Chase for the #1 Seed: An Uphill Climb

Last week I wrote that if the Bills somehow lost to the Jaguars, then we shouldn’t have any business thinking about the number 1 seed. While that may be true, until the seeding is official and the Bills still have a chance at the top spot, I will keep plugging along, as frivolous at it may seem. Week 9 was disastrous for the Bills in a few ways. Not only did they fall another game behind the Titans, the Titans defeated the Rams in what is, on paper, the easiest remaining game for them. Getting in front of the Titans will be tough and will be something we monitor until January.

AFC Standings

  1. Tennessee 7-2
  2. Baltimore 6-3
  3. LA Chargers 6-3
  4. Buffalo 5-3
  5. Las Vegas 5-3
  6. Pittsburgh 5-3
  7. New England 5-4
  8. Kansas City 5-4
  9. Cleveland 5-4
  10. Cincinnati 5-4

To underscore just how much things can change, only three weeks ago the Cincinnati Bengals were in the top spot in the conference sitting at 5-1 and coming off of a signature win against the Ravens. Three weeks later, they are on the outside looking in. The conference will be fun to watch in the coming weeks.

Baltimore 10 @ Miami 22 – (F/Thursday night)
The Dolphins gave the Bills a giant gift on Thursday night, giving the Ravens their third loss of the season. The Ravens are at risk of losing their division lead this weekend and would fall out of the top 4.

Buffalo @ NY Jets
After the blunder in Jacksonville, the Bills’ margin for error is extremely small. I’d suspect the Bills could lose only 1, possibly 2 more times if they want to finish the season at the top of the conference. For all intensive purposes this game is a must-win for the Bills and many expect them to bounce back in this one.

New Orleans @ Tennessee
I was shocked to see the Titans dominate the Rams last weekend. Losing Derrick Henry did not slow down the Titans last week, but you have to think that at some point it will. You can’t lose the player that your entire offense runs through and not have some hiccups. Once again, with the easiest remaining schedule in the league, by a laughable margin, the Saints are one of the toughest games the Titans have left. Root hard for the Saints in this one.

Cleveland @ New England
Welcome back to the division race, New England. With the Patriots a half game behind the Bills and two head-to-head games between the two still to be played, it would be better for the Bills’ AFC East hopes for the Browns to knock off the Patriots on Sunday.

Detroit @ Pittsburgh
After beating the Bills in Week 1 and quickly losing three straight games to drop to 1-3, many Bills fans put the Steelers on the back burner as not a serious threat in the conference. Thanks to a 4 games wining streak, Pittsburgh has reemerged. If the Steelers win this game they will improve to 6-3 and take over 1st place in the AFC North from the Ravens. They would then jump the Bills because of the head-to-head tiebreak from Week 1. This is a big game for the Steelers and while it is unlikely that Dan Campbell’s team can knock them off, we have learned to expect anything is possible this year.

Minnesota @ LA Chargers
The Chargers are locked in quite the battle for the AFC West. All four teams have 5 wins at this point. The Bills’ hope to stay in front of the winner if the AFC West is that the teams pick up as many losses as possible along the way. To that end, we should be rooting for the Vikings here.

Kansas City @ Oakland
Both teams have brutal remaining schedules. The Chiefs have the hardest, with their remaining opponents posting a .612 winning percentage. Root the Chiefs in this game for tie-breaking purposes. According to the rules, if two teams do not play head-to-head then conference record is the second tiebreak. Right now, the Raiders are 4-1 against the AFC and the Chiefs are 1-4. The Bills are 4-3. Buffalo already holds the tiebreak against the Chiefs, but the tiebreak with Raiders will be AFC record, a record that the Bills are already behind in. Root for the Chiefs here and drop the Raiders to drop to 4-2 in the conference.

There are your rooting interests for Week 10. Wins from the Bills and Saints win would be an excellent weekend from this standpoint. The Bills have made the hunt for the 1 seed very difficult, but with half of season to go there is plenty of time for movement in the AFC. Follow us on Twitter at @Buff_Authority.

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