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Buffalo Bills Rooting Interests, Week 11: AFC North matchups dominate schedule

The AFC North locks horns and the AFC East-leading Dolphins have a surprisingly tough contest

NFL: SEP 17 Ravens at Bengals Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills didn’t help themselves in Week 10, falling to 5-5 on the season. Now they need some help to get back into playoff position in the AFC. With the AFC North locking horns this week — and all of them in the chase for the Wild Card round — here are the games you should be rooting for in Week 11, in order of importance.

Here are the complete AFC standings prior to Week 11:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
3t. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3*)
3t. Miami Dolphins (6-3*)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3, win over CLE)
6. Cleveland Browns (6-3, loss to PIT)
7. Houston Texans (5-4, win over CIN)
8. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4, loss to HOU)
9+. Indianapolis Colts (5-5, 4-3 AFC)
10+. Buffalo Bills (5-5, 2-5 AFC, win over LV)
11+. Las Vegas Raiders (5-5, 3-3 AFC, loss to BUF)
12#. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5, win over NYJ, 1-1 AFCW)
13#. New York Jets (4-5, loss to LAC, win over DEN)
14#. Denver Broncos (4-5, 1-2 AFCW, loss to NYJ)
15. Tennessee Titans (3-6)
16. New England Patriots (2-8)

* Jacksonville and Miami have identical Conference records.
+ The three-way tie between Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Las Vegas is resolved first by the AFC record (Colts are 4-3) then it goes to head-to-head between the Bills and the Las Vegas Raiders.
# In a three-way tie involving teams from the same division, the division tiebreakers are used first. Los Angeles wins over Denver based on division record, they go head to head with the Jets, who they beat in November. Once LA is eliminated, the Jets and Broncos are against each other, and the Jets won that contest.

Buffalo Bills over New York Jets
Sunday, November 19, 4:25 PM EST

The Bills probably need to go 6-1 (if not 7-0) down the stretch to make the playoffs in a loaded AFC. Right now they’re at a 20% chance to make the playoffs, per the New York Times, but a loss drops them to just 5%. Buffalo needs a win.

Las Vegas Raiders over Miami Dolphins
Sunday, November 19, 1:00 PM EST

The Raiders and Bills are tied, but Buffalo owns the tiebreaker. Buffalo’s likeliest path to the postseason is winning the AFC East anyway. The Raiders have turned it around under their new head coach, and this would be a statement win for them.

Arizona Cardinals over Houston Texans
Sunday, November 19, 1:00 PM EST

Did not expect to write this blurb, but the Texans are currently in Wild Card position. An NFC team knocking off an AFC team in position would be super helpful, and quarterback Kyler Murray and company didn’t look that rusty last week.

Baltimore Ravens over Cincinnati Bengals
Thursday Night Football

With the Ravens two games ahead of the Bills, and the Bengals a half-game ahead of Buffalo plus a tiebreaker, we’re trying to move past Cincy at this point. Go Ravens.

Minnesota Vikings over Denver Broncos
Sunday, November 19, 8:20 PM EST

If the Bills take care of their own business, this game won’t matter as Buffalo is a game in front of Denver. Still, if the Bills end up in some tie with the Broncos, they hold the tiebreaker.

Tennessee Titans over Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, November 19, 1:00 PM EST

The Titans are pretty much out of it, but the Jaguars could either fall back into the Wild Card race or Buffalo could potentially be looking to get ahead of them in the division-winner standings at the end of the year for seeding. Either way, it’s an easy call.

Green Bay Packers over Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, November 19, 1:00 PM EST

Go NFC team trying to knock off an AFC Wild Card team. Even one a half-game behind the Bills.

Cleveland Browns over Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, November 19, 1:00 PM EST

Normally this game would be higher on the list, but both teams are 6-3 and 4-2 in the AFC and in second place in their division. So it’s a matter of our wanting them both to lose. The New York Times gives the edge to the Browns in this one. It probably has something to do with the divisional record, where Pittsburgh is 2-0 and Cleveland is 2-2.

Seattle Seahawks over Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, November 19, 4:25 PM EST

There’s also an edge here and I can’t help but think it’s for some down-the-line tiebreaker like Strength of Victory and/or Strength of Schedule or even Record vs. Common Opponents in the AFC North fight.

Philadelphia Eagles over Kansas City Chiefs
Monday Night Football

Listen, everyone’s going to watch this game. Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are introducing their parents to each other at this game. Big deal. Oh yeah. If the Bills go 7-0 to get to 12-5, the Chiefs would have to lose two more games for Buffalo to pass them. This could definitely be one of them. It won’t help the Bills make the playoffs (in this scenario they’d be a lock), but would help playoff seeding, which is why it’s so low here. The Buffalo Bills’ first goal is make the dance.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, November 19, 4:05 PM EST

Not really going to come into play, but it’s a Strength of Victory win for Buffalo.

Dallas Cowboys over Carolina Panthers
Sunday, November 19, 1:00 PM EST

Helps Buffalo’s Strength of Schedule and potentially the Strength of Victory.

Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions
New York Giants vs Washington Commanders
Sunday, November 19, 1:00 PM EST

The Bills beat both the Commanders and Giants, so there’s no benefit there. In both of these intra-division contests, the Bills really have no rooting interests.