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Buffalo Bills’ playoff leverage is massive in Week 11

The Bills could really use a win against the Jets. (Duh.)

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Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/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 could really use a win this week and an AFC win at that. Buffalo’s conference record is hurting them in multiple tiebreaker scenarios, so it’s a pretty important game.

Playoff leverage is a stat that takes the percentage chance of making the playoffs with a win and subtracts the percentage chance of missing the playoffs with a loss. Essentially, how much can your probability of making the playoffs change based on the results in a given week.

The Bills have the largest playoff leverage in Week 11, per Pro Football Focus. A win and the Bills move up to 45% chance of making the postseason. A loss, and they fall to just 13%. The Jets chances of making the playoffs are slightly less than Buffalo, but their playoff leverage for the week is similar.

The AFC North is all facing each other this week starting with Thursday night’s Ravens/Bengals contest and continuing to the Steelers/Browns game this weekend.

Buffalo’s record in the AFC East stinks, but that isn’t likely to matter on its own. If the Bills and Dolphins are tied, it will come down to head-to-head games first, and Buffalo will probably need to beat Miami a second time just to be tied with them overall.

It should be noted that other sites such as the New York Times Playoff Machine have the Bills odds lower than that, both right now and with a win.

Here are the complete AFC standings heading into 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.