AFC Playoff Picture: Week 4

Well, well, well…the Buffalo Bills sit at 1st in the division and 2nd overall in the conference at the quarter mark of the season.  The best start in 6 years has fans cautiously optimistic.  I like the grounded feel coming from One Bills Drive, even with the early season success.  Here is a look at where the AFC stands after Week 4, and some important games for us to watch this weekend.

First, the overall AFC playoff picture.  Luckily for the Bills, every desired scenario for them came to fruition in Week 3 and now the playoff picture looks great for the team, but the draft pick situation looks a little bleak.  Remember, that the Bills also have the Chiefs 1st round pick this year, and it figures that it’s the same year the Chiefs and Bills are 1 and 2 in the standings.  A lot can change over the next 12 weeks though.


Obviously, a lot to like here if you are a Bills fan.  First, the Bills 3-1 record is the best in their division, and the 2-0 AFC record is a key tiebreaker.  Another column that I think Bills fans should be proud of is SOS (strength of schedule); the Bills are playing a tough schedule this year, which makes their 3-1 record all the more impressive.

Important Week 5 games:

New England @ Tampa Bay

Big game for the AFC East picture (which may be in play??).  I still think the Patriots will pull it together to win the division, but another loss for the Patriots and the chance for the Bills to go 2 games up on them would be pivotal for the Bills playoff chances.

Buffalo @ Cincinnati

Obviously, a HUGE game here for the Bills.  A win here would bump their conference record to 3-0 and improve their record to 4-1 at the bye.  Any game when you sit two games above .500 take on special importance.  That is because a two-game swing is at risk.  A win puts the Bills three games above .500, and a loss puts them at just 3-2, just one game above .500.  This was why the game last year in Miami was so important for the Bills, who were 4-2 at the time.  A loss dropped them to 4-3, and we know the rest of the story.

NY Jets @ Cleveland

The result of this game doesn’t mean much to the Bills.  The Jets won’t be an issue, and neither will the Browns.  Maybe we should root for the Jets to keep winning so they can trick themselves into thinking that they don’t need to draft a QB?

Tennessee @ Miami

I would root for the Dolphins here.  The Bills still control their own destiny against the Dolphins, and a Titans loss would keep Tennessee, a wild-card contender, below them in the playoff standings.

Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh

I would root for Jacksonville here.  The Jags are not a serious contender, and in the two-team race of the AFC North, I would think it would benefit the Bills to jumble those teams up as much as possible, taking one out of the wild card race.

Baltimore @ Oakland

This one is hard.  The Bills play the Raiders, but do not play the Ravens.  The Raiders are better than the Ravens and will probably finish with a better record, even with the Derek Carr injury.  With Carr being out 2-6 weeks it would be better for the Bills if the Raiders struggled as much as possible while he is out.  So, root for the Ravens here.  (Sorry EJ).

Kansas City @ Houston

The Texans play somewhat of an easy schedule this year, and they are a playoff contender who the Bills do not play this year.  For that reason, I would root for the Chiefs.  The Chiefs are clearly playoff bound, so the best we can hope for is an early playoff exit.  Let them get their wins, and hopefully add another loss to a playoff contender along the way.

Hopefully the results play out the way outlined above and the Bills can increase their lead to two games within the AFC East.  What do you think Bills fans?  Do you agree with my rooting interests for Week 4?  Leave your comments below!

Follow me on Twitter: @m_lafave

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