters. Plus my boss is a Falcons fan.