The Buffalo Bills have already earned their Week 12 win, in the form of their 28-25 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Detroit Lions, so Sunday’s viewing is all about rooting for the optimization of that win in the AFC playoff picture.
This morning, before Sunday’s games kick off, the Bills are in sole possession of first place in the AFC East, and a half-game behind the Kansas City Chiefs for the top spot in the conference. Here’s what Bills Mafia should be rooting for to happen today (and tomorrow night) so that the Bills can keep their division lead, as well as climb even higher in the conference.
AFC playoff picture, Week 12
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||8-2||3-0||5-2||+67||W4|
|7||New York Jets||6-4||2-2||5-4||+13||L1|
|8||New England Patriots||6-5||2-1||5-2||+37||L1|
|9||Los Angeles Chargers||5-5||2-2||4-3||-31||L2|
|12||Las Vegas Raiders||3-7||2-2||3-5||-17||W1|
Denver Broncos (3-7) at Carolina Panthers (3-8) — 1:00 p.m. EST, FOX
AFC vs. NFC will nearly always mean rooting for the NFC team from Buffalo’s perspective, and this is no different. The more AFC teams that are eliminated from playoff contention, the better for the Bills, and if you add in some Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson schadenfreude, this is a no-brainer.
Root for a Panthers win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) at Cleveland Browns (3-7) — 1:00 p.m. EST, FOX
Here’s another AFC-NFC no-brainer, which is saying a lot, given that Tom Brady is playing in this game. If you happen to watch this game, enjoy watching future Josh Allen backup Jacoby Brissett. Cleveland will become unwatchable once he returns to the bench.
Root for a Buccaneers win.
Baltimore Ravens (7-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) — 1:00 p.m. EST, CBS
Buffalo holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Ravens, which is good, because the rest of Baltimore’s schedule is a layup line. One of the final seven teams they play has a winning record right now. It would be convenient, however, if they stumbled somewhere along the way. How about this week?
Root for a Jaguars win.
Houston Texans (1-8-1) at Miami Dolphins (7-3) — 1:00 p.m. EST, CBS
This one should be obvious. Miami’s schedule has been cake, and while it is about to become a bit tougher, the Bills need them to accrue every loss possible. Perhaps old friend Jerry Hughes can channel his Buffalo youth into some game-changing plays this weekend.
Root for a Texans win.
Chicago Bears (3-8) at New York Jets (6-4) — 1:00 p.m. EST, CBS
This is another obvious one. If quarterback Justin Fields (shoulder) can play, the Bears can legitimately give the Jets problems. The Jets will also debut a new starting quarterback of their own in this one in Mike White. His last start was a four-interception gem against the Bills last season.
Root for a Bears win.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) at Tennessee Titans (7-3) — 1:00 p.m. EST, CBS
The less I have to think about Ryan Tannehill finger-rolling in the end zone, the better my blood pressure will be. Buffalo does have a head-to-head tiebreaker on Tennessee, but they also can earn that against Cincinnati in Week 17. It’s better if the Bengals can bring the Titans back to the pack a bit this week.
Root for a Bengals win.
Atlanta Falcons (5-6) at Washington Commanders (6-5) — 1:00 p.m. EST, FOX
A matchup between two NFC teams? You can safely ignore this one, unless you’re worried about tiebreakers buried way down on the list. If you are worried about such things, a Falcons loss would weaken strength of victory for both Cincinnati and the Chargers.
Root for a Commanders win.
Los Angeles Chargers (5-5) at Arizona Cardinals (4-7) — 4:05 p.m. EST, CBS
AFC vs. NFC again. The Chargers have not been able to close the gap on Kansas City in the West, so rooting for their demise has added flavor for Bills fans once again.
Root for a Cardinals win.
Las Vegas Raiders (3-7) at Seattle Seahawks (6-4) — 4:05 p.m. EST, CBS
More inter-conference shenanigans. Seattle is fun. The Raiders are not. And given how badly the Bills have struggled with No. 1 receivers of late, let’s make certain that Davante Adams is not in the postseason, shall we?
Root for a Seahawks win.
Los Angeles Rams (3-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-2) — 4:25 p.m. EST, FOX
Oh, Rams. You were a treat to beat in Week 1 as the defending Super Bowl champions. Do us one more favor this week, and channel your championship pedigree into the biggest upset of Week 12. Kansas City only has two games featuring opponents with winning records remaining on their schedule.
Root for a Rams win.
New Orleans Saints (4-7) at San Francisco 49ers (6-4) — 4:25 p.m. EST, FOX
We’re spelunking for reasons to care about an all-NFC matchup again, and strength of victory is where we find gold. A Saints loss weakens strength of victory for both Cincinnati and Baltimore.
Root for a 49ers win.
Green Bay Packers (4-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) — 8:20 p.m. EST, NBC
Green Bay’s season is on the brink. Buffalo has already beaten them. Aaron Rodgers and his broken thumb may have a little magic left in the tank, and a win would improve Buffalo’s strength of victory, which has taken a serious hit in recent weeks.
Root for a Packers win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7) at Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1) — 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN
By the same logic above, a Steelers win here would do more for Buffalo, given that the Bills have already beaten Pittsburgh this season. Add in sweet, sweet justice for daring to fire Buffalo legend Frank Reich, and we have reason to hope for a blowout.
Root for a Steelers win.