By the time the Bills kick off in their regular season finale against the New York Jets, they will know if they have a chance to move up to the 3 seed, or stay at the 4 seed. Of course, a loss today could drop them all the way to 7, but we are going to assume they beat the Jets while looking at these scenarios. All numbers below are courtesy of playoffstatus.com.
Scenarios for 3 seed
Bengals LOSE + Bills WIN
The only way the Bills can grab the 3 seed if if the Bengals lose to the Browns. Without that it cannot happen. If the Bengals lose to Cleveland, then the odds favor the Bills playing the Colts next week.
Likeliest Opponent in 3 seed: Colts 40%, Raiders 29% Patriots 20%
Scenarios for 4 seed
Bengals WIN + Bills WIN
Again, the Bills will know by kickoff if they have a chance at moving up at all. If they stay in the 4 spot New England is the overwhelming favorite to be their first round opponent next week.
Likeliest Opponent in 4 seed: Patriots 51% Raiders 32% Colts 17%
Games Of Importantance
Cincinnati @ Cleveland
This game will shift the odds of the Bills seeding and their opponent this week, as seen above. All eyes will be on this game in the early window.
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville
The scenarios above didn’t address the Colts losing to the Jaguars. If they do, it wouldn’t effect the Bills seeding, but much rather impact their chances to play the Colts next week. The Colts haven’t beaten the Jaguars in Jacksonville in 8 years, but given the seasons both teams have had I think they will break that streak today.
New England @ Miami
If the Patriots lose to the Dolphins, the chances the Bills play next week them drop dramatically. Similar to the Bills, the eyes of Patriot fans will be on the early game of Cincinnati @ Cleveland, as they can still win the AFC East and earn the 3 or 4 seed, themselves.
LA Chargers @ Las Vegas
This game is important right now, but there is a chance that by the time this game kicks off the Bills will already know their opponent. This game becomes irrelevant if every game goes in favor of the”better” team. If Cincinnati, Buffalo, New England, and Indianapolis win the Bills will play the Patriots and this game will not matter to them. The only way this game will matter to the Bills is if Bengals lose OR the Patriots lose.
Tl;dr – The Bills can’t move up if the Bengals win. If you are someone rooting to not play the Patriots next wee, then if Cincinnati beats the Browns, root for Miami to beat New England. Otherwise, the likeliest matchup will happen: the Patriots will travel back to Orchard Park for the rubber match.