AFC Playoff Picture: Week 13

A lot changes in the NFL every week, and last week’s lineup of games were no exception to that.  Some interesting things have developed in the standings and the Bills again find themselves with an opportunity to end their 17-year playoff drought.  Honestly, it is not a great opportunity, but there is some hope.  Thanks to their 3-game losing streak, the Bills no longer control their own destiny.

Here is a look at where things currently stand:


Overall, here are 3 different ways for the Bills to make the playoffs if they finish 9-7:

  1. Jacksonville wins the AFC South, Tennessee loses as much as possible.
  2. Baltimore finishes 8-8
  3. LA Chargers win the AFC West and Kansas City or Oakland finish 9-7

With those three pathways in mind, let’s take a look at the important games for this week:

New England @ Buffalo
A win here would make the Bills front runners for the final wild card position, in my opinion.  Sadly, I doubt they will win.

Houston @ Tennessee
Houston didn’t come through for us on Monday night, but we need to pull for them again.  As previously stated, we should be rooting against the Titans every week.

Kansas City @ NY Jets
In order for the LA Chargers to win the West, we need Kansas City to continue to lose. The Jets have played everyone tough this year, let’s see if the Jets can pull one out this week to help the Bills.

Indianapolis @ Jacksonville
Due to the AFC conference record tie-breaker, Jacksonville winning the AFC South is better for the Bills.  So, I would say root for the Jags here.

Detroit @ Baltimore
Root hard for Detroit in this one.  The Bills beating out Baltimore for the final Wild Card spot is the easiest path to the playoffs for the Bills.

Cleveland @ LA Chargers
Again, it is better for the Chargers to win their division.  Root for them in this one.

NY Giants @ Oakland
The Bills hold the tie-breaker against the Raiders, so we should want Oakland to not win the division (so the tie-break will actually matter).  Root for new starting quarterback Geno Smith and the Giants in this one.

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Root for the Steelers here.  The Bills cannot finish with the same record as the Bengals if they want to make the playoffs.

There ya go!  If things go the way outlined, then the Bills will be in a good spot heading into two winnable games against the Colts and Dolphins.  Follow me on Twitter @m_lafave for more analysis!

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