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A look at Buffalo Bills’ playoff chances vs. other 7-6 AFC teams

Six teams are fighting for maybe two spots

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

There are four weeks to go in the 2023 NFL regular season and AFC has a logjam in the race for Wild Card playoff seeding, where it’s anyone game to be had. There are so many teams within striking distance and none have officially clinched their divisions.

The Cleveland Browns currently hold the fifth seed with their 8-5 record, but they’re also starting their fourth quarterback of the year in Joe Flacco. After that, there are six teams sitting at 7-6. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and Cincinnati Bengals are currently without their starting quarterbacks. The Houston Texans have C.J. Stroud in the concussion protocol.

Meanwhile the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills are hoping to get hot at the right time to make a run at things. With so much chaos being set up for the end of December and into the new year, there’s no telling which team will rise to the occasion when the dust settles in Week 18. Those six teams with the same record won’t all finish the season tied, and in Week 14 eight underdog teams won their games outright.

What are the Bills’ chances of re-claiming that last Wild Card spot, or even winning the AFC East for the fourth straight time?

Let’s look at each 7-6 team’s remaining schedule.

Weeks 15-18

Buffalo Bills Cincinatti Bengals Denver Broncos Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills Cincinatti Bengals Denver Broncos Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Pittsburgh Steelers
Dallas Cowboys Minnesota Vikings @Detroit Lions @Tennessee Titans Steelers @Colts
@LA Chargers @Steelers New England Patriots Cleveland Browns @Atlanta Falcons Bengals
New England Patriots @KC Chiefs LA Chargers Tennessee Titans Vegas Raiders @Seattle Seahawks
@Miami Dolphins Cleveland Browns @Vegas Raiders @Colts Texans @Baltimore Ravens

For the Buffalo Bills, the best-case scenario is to win out and finish 11-6. They, along with the Denver Broncos, have a slight advantage because the four remaining 7-6 teams will play one among that grouping at least once the rest of the way.

On the flip side, the Bills and Broncos both face some of the best in the NFC for Week 15, with Denver playing the Detroit Lions and the Bills facing the Dallas Cowboys.

If Buffalo drops one additional game and finishes 10-7, there’s still a chance for them to make it to the postseason, but they would need some real help. With the Bills’ subpar conference record, they hold no tie breakers against the other contenders. The Buffalo Bills’ losses earlier this season to the Cincinnati Bengals and Broncos could prove detrimental should Buffalo finish tied with either at season’s end.

As for the Bills’ chances at capturing a fourth-straight AFC East crown? It still feels too early to entertain such thoughts given their record, and with the Miami Dolphins two games ahead of them. Still, revisiting that idea of Buffalo winning out while the Dolphins find a way to lose at least two of four to close the regular season would give the Bills a head-to-head tie breaker with two wins against Miami in their pocket.

The first order of business is of course taking care of what the Buffalo Bills can influence. One week at a time has never meant more this season. Buckle your seat belts, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.