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Despite huge win, Buffalo Bills stick at 11 in AFC Playoff Picture

The Bills can’t climb into a spot, but it’s real close.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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 nabbed a huge win on Sunday and most of the teams in the AFC Playoff Picture lost, but there was no immediate impact for Josh Allen’s squad. The Bills are stuck at 11th in the AFC and on the outside looking in.

In very good news, they are tied for 6th in the AFC with a lot of Wild Card teams set to face each other in the coming weeks.

Before we get into the standings, I wanted to remind you that once teams enter a tiebreaker, they keep whittling teams away until one is left on the top. Then it completely restarts. That’s going to matter a lot this week. Here is how the NFL explains it:

Note: If two clubs remain tied after one-or-more clubs are eliminated during any step, tiebreaker restarts at Step 1 of two-club format. If three clubs remain tied after a fourth club is eliminated during any step, tiebreaker restarts at Step 2 of three-club format.

So if Teams A, B, and C are tied and C is eliminated in a tiebreaker, A & B go back to the beginning. Then when Team A wins, Teams B & C go all the way back to the beginning and start over. You’re constantly solving for ONE team, then going back.

The Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans still have to play on Monday night, but it won’t directly impact the Bills right now. Go Titans!

AFC Standings

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

* In the multi-way tiebreaker at 7-6, you need to get down to one team per division first. Pittsburgh has a win over Cincinnati, Indianapolis has a win over the Texans. The Steelers and Colts move on to the first group of the tiebreaker.

+ Once we get to the Steelers, Colts, Broncos, and Bills, it goes to AFC record. The Steelers and Colts are both 5-4, so they go against one another. Pittsburgh (6 seed) wins on record in common games. Indianapolis, Denver, Buffalo, and now Cincinnati go to a four-way tiebreaker, which the Colts (7 seed) and their 5-4 AFC record win. The Broncos, Bills, Bengals, and Texans now go to a four-way tiebreaker, which the Texans (8 seed) win on their 4-4 AFC record. The Broncos, Bills, and Bengals go to a three-way tie, and the Bills & Broncos advance based on their AFC record before Denver (9 seed) beats Buffalo thanks to a head-to-head win. Buffalo and Cincinnati go to a head-to-head tiebreaker, which the Bengals (10 seed) win thanks to their victory over the Bills (11 seed).

# The Chargers and Raiders go to an AFC West tiebreaker first, which the Chargers win because they’ve beaten Las Vegas. The Chargers and Jets go to a tiebreaker and Los Angeles (12 seed) wins that head-to-head, as well. The Raiders and Jets go to a tiebreaker, which the Raiders (13 seed) win on head-to-head. The Jets are 14th.


Monday night hypotheticals

  • If Miami wins on Monday, they are the one seed based on AFC record.
  • If Miami loses, they remain the two seed.