AFC Playoff Picture: Week 12

I almost feel dirty writing an article this week about the playoff position.  Over the past three weeks it has been clear that the Buffalo Bills are nowhere near a playoff-caliber team.  But…things can change in a hurry in the NFL.  This is a weak year for the AFC, it is almost certain that a 9-7 team will make the playoffs (possibly even 8-8).  With that being said, the Bills need to get back to their winning ways quickly if they want a realistic shot of ending the 18-year drought.  The problem is, their next two games are against pretty good teams, the Chiefs and Patriots.  5-7 is staring them right in the face.

Here is a look at where things stand:

week 11

For the first time this season, the Buffalo Bills are not in a playoff spot.  Honestly, I am impressed that they held on to spot for the first 11 weeks of the season.  Despite that, the Bills no longer control their own destiny.  If the Bills want to find themselves back in the top 6, they will need to see Baltimore start racking up the losses, as well.

Important Week 12 games:

LA Chargers @ Dallas
Thanks to the blowout last weekend, the Bills do not have the tiebreaker with the Chargers, meaning they could be a risk at 9-7 or even 8-8.  Root for Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.

Buffalo @ Kansas City
This one will be tough.  Although the Chiefs have been going in the wrong direction since their 5-0 start, they will still embarrass the Bills unless the Bills actually show up for the first time in a month.  Peterman, Tyrod…it doesn’t matter.  This team has been historically bad over the past month.

Cleveland @ Cincinnati
Same situation as the LA Chargers.  Due to not having the tiebreaker against the Bengals, it would be best if Cleveland (yeah, right…) won this game.

Tennessee @ Indianapolis
It seems unlikely that the Titans do not hold onto the first wild card spot, but until they have it locked up, the Bills should hope that they continue losing.  Root for the Colts in this one.

Miami @ New England
It remains to be seen how the Bills will fare against the Dolphins.  The Pats sending them 3 games below .500 would benefit the Bills.  It pains me to say it, but we should root for the Patriots here.

Carolina @ NY Jets
Look what happens when the Bills don’t take care of the games that they were supposed to win?  Losing to the Jets means we have to hope New York loses more games, which is likely, but still annoying that it has to be considered.  Root for Carolina.

Denver @ Oakland
At one time, this game meant a ton, not only to these two teams, but also to the Bills.  Now…not so much.  The Bills have the tiebreaker against both of these teams, so for that reason I would root for the team with the worst record, which is Denver.

Jacksonville @ Arizona
This one probably doesn’t mean much since the Jaguars seem ready to win the AFC South, but in the event that things go belly-up for them they could be a wild card contender with the Bills.  Root for the Cardinals in this one.

Houston @ Baltimore
This is easily the biggest game of the weekend, even if the Bills lose.  Keeping pace with the Ravens, who seem to be the biggest threat to the Bills, is essential.  If the Ravens lose here it is possible that an 8-8 team could make the playoffs in the AFC, which is surreal.

As you can see, there are a ton of games that have implications for the Bills.  But the two most important games this week are the Chiefs/Bills and Ravens/Texans.  If those two games go in their favor, the Bills will once again be in a great shot to end the drought.  Follow me on Twitter for more analysis, @m_lafave.

 

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