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AFC playoff picture, Week 9: Buffalo Bills receive plenty of help

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The Buffalo Bills are on the cusp of entering the AFC playoff field after Week 9, and could end up squarely in it with a win and help in Week 10.

After moving up during their bye week, the Buffalo Bills (4-4) took an even bigger step in the AFC playoff picture this week after defeating the Miami Dolphins (3-5) in convincing fashion. They also received some help from Pittsburgh along the way, and are primed to jump into playoff position if they can beat the New York Jets on Thursday night.

The biggest game affecting the Bills' playoff chances was the Jets' tilt with Jacksonville. New York won to move to 5-3, keeping them in fifth place in the AFC, but with Buffalo traveling to New Jersey this week, the Bills can leapfrog their AFC East foe with a win.

Elsewhere in the AFC, Pittsburgh (5-4) beat Oakland (4-4) to even them with the Bills at four losses on the season. The Steelers are without Ben Roethlisberger for at least a week before hitting their bye. Kansas City and Houston were idle, and stay a game behind Buffalo at 3-5.

(For a refresher on tiebreakers, head to NFL.com - 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.)

Standings

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. New York Jets (5-3)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)
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T7. Buffalo Bills (4-4, 4-3 AFC)
T7. 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)

It boils down to this: if Buffalo beats New York, they both move to 5-4, with the Bills holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. With Buffalo's 5-3 AFC record and Oakland playing Minnesota, Buffalo would have the edge on Oakland and be in playoff position in sixth place at worst. At best, Buffalo could be in fifth place by 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday with a win and some help.