The Bills can clinch the No. 2 seed in the AFC Sunday, with two potential paths to get there.
The first is simple. Beat the Dolphins, and the Bills clinch the No. 2 seed and a second home playoff game should they advance past the wild-card round. If the Bills lose to the Dolphins, they would still clinch the No. 2 seed with a Browns win against the Steelers.
If the Bills and Browns both lose Sunday, the Bills would go into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed.
That leaves a variety of potential playoff opponents on the table, as Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, and Indianapolis all can finish anywhere from fifth to seventh.
Here is a look at the games to keep an eye on entering the final week of the regular season, with a few outcomes that could result in the Bills playing each opponent. Check out the tweet from @NFLResearch later in the article for all 32 potential outcomes. All matchups have been calculated using The New York Times’ playoff simulator.
Buffalo at Miami – 1 p.m. on CBS
The situation: Bills coach Sean McDermott has not announced whether starters will play. The Dolphins clinch a playoff berth with a win or with losses by any of the Ravens, Browns, or Colts (among other combinations).
How the Bills could play the Dolphins: A Buffalo win combined with victories by Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis would slot Miami as the No. 7 seed.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland – 1 p.m. on CBS
The situation: The Steelers will rest multiple starters despite still having a shot at the No. 2 seed, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Browns can clinch a playoff berth with a victory, otherwise they would need some help.
How the Bills could play the Browns: If Buffalo wins and earns the No. 2 seed, a Cleveland loss combined with an Indianapolis loss would set up a wild-card matchup between the Bills and Browns. The Bills and Browns would also play each other if Miami, Baltimore, and Cleveland all win Sunday.
Baltimore at Cincinnati – 1 p.m. on CBS
The situation: The Ravens have several combinations that can get them into the playoffs, but the simplest is a win over the Bengals. Losses by either the Browns or Colts would also clinch a playoff berth for the Ravens.
How the Bills could play the Ravens: If Buffalo wins against Miami, a Baltimore loss combined with victories by Pittsburgh and Indianapolis would set up a Bills-Ravens playoff game.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis – 4:25 p.m. on CBS
The situation: The Colts can still win the AFC South with a victory or tie Sunday combined with a Titans loss. A loss to the Jaguars would eliminate the Colts from playoff contention.
How the Bills could play the Colts: If the Bills win, the following combination would set up a matchup with the Colts: Baltimore win + Cleveland win + Tennessee win + Indianapolis win. If the Bills lose, it would require the same recipe but with a Cincinnati win over Baltimore.
The Bills and Colts could also meet in a No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup with the following results: Miami win + Cincinnati win + Pittsburgh win + Tennessee win + Indianapolis win.
Tennessee at Houston – 4:25 p.m. on CBS
The situation: The Titans clinch the AFC South with a win or a loss by the Colts. Their potential paths to the playoffs also include losses by either the Ravens or Dolphins, among other combinations.
How the Bills could play the Titans: Combined with a Buffalo win, Tennessee would finish as the No. 7 seed with the following results: Baltimore win + Cleveland win + Houston win + Indianapolis win.
A Miami win combined with victories by Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, and Indianapolis would also set up Bills vs. Titans.
Here's one more. Wins by Miami, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Indianapolis would set up a No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup between the Bills and Titans.