AFC Playoff Picture: Week 8

As we reach the halfway point of the season, the Buffalo Bills have a tremendous opportunity in front of them to do something that no team has been able to do over the past 20 years. Bury the Patriots. A win on Sunday would effectively end all hope for Patriots as they would sit 3.5 games out of first place, not including a tiebreaker, with half a season to go. Furthermore, a win would put the Bills at 4-0 in the division, which is the inner-division tie-breaker if the head-to-head record was split. As always, a look at the standings:

AFC Standings:

1. Pittsburgh 6-0
2. Kansas City 6-1
3. Tennessee 5-1
4. Buffalo 5-2
5. Baltimore 5-1
6. Cleveland 5-2
7. Indianapolis 4-2

8. Miami* 3-3
9. Las Vegas 3-3

*I think this is the first time I’ve had to type Miami in the 3 years that I’ve been doing this. Good for them. Also, I can’t help but continue to worry about a potential 4/5 seed matchup in January where the 10-6 Bills are hosting the 12-4 or 13-3 Ravens or Steelers (whoever finishes 2nd in that division) in the first round of the playoffs. The benefits of climbing up to the 3 seed are huge. Unfortunately, due to the losses to the Titans and Chiefs, that road is much more difficult for the Bills.

Important Week 8 games:

New England @ Buffalo
Like I mentioned, the Bills can take a massive step towards their first AFC East title in 25 years with a win on Sunday. It won’t feel the same without taking down Brady, but it is well past time for the Patriots’ dynasty to end.

Tennessee @ Cincinnati
The Bengals have played much better than their 1-5-1 record indicates and are overdue for a win. With Joe Burrow looking like the real deal and the Titans defense struggling, an upset could be in the making in Ohio this weekend. For the Bills’ sake, let’s hope it is.

Las Vegas @ Cleveland
This game matters if you feel strongly about Cleveland and hope to avoid them in the playoffs. Similar to the Bills, the Browns are off to a fast start but play in best divisions in football that is on pace to send 3 teams to the playoffs. If you want to avoid Cleveland in the playoffs and prevent them from sliding up into the 2nd spot in the AFC North, root for the Raiders.

NY Jets @ Kansas City
Yeah, right. No chance an upset will happen here.

LA Rams @ Miami
The Bills should be rooting for the Rams in this one in case Buffalo loses to the Patriots. The Dolphins have a chance to make some noise in this second half of the season, and the Bills can influence if that noise will be for a Wild Card spot, or for an AFC East title.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore
This is the game of the week for the NFL. I believe the Steelers win last week actually hurt the Bills and their playoff seeding situation. The Ravens have a slightly tougher schedule than the Steelers in the second half of the season, so their path to the AFC North title is more challenging. The Steelers will still get the Bills head-to-head so Buffalo will have a chance to pick up a game on them later in the year. Both of these teams are incredibly tough, so it doesn’t move the needle much regardless of who wins. However, I think I will be rooting for Pittsburgh in this one – looking to push the Ravens down in the standings.

There they are. Your Week 8 rooting interests. Of course, none are bigger than the Bills opportunity to put another nail in the Patriots’ coffin. Let’s see how the week plays out and sort through the mess again next week.

Follow us on Twitter at @Buff_Authority and @m_lafave. Go Bills!

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