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Buffalo Bills need to wait until Week 18 to clinch playoff spot

The Bills didn’t get the help they needed this week, at least in the Wild Card race.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
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 beat their opponent in Week 18, but didn’t get the help they needed to clinch a playoff spot.

In the early window, the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts both easily won their games, eliminating one potential clinching scenario for the Bills. In the late window, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to beat the Seattle Seahawks, effectively ending Buffalo’s clinching scenarios for Week 18.

The Bills still need some help in the final week of the season or a win against the AFC East-leading Miami Dolphins to clinch a playoff spot.

If the Bills want to back into the playoffs in Week 18 without a win, here are the (“normal”) ways for it to happen:

  • Jaguars loss (play Titans, who have been eliminated)
  • Steelers loss (play Ravens, who have clinched their spot)

In short, the Bills need to win to get into the postseason. Even after their excellent run in December.

AFC Standings

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

* - Baltimore has clinched the first-round bye and the one seed.
z- Kansas City has clinched the AFC West
x - Miami and Cleveland have clinched a playoff spot
# - First, the AFC South tiebreaker applies which Jacksonville wins based on head-to-head record against Houton and Indianapolis. That dumps Houston and Indianapolis into the Wild Card tiebreaker with Pittsburgh. Indianapolis has a win over Houston, so the Colts and Steelers go to a tiebreaker and Indianapolis wins on head-to-head. Houston and Pittsburgh go to a tiebreaker, and the Texans have a win over Pittsburgh
e - The Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Patriots have been eliminated from the postseason. The Broncos, Bengals, and Raiders joined them in Week 18.