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Buffalo Bills enter AFC Playoff Picture and control their own destiny to postseason

The Bills finally control their own destiny in the playoffs again.

Buffalo Bills v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/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 got two outcomes they needed on Saturday and are now in control of their own destiny to the postseason. It’s a Christmas miracle!

First, the Pittsburgh Steelers knocked off the Cincinnati Bengals. That gave the Bengals their 7th loss of the season, moving them behind the Bills in the standings to join Pittsburgh at 8-7. Before the Bills even kicked off, they knew that if they won out, they would be in the postseason. As Josh Allen said before the game, “Just get the W.”

The Bills got the W, but it wasn’t easy. Style points don’t count, though. The Bills are in control of their own path to the playoffs. If they beat the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, they are in. If the Bills do that and Miami loses to either the Dallas Cowboys or Baltimore Ravens, the Bills are hosting a playoff game in Buffalo as the AFC East champs.

The Indianapolis Colts play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and the Houston Texans play the Cleveland Browns, so Buffalo could be back in 8th place and out of a playoff spot by Christmas. But with the rest of the AFC Wild Card teams playing each other in the last three weeks, Buffalo has many paths to the playoffs, too. They don’t have to be perfect. For right now, they are in position and in control, so we get to relax for a few days.

Here are the AFC standings heading into Christmas Eve:

AFC Standings

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

x - Baltimore has clinched a playoff spot
* The first tiebreaker is the AFC South. The Jaguars win the division tiebreaker thanks to head-to-head record vs Houston and Indianapolis. Indianapolis has the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Texans, so the Colts are in the final playoff position for now.
e - The Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Patriots have been eliminated from the postseason.