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Plenty on the line tonight for both Bills and Bengals

The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots will be watching this one closely, as well

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The football world has but one game to watch tonight, and it’s the potentially-epic Monday Night Football showdown between the 12-3 Buffalo Bills and the 11-4 Cincinnati Bengals. The game features elite players on both sides of the ball, headlined by MVP-candidate quarterbacks Josh Allen and Joe Burrow, and will showcase two teams with excellent chances at representing the AFC in Super Bowl LVII.

There’s a lot on the line for both teams in this game — so much so that it’s actually difficult to remember each and every potential ramification from the game’s outcome. We’re here to help with that — not just for Bills fans, but for fans of the Bengals, the Kansas City Chiefs, and even the New England Patriots.

What a Bills win would mean

  • Buffalo would improve to 13-3 and re-claim the current No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture
  • Cincinnati would fall to 11-5 and need a Week 18 home win over the Baltimore Ravens to clinch the AFC North title
  • With a two-game lead over the rest of the conference, the Bills and the Chiefs would be assured of finishing no worse than the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs, with the AFC North winner claiming the No. 3 seed
  • Buffalo’s chances at clinching the No. 1 seed would jump from 46% to 82%, per The New York Times playoff simulator; remember that the Bills are 3-0 in home playoff games all-time under head coach Sean McDermott, 0-4 in away playoff games, and 6-0 after bye weeks
  • The Bills would be able to clinch the No. 1 seed — and its home-field advantage and first-round bye — with a home win over the Patriots in Week 18; the 8-8 Patriots can clinch a playoff berth themselves with a win over Buffalo next weekend
  • With the Chiefs playing the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18 on Saturday afternoon, the Bills could potentially have the No. 1 seed wrapped up (with a Chiefs loss) before they even play, leading to a potential starters-resting situation for the Patriots to navigate
  • Buffalo would have head-to-head victories over seven of the 10 teams still in contention for the postseason — the Chiefs, the Bengals, the Ravens, the Patriots, the Miami Dolphins, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Tennessee Titans

What a Bengals win would mean

  • Buffalo would fall to 12-4 and slide down to the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture
  • Cincinnati would improve to 12-4, clinch the AFC North title, move up to the No. 2 seed, and have head-to-head victories over both the Bills and the Chiefs (as well as the Steelers, Dolphins, Titans, and Patriots)
  • Cincinnati would be able to clinch the top seed with a Week 18 win over Baltimore and a Chiefs loss to the Raiders
  • Buffalo’s chances at clinching the No. 1 seed would fall to 10%, per The New York Times playoff simulator, while Kansas City’s chances would rise to 63%, and Cincinnati’s would rise to 26%
  • In order to clinch the No. 1 seed in Week 18, the Bills would need Kansas City to lose in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon first, then would need a win over the Patriots and a Bengals loss to the Ravens the following day
  • New England could face the possibility of playing a Bills team resting its starters in Week 18 if the Chiefs are able to clinch the No. 1 seed on Saturday afternoon

AFC playoff picture, Week 18

1 z — Kansas City Chiefs 13-3 5-0 8-3 +109 W4
2 z — Buffalo Bills 12-3 3-2 8-2 +157 W6
3 z — Cincinnati Bengals 11-4 2-3 7-3 +85 W7
4 Jacksonville Jaguars 8-8 3-2 7-4 +50 W4
5 x — Los Angeles Chargers 10-6 2-3 7-4 +10 W4
6 x — Baltimore Ravens 10-6 3-2 6-5 +46 L1
7 New England Patriots 8-8 3-2 6-5 +29 W1
8 Miami Dolphins 8-8 2-3 6-5 -7 L5
9 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 2-3 4-7 -52 W3
11 Tennessee Titans 7-9 3-2 5-6 -57 L6