The Buffalo Bills can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture in Week 17 with a Monday Night Football road win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and a little help from an also-ran in the AFC West.
Buffalo enters Week 17 in possession of the top seed in the conference. They’re tied with the Kansas City Chiefs at 12-3 overall, but hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs thanks to their 24-20 win at Arrowhead Stadium back in Week 6. The Bengals, meanwhile, are 11-4 and nipping at both teams’ heels, and also already own a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs.
The Bills can clinch the top seed in the playoffs next weekend if the following two things happen:
- Kansas City loses to the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon
- Buffalo beats Cincinnati on Monday night
When Buffalo and Cincinnati square off next week, the two longest winning streaks in the conference will be on the line; Buffalo has won six straight games, while Cincinnati has won seven straight. Meanwhile, the Chiefs host the 4-11 Broncos, who have already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention to close out a desperately disappointing campaign.
A Bills win in Cincinnati would put them at least two games ahead of both AFC North contenders, the Bengals and the 10-5 Baltimore Ravens, with one game to play — meaning that they would not be able to finish lower than the No. 2 seed in the conference. If that hypothetical Bills win is preceded by a Chiefs loss at Arrowhead Stadium, the Bills would have a one-game lead in the standings plus the head-to-head tiebreaker, giving them the top-seed clinch.
We’ll leave you to ruminate about the likelihood of that scenario coming to pass in the comments section below. Merry Christmas, Bills fans!
AFC playoff picture, Week 17
|1||z — Buffalo Bills||12-3||3-2||8-2||+157||W6|
|2||z — Kansas City Chiefs||12-3||4-0||7-3||+106||W3|
|3||x — Cincinnati Bengals||11-4||2-3||7-3||+85||W7|
|5||x — Baltimore Ravens||10-5||3-1||6-4||+49||W1|
|6||x — Los Angeles Chargers||9-6||2-3||7-4||-11||W3|
|8||New England Patriots||7-8||2-2||5-5||+27||L2|
|9||New York Jets||7-8||2-3||5-6||+2||L4|
|12||Las Vegas Raiders||6-9||3-2||5-6||-2||L1|