AFC East Playoff Picture: Bills Get Help, Control Destiny Once More

The Bills missed a major opportunity last weekend to control their own destiny and win the AFC East on their own accord. Luckily for them, the Colts provided them another opportunity to do so by defeating the Patriots 27-17 Saturday night. Can the Bills use the help that was given to them and make one final push for the division title?

AFC Standings

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

As of now, the Bills are clinging to the final playoff spot in the AFC. Even if the Bills win today, they might drop out of the top 7 for this week because the teams below them have an AFC matchup, whereas the Bills don’t, and could pass them temporarily in conference record. Despite what the standings may look like at the end of the week, the Bills still control their own destiny for the AFC East and a playoff berth.

Carolina @ Buffalo
The Bills have to take care of their own business for any of this to matter. The Bills are 4 games from a division title and they must win out if they want to do so.

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh
Weeks ago, the Bills had a legitimate shot at passing the Titans. That opportunity is gone and if the Bills are to pass the Titans, Tennessee would have to lose 3 of their final 4 games. That is highly unlikely to happen and since the Steelers also hold the tiebreaker against the Bills, and are closer to them in the standings, the Steelers losing today creates some space between the two. I’d root for the Titans in this one.

Cincinnati @ Denver
With both teams sitting at 7-6, this is a huge matchup in the AFC playoff landscape. The Bills did not play the Bengals or the Broncos this year, so the tiebreaker for seeding will the record in conference games. Right now the Bills are 5-5 in the conference. Cincinnati is 5-3 and Denver is 3-5. If the Bengals win and go to 6-3 in the conference, it will be tough for the Bills to gain the head-to-head advantage on them. Denver is the way to go in this one.

Green Bay @ Baltimore
The Bills are one game behind the Ravens in win/loss column, and both are 5-5 in the conference. If the Ravens lose to the Packers it increases the odds that the Bills could pass them if the Bills win the AFC East and the Ravens win the AFC North. Root for the Packers if you have the 3 seed in the AFC as your long term goal.

Las Vegas @ Cleveland
If Cleveland wins, they will match the Bills conference record at 5-5 and the next tiebreak would be common games, a tiebreak that the Bills still hold on them for the moment. For AFC Wild Card contingency plans, root for the Raiders to win and get the Browns to 7 losses on the year.

The most important game is always your own, but it is impossible to not recognize what the Patriots’ loss did for the Bills last night. If the Bills take care of business today, next week against the Patriots will most likely be for the division title.

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