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Buffalo Bills Week 14 rooting interests to help them in AFC Playoff Picture

Some AFC playoff teams are playing each other this week.

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 still have multiple paths to the postseason with a Miami Dolphins team that can’t beat teams with a winning record (except the Bills, you know), and a Wild Card race that is absolutely wild — and QB injuries are wreaking havoc around the league. The teams currently in spots four through seven are all playing backup quarterbacks as are the 10th-place Bengals.

Before we get to the rooting interests, here are the current standings:

AFC Standings

1. Miami Dolphins (9-3, 6-2 AFC)
2. Baltimore Ravens (9-3, 6-3 AFC)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4, win over JAX)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4. loss to KC)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers+ (7-5)
6. Cleveland Browns+ (7-5)
7. Indianapolis Colts+ (7-5)
8. Houston Texans+ (7-5)
9. Denver Broncos (6-6, win over BUF)
10. Cincinnati Bengals (6-6, win over BUF)
11. Buffalo Bills (6-6, loss to DEN, loss to CIN)
12. Los Angeles Chargers (5-7, win over LV)
13. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7, loss to LAC)
14. New York Jets (4-8, SOV better than TEN)
15. Tennessee Titans (4-8, SOV worse than NYJ)
16. New England Patriots (2-10)

+ In a multi-team tiebreaker, you first use divisional tiebreakers to get to one team per division. Pittsburgh and Cleveland go to a divisional tiebreaker, which the Steelers win based on their AFC North record. Indianapolis and Houston go to a divisional tiebreaker, which the Colts win based on head-to-head record. After the divisional tiebreakers, the Steelers and Colts go to a tiebreaker which Pittsburgh wins on record in common games to claim 5th. With the Steelers eliminated, the Browns and Colts go to their tiebreaker. Cleveland has a win over Indianapolis to slot in 6th. Then we revert back to Indianapolis and Houston, which the Colts win to stay 7th. Houston is 8th.

The games are presented in order of importance for the Bills and I’ve marked the home teams.

Buffalo Bills over Kansas City Chiefs (H)
Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m. EST

The Bills have a bad AFC record, so this could help them on multiple fronts. It’s unlikely the Bills pass the Chiefs in the standings, but a Buffalo win puts them one game from doing just that. A win moves the Bills from a 15% chance to make the playoffs to 27%, but a loss drops them to just 5%.

Tennessee Titans over Miami Dolphins (H)
Monday Night Football

The Bills need the Dolphins to lose two games plus Week 18 if Buffalo has any shot of catching them. They still play the Ravens and Cowboys, so a path forward is still very possible. A loss to the Titans would be even better.

New England Patriots over Pittsburgh Steelers (H)
Thursday Night Football

Listen, I’m not rooting for the Patriots, I’m rooting against the Steelers. We could really use Pittsburgh falling out of Wild Card position.

New York Jets (H) over Houston Texans
Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m. EST

Listen, I’m not rooting for the Jets, I’m rooting against the Texans. Houston is currently tied for the final Wild Card spot.

Jacksonville Jaguars over Cleveland Browns (H)
Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m. EST

The backup QB bowl! The Browns are currently in a playoff spot while the Jags are in the lead in the AFC South. The reason this one isn’t higher is because of how close the AFC South is, and the Jags could fall into the Wild Card race themselves. The play right now is to get Cleveland out of position.

Los Angeles Chargers (H) over Denver Broncos
Sunday, December 10, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Chargers are out of it but the Broncos hold a tiebreaker over Buffalo. No-brainer.

Cincinnati Bengals (H) over the Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m. EST

This seems counterintuitive, because the Bengals have a tiebreaker over Buffalo and the same record, but the Colts are a game ahead of both teams and currently in playoff position. This will help the Bills get into the mix.

Los Angeles Rams over Baltimore Ravens (H)
Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m. EST

With the Ravens ahead in the AFC North, the NY Times simulator doesn’t even rate this game. I’m still going to call it for the Rams and an NFC team taking down an AFC team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Atlanta Falcons (H)
Las Vegas Raiders (H) over Minnesota Vikings
Dallas Cowboys (H) over Philadelphia Eagles

These three rooting interests are for the Strength of Victory tiebreaker way down the list. Buffalo has beaten the Bucs and Raiders and has the potential to beat (and probably need to beat) the Cowboys.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants

Buffalo doesn’t have a direct rooting interest in these games. You can root for the Giants to win to push up Buffalo’s 5th-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft if you really want to.

With a win and a lot of luck, Buffalo can move up into the 40% range with these Week 14 outcomes. No matter what happens in Week 14, the Bills won’t be in playoff position by Tuesday morning, so it’s going to be a slog.