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Buffalo Bills get massive help in AFC Playoff Picture during Week 14

A lot of underdogs won in Week 14.

NFL: Miami Dolphins 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.


That’s how I’ve been explaining the AFC Playoff Picture to anyone who asks. Week 14 certainly played into that with underdogs winning throughout the conference, and those underdogs really helped Buffalo.

In addition to the Bills’ win, the Miami Dolphins fell on Monday night, meaning the Bills are just two games out of the lead in the division. Thanks, Tennessee! The New England Patriots and New York Jets both won, which normally wouldn’t be fun for us, but they both beat teams that were sitting in playoff spots ahead of Buffalo. Thanks Jets & Patriots! The Cincinnati Bengals even pulled out a win over the Indianapolis Colts, who were in a playoff spot, too. There are now six teams tied for the sixth and seventh spots in the AFC, and that group includes the Bills.

About the only game that didn’t go Buffalo’s way was the Los Angeles Chargers losing to the Denver Broncos. Denver has a tiebreaker over the Bills.

The best part about all of this? Most of those 7-6 Wild Card teams have multiple games against each other. They can’t all make a run.

Anyway, the Bills are one game out of 5th in the AFC and tiebreakers away from the 6th and 7th spots. The Dolphins have a tough stretch of games upcoming and it seems to be pointing toward a major Week 18 showdown between Buffalo and Miami for the AFC East crown.

AFC Standings

1. Baltimore Ravens (10-3)
2. Miami Dolphins (9-4)
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# (5-8)
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, Jets, and Titans go to a tiebreaker and Los Angeles wins that with a better AFC record. The Raiders join the Titans and Jets in a tiebreaker, which the Raiders win on AFC record. Then the Jets beat the Titans on Strength of Victory tiebreaker.