Who To Root For

What Bills fans need to know about the AFC playoff race | Week 15


The Bills have won their first AFC East title since 1995. That said, there is still playoff positioning to be fought for over the final three weeks.

The New York Times playoff simulator only gives the Bills' a one-percent chance to claim the top seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. That can change Sunday depending on the outcome of the Chiefs' game in New Orleans. Their odds at the No. 2 seed, currently occupied by Pittsburgh, stand at 34 percent.

Here are the Bills' most likely season outcomes, according to The New York Times:

1.      Remain in the No. 3 seed (47 percent)

2.      Move up to the No. 2 seed (34 percent)

3.      Fall to the No. 4 seed (18 percent)

4.      Earn the No. 1 seed (1 percent)

Now, onto the remaining Week 15 games and how they affect the Bills' odds.

Moving up

Kansas City at New Orleans – 4:25 p.m. on CBS

The situation: The Chiefs are in the driver's seat to earn the No. 1 seed and the bye that comes with it, with an 87-percent chance. They face a Saints team battling to earn the top seed in the NFC and expecting to see the return of quarterback Drew Brees.

What to root for: A Chiefs loss, which would raise the Bills' odds for the No. 1 seed to a still-modest three percent. A win for the Chiefs would push the Bills' chances below one percent.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati – Monday at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

The situation: The second-seeded Steelers have lost two straight games and now lead the Bills by just one game in the standings (the Bills own the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to last Sunday's victory). They look to rebound against a Bengals team that is winless through three games without injured rookie quarterback Joe Burrow.

What to root for: A Steelers loss would increase the Bills' odds at obtaining the second seed to at least 64 percent (the number goes up combined with a Chiefs win). The odds fall to 37 percent, at best, with a Steelers victory.

Staying put

Detroit at Tennessee – 1 p.m. on CBS

The situation: The Titans lead the AFC South and occupy the fourth seed in the AFC, a game and a half behind the Bills. They own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills thanks to their matchup in Week 5.

What to root for: A Titans loss can decrease the Bills' odds of falling into the fourth seed to as low as five percent (depending on the outcome of the game between the Colts and Texans).

Houston at Indianapolis – 1 p.m. on CBS

The situation: The Colts are tied with the Titans with a 9-4 record, but the Titans hold the tiebreaker edge atop the AFC South.

What to root for: If the Titans win, the Colts' result has little bearing on the Bills' chances of falling in the standings. If the Titans lose, the Colts' result is of only minor significance - the Bills' chances of falling to the fourth seed would be single digits either way. But a Texans victory would be slightly favorable.

Take a look at the best photos following a win against the Broncos to clinch the AFC East division title.

Related Content