During the Buffalo Bills’ 6-1 start to the 2022 NFL regular season, we had a great deal of fun checking in once per week on the team’s place in the AFC playoff picture. After the team’s 27-17 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football following their bye week, the Bills were the clear top team in the conference, and the three major playoff-projecting models we follow each week agreed.
- Football Outsiders gave the Bills a 71.4% chance at securing the No. 1 seed in the playoffs
- The New York Times and its playoff simulator gave the Bills a 65% chance at securing the top seed
- FiveThirtyEight gave the Bills a 68% chance at securing the top seed
Today, the Bills have dropped two consecutive three-point contests—20-17 to the New York Jets in Week 9, and then 33-30 in overtime to the Minnesota Vikings yesterday—to fall to 6-3. They head into a must-win game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11 in third place in the AFC East, and holders of the No. 6 seed in the current AFC playoff picture.
A lot has changed in two weeks.
- Football Outsiders gives the Bills a 93.9% chance of making the playoffs and a 50% chance of coming back to win the division, but only a 28.6% chance of securing the top seed
- The New York Times gives the Bills a 91% chance of making the playoffs and a 50% chance of winning the division, but only a 28% chance of locking down a first-round bye
- FiveThirtyEight gives the Bills a 93% chance of making the playoffs and a 53% chance of winning the division, but only a 22% chance of securing the top seed
And yes, the Kansas City Chiefs now have the best odds at securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs in all three models (31.2% at Football Outsiders, 34% at New York Times, and 52% at FiveThirtyEight).
A lot can change again, however, in another week or two. The NFL is a week-to-week league. Right now, the Bills are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since Josh Allen’s rookie season in 2018. Should they find a way to do so—and that is clearly no given right now, considering the way the team is floundering their prime opportunity—things can break back in Buffalo’s favor in these models in a jiffy.
AFC playoff picture, Week 11
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||7-2||2-0||4-2||+64||W3|
|5||New York Jets||6-3||2-1||5-3||+20||W1|
|7||Los Angeles Chargers||5-4||2-1||4-2||-28||L1|
|8||New England Patriots||5-4||1-1||4-2||+37||W2|
|15||Las Vegas Raiders||2-7||1-2||2-5||-23||L3|