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AFC playoff picture: Week 10 Buffalo Bills rooting interests

The Buffalo Bills will enter Week 11 as one of two leaders in the AFC wild card race. They could still use some help in their playoff push. Here's who to root for this weekend after the Bills' big win in prime time.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

It was only Week 10, but the Buffalo Bills won what amounted to a must-win game on Thursday Night Football, dealing a loss to the AFC wild card-leading New York Jets and moving into the top position in the race with seven games left. The Bills now have 10 days off before facing the AFC East-leading New England Patriots.

On a Sunday without Bills football, who should fans root for? We have the full rundown for you below.

(For a refresher on tiebreakers, head to - but we'll also do our best to explain them here, too. We won't go all the way down to the fifth and sixth tiebreakers and just call it a tie, at least for now.)


1. Cincinnati Bengals (8-0, 7-0 AFC)
2. New England Patriots (8-0, 6-0 AFC)
3. Denver Broncos (7-1)
4. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
5. Buffalo Bills (5-4, head-to-head win over NYJ)
6. New York Jets (5-4, 4-3 in AFC)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4, 2-4 in AFC)
8. Oakland Raiders (4-4, 4-3 AFC)
9. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5, 2-2 AFC)
10. Miami Dolphins (3-5, 2-5 AFC, head-to-head win over HOU)
11. Houston Texans (3-5, 2-3 AFC, head-to-head loss to MIA)
T12. Baltimore Ravens (2-6, 2-4 AFC)
T12. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6, 2-4 AFC)
14. San Diego Chargers (2-6, 1-4 AFC)
15. Tennessee Titans (2-6, 0-5 AFC)
16. Cleveland Browns (2-7)

Who to root for

Cleveland (2-7) over Pittsburgh (5-4)
Sunday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. ET

The game most Bills fans should be circling is here. The Steelers are the only team that can pass the Bills in the playoff standings this week. A win puts them to 6-4 and the No. 5 wild card spot. (Buffalo would still be sixth.) Pittsburgh does not have an easy road, but without Ben Roethlisberger, could the Steelers be looking ahead to their bye?

Minnesota (6-2) over Oakland (4-4)
Sunday, November 15, 4:05 p.m. ET

The late game with the most significance. A Raiders loss to a NFC team would be a great pick-up for the Bills. Teddy Bridgewater is expected to suit up for the 6-2 Vikings, and the Bills have the conference tiebreaker on Oakland for now, so even if the Raiders pull out the home win, they can't pass Buffalo this week.

Philadelphia (4-4) over Miami (3-5)
Sunday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. ET

With a two-game lead and a season sweep over the Dolphins, a sixth loss would mean Buffalo would have to fall to 9-7 for Miami to have any shot of passing them - and that's if the Dolphins can run the table. A loss to Philly effectively ends the Dolphins' threat to the Bills.

Denver (7-1) over Kansas City (3-5)
Sunday, November 15, 4:25 p.m. ET

Cincinnati (8-0) over Houston (3-5)
Monday, November 16, 8:30 p.m. ET

Similar to above, Chiefs and Texans losses to a team the Bills don't care about would knock them back far enough where they would be a non-factor. Buffalo will play both of these teams later in the season, so it's not crucial that the favored team wins, but it would be nice.

New York Giants (5-4) over New England (8-0)
Sunday, November 15, 4:25 p.m. ET

There's an argument to be made for having the Patriots win to increase Buffalo's strength of schedule, but I'm not making it. With a loss, New England would be three games up on the division with a battle in Foxboro looming next week. It's really low on the priority list at this point, but no one wants to root for the Patriots anyway.

Tennessee (2-6) over Carolina (8-0)
Sunday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. ET

Buffalo has a win in hand over the Titans, so a Tennessee win boosts the strength of victory and strength of schedule tiebreakers. Mike Mularkey and Tennessee would need to run the table to move ahead of the other AFC contenders.

Jacksonville (2-6) over Baltimore (2-6)
Sunday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. ET

This Jags win would boost Buffalo's strength of schedule tiebreaker.

Washington over New Orleans
Sunday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. ET

Dallas over Tampa Bay
Sunday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. ET

Buffalo will play Washington and Dallas later this season, and this would boost the Bills' strength of schedule tiebreaker.

Detroit at Green Bay
Chicago at St. Louis
Arizona at Seattle

These games don't matter in the grand scheme of things - or at least not right now, when we don't know which other contenders will falter in the AFC.

Byes: San Diego (2-7), Indianapolis (4-5), Atlanta (6-3), San Francisco (3-6)


Buffalo will be either fifth or sixth at the end of the week, with Pittsburgh being the only team that can pass them. If some of these other contests go Buffalo's way, it will only help them down the stretch.