What Bills fans need to know about the AFC playoff race | Week 16

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This year the Bills didn't need any help getting into the playoffs. As Dion Dawkins said, they're "self-made" in 2019 versus 2017 when they had to rely on the Bengals to end a 17-year playoff drought. Well, if Buffalo wants a shot at the AFC East title and/or a bye, the Bills must take care of their last two games and rely on other teams to lose.

What needs to happen for the Bills to win the AFC East?

Buffalo must defeat the Patriots in Week 16 and the New York Jets in Week 17 and New England will need to lose to the Bills in Week 16 and the Miami Dolphins in Week 17 (based on the New York Times Playoff Picture)

What needs to happen for the Bills to get a first round bye?

Buffalo must defeat the Patriots in Week 16 and the New York Jets in Week 17 and New England will need to lose to the Bills in Week 16 and the Miami Dolphins in Week 17

And the Kansas City Chiefs need to lose at Chicago in Week 16 or vs. the Los Angeles in KC in Week 17 (based on the New York Times Playoff Picture)

What games should Bills fans watch if they want to scout potential playoff opponents for the Bills?

TEXANS (9-5, 4-3 Away) vs. BUCCANEERS (7-7, 2-4 Home) Saturday at 1:00 PM on NFL Network

Bills fans don't necessarily need to root for one team in this matchup because Buffalo's hopes of hosting a playoff game or getting a first-round bye doesn't ride on the outcome of this one. I'm previewing this game because as of right now, Houston, the leaders in the AFC South, would host Buffalo in the Wild Card round if the playoffs started this weekend. Houston also clinches the AFC South title with a win or a loss from Tennessee (vs. New Orleans at 1 pm on Sunday).

3 things to watch for ...

1. Houston opens as a three-point favorite against Tampa Bay, but the Bucs are on a four-game win streak. Not so great for Tampa Bay, receiver Mike Evans was placed on IR this week and Chris Godwin was ruled out with a hamstring injury. In the last six games, the Bucs offense has been unstoppable averaging 431.5 total yards per game which is best in the league. That's 63.8 more yards a game than Tampa Bay was averaging in the first six weeks. During that time, they have been scoring 31 points a game which ranks third in the NFL. We will see if the Bucs can be this productive without two of their offensive stars on the field.

2. The Texans have won the last five of seven. From the first six games of the season to the last six, Houston is averaging 46.5 less total yards a game. In that span, the Texans are averaging 21.5 points per game, good for 18th in the NFL. Overall Houston has the seventh ranked offense, even though the Texans have dipped the last several weeks, they are still a top 10 offense. The Texans are also one of few teams to have a 1,000-yard receiver and rusher in DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde.

3. Houston's defense is falling in the defensive rankings. At the beginning of the season they were allowing 22.3 points per game. In the last six games they rank 27th letting opponents score an average of 27.8 points per game and are 30th allowing teams to rack up 411.6 total yards per game. Tampa Bay's defense has done the opposite. In the first six weeks of the season, they ranked 22nd in yards allowed per game. In the last six weeks, the Bucs rank eighth in yards allowed per game and have six interceptions. One thing to note, both pass defenses this season have not been special — Tampa Bay is 30th and Houston is 28th against the pass.

1 guess on the outcome ..

These are two teams who have high-powered offenses, it will be a high-scoring game. I think this one comes down to a few things. First, how clean can Jameis Winston be? If he throws a few interceptions, can Houston turn it into points? Right now, the Bucs have the better defense. Houston has beat some great teams like the Patriots and the Chiefs. The Texans are more consistent when it comes to offense, but don't count the Bucs out, even without Evans and Godwin.

CHIEFS (10-4, 6-1 Away) vs. BEARS (7-7, 4-3 Home) on Sunday at 8:20 PM on NBC

If the Bills want to spend the first weekend of the postseason resting their legs, they will need Kansas City to fall in Week 16 or Week 17. The Chiefs need to lose one of the next two in order for this to be an option for the Bills. Buffalo also needs to win out, while the Patriots need to lose out in order for this to all fall into place.

3 things to watch for ...

1. From the outside looking in, these two teams appear to be quite different. Chicago lost four straight games between Week 5 and Week 9. The Chiefs are currently on a four-game win streak and are a six-point favorites in this contest. In the last six weeks, the Bears and Mitch Trubisky have found some success winning the last four of six. If you compare the first six games to the last six games, Chicago's offense is averaging 75.5 more total yards per game. If you can believe it, Trubisky only threw for three touchdowns in the first six weeks. Over the last six, he has thrown 12 touchdown passes.

2. When you look at Kansas City's offense, there has been some drop off from the beginning of the season, but it's not much. Their offense is still having a lot of success and has stayed in the top 10 in several categories all season. Over the last two games, they haven't put up as many points as usual but that's because they faced the Patriots and Broncos defense. The Chiefs scored 23 points in a win over the Patriots against a defense who gives up only 12.9 points per game. Kansas City ranks fourth averaging 28.1 points per game and is top five when it comes to total yards a game.

3. Chicago's defense has been talented all season with the help of Khalil Mack, but Kansas City's defense has sky-rocketed over the last several weeks. In the last four games, the Chiefs have allowed just 9.3 points per game which is the lowest in the NFL. This is quite a shock to a defense who ranked 27th in the first six games. Overall, Chicago's defense is eighth and is top-three in scoring defense allowing an average of 18.1 points a game.

1 guess on the outcome ...

Chicago's defense will make it tough for Kansas City to score, but they have had success against top 10 defenses this season. The Bears have found some life on offense, but the Chiefs have steadily scored with many players to use in their arsenal. The Bears will have to play their best game yet if they want a chance against the Chiefs.

FINAL THOUGHTS ...

To wrap it all up with a big holiday bow, the Bills need to beat the Patriots this weekend if they want a chance at the division and a first-round bye.

I felt good about the Week 4 matchup between the two, I feel good about this Week 16 game. This Bills defense travels well. The team is 6-1 on the road and gives up a low number of 14.4 points per game away from Buffalo.

Over the last six games New England's offense is averaging 20.3 points per game. New England's defense is still the best in the league, but over the last three games they've given up 21.3 points a game.

The Bills need to take care of the football and play a solid four quarters from all three phases to come out on top of this one.

Check out photos of the Bills as the team travels to New England during Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season. Suited Up is presented by Colvin Cleaners.

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