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Buffalo Bills pass two in AFC Playoff Picture with win over Dallas Cowboys

The Bills have some work to do to make the postseason.

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Rich Barnes/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 have beaten two Super Bowl contenders in consecutive weeks to claw back into the AFC Playoff Race but they are still going to need some help. They got a helping hand in a couple contests in Week 15, but not everywhere, and moved from 11th to 9th.

The Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans both took their opponents to overtime, but the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans both won their games. They remain ahead of the Bills on tiebreakers. The Chicago Bears also lost late to the Cleveland Browns, who are a game ahead of the Bills in the Wild Card race.

In the AFC East, the Bills need the Dolphins to lose at least once. The Jets were shutout by the Miami defense on Sunday, but the Dolphins have games against some of the top teams in the NFL coming down the stretch, which will no doubt set up an epic Week 18 showdown. (The Patriots weren’t able to defeat the Chiefs.)

The Colts and Steelers were both in playoff position heading into the weekend and one of them had to win. The Colts pulled off that victory.

Helping the Bills were the Detroit Lions, who knocked off the Denver Broncos.

The Bills currently stand 9th in the AFC and tied for two playoff spots. They lose out on tiebreakers. If Buffalo keeps winning, they’ll be in the postseason. The Colts and Texans have one game against each other coming down the stretch, so one of them has to lose. The Bengals and Browns meet in Week 18, which sets up one of them to drop a game, as well.

Here are the AFC standings heading into Sunday night, where the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens face each other. It won’t impact the Bills this week, no matter who wins.

AFC Standings

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

x - Baltimore has clinched a playoff spot

* The first tiebreaker is the AFC South. The Jaguars win the division tiebreaker thanks to a superior AFC South record. Indianapolis and Houston move on to the Wild Card tiebreaker, where the Colts win over the Texans on head-to-head. Then the Colts, Bengals, and Bills go to a tiebreaker. Cincinnati has wins over Indianapolis and Buffalo, so they are 6th. The Bills and Colts go to a tiebreaker, which Indy wins on AFC record. The Bills and Texans go to a tiebreaker, which Houston wins on AFC record.

e - The Titans, Jets, and Patriots have been eliminated from the postseason.