AFC Playoff Picture: Bills Can Move Into The 3 Seed Today

Last week, the Bills won a crucial matchup against the New England Patriots and ceased control over the AFC East. While the Bills can’t win the division today, they can clinch a playoff spot and move from the 4 seed to the 3 seed in the conference. Let’s take a look at the current AFC standings.

AFC Standings

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

Three AFC East teams in playoff position going into Week 17 is not something many saw coming seven week ago when the Dolphins sat at 1-7. This morning the Bills hold down the 4th seed in the conference. While it would take a ton to fall into their laps for the Bills to finish as the 2 seed for the second straight year, a reasonable expectation for the Bills would be the 3 seed. Let’s dive into today’s games and see just how it could happen.

Atlanta @ Buffalo
The Bills have worked their way back from the final playoff spot to the lead in the division in just two weeks. The Bills are two wins away from winning their second straight AFC East. First, they have to handle their business against the Falcons. If the Bills lose, they have to hope the Patriots lose at least one of their final two games against the Jaguars or the Dolphins.

Kansas City @ Cincinnati
Here is where Bills fans have a choice to make. The 1 seed is still in play for the Bills, but it would take the Chiefs and Titans to lose out, and the Bengals to lose their finale next week. That is unlikely to happen, but let’s look at the remaining schedules for each team anyway.

Kansas CityCincinnatiTennessee
@ CINvs. KCvs. MIA
@ DEN@ CLE@ HOU

If you think both the Chiefs and Titans can lose out and the Bengals can lose to the Browns, then root for the Chiefs to keep the Bills’ slim chances for the 1 seed alive. If you don’t think the aforementioned could happen, root for the Chiefs to beat the Bengals today. While it would eliminate the Bills’ chances at the 1 seed, it would move the Bills to the 3 seed in the conference.

Las Vegas @ Indianapolis
Bills fans would be wise to want to avoid the Colts in the first round of the playoffs. If the Bills can inch their way to the 3 seed, their chances of seeing the Colts in the wild card round drop. Root for the Colts today. As a preventative measure in case the Bills lose one of their final two games, the Raiders losing would help the Bills’ chances to sneak in as a wild card team.

Miami @ Tennessee
For the Bills to pass the Titans, they have to hope they lose their final two games. This one is easy, root for the Dolphins today.

Jacksonville @ New England
While the Bills hold the tiebreaker against the Patriots, they have no wiggle room. A Jaguars win would “allow” the Bills to falter against the Falcons and still win the division next week with a win against the Jets.

LA Rams @ Baltimore
The Bills can clinch their 4th playoff berth in the last 5 seasons with a win and a Ravens loss. Root for the Rams to help the Bills clinch today.

Denver @ LA Chargers
This doesn’t move the needle much for the Bills, but I would root for the Broncos. That would make it unlikely the Chargers would pass the Bills for a wild card spot if it came to that. A Broncos win would also keep them alive and thus increase their desire to beat the Chiefs next week, a result the Bills might still need for the 1 seed.

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh
This game won’t impact the Bills and their seeding, but the winner would stay very much alive in the AFC North. The question becomes what team would the Bills rather meet in the playoffs: the Steelers or Browns? Personally, I would rather see the Bills play the Browns at some point in the playoffs so I will be rooting for Cleveland.

There it is Bills fans, your rooting interests for Week 17. There is a good chance the Bills clinch a playoff berth by the end of the day today and an even better chance they finish the year higher than their current position of the 4 seed. We will break it all down next week as we wrap up the regular season.

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