The Bills got the win they needed Thursday night at MetLife Stadium with a hard-fought 22-17 win over the Jets to pull even with their division rival at 5-4. Heading into today's slate of NFL games, Buffalo holds the fifth of six AFC playoff spots.
"When you really look at the grand scheme of things it was a big win for us," said LeSean McCoy. "It really was. Now the picture looks a lot better for us. You look back on some of the games we should've won that we didn't. Now we're going to move forward and winning the last two games we've got to keep that going. We have to. We have another big game coming up this week. We've got to come in and play."
Here's a look at what the Bills and their fans should be pulling for in terms of outcomes in games involving AFC clubs who are in contention.
Games of high importance
Cleveland (2-7) at Pittsburgh (5-4) – Sunday 1 pm The situation:The Steelers squeaked out a 38-35 win over Oakland, but lost QB Ben Roethlisberger to a foot injury and he's unlikely to play on Sunday. That means Landry Jones will start against the Browns. Cleveland is reeling, losers of four in a row. Head coach Mike Pettine has been coy about who is starting at quarterback, but it's expected to be Johnny Manziel with Josh McCown still not healthy.
What to root for:Buffalo's former defensive coordinator could do the Bills a huge favor with an upset win over the Steelers. That would drop Pittsburgh to a .500 record at 5-5 and more importantly a 2-5 conference record.
Minnesota (6-2) at Oakland (4-4) – Sunday 4:25 pm The situation:The Raiders need to bounce back from a tough three-point loss at Pittsburgh last week. Oakland has to tighten up their run defense after giving up 170 rushing yards to DeAngelo Williams. They host Adrian Peterson and a Vikings team that is expected to have QB Teddy Bridgewater back in the lineup after suffering a concussion last week.
What to root for:You want Adrian Peterson to duplicate DeAngelo Williams' performance of a week ago to control the game and not put too much on Bridgewater. A Vikings victory would drop the Raiders under .500 and put them a full game behind the Bills.
Games of moderate importance
Miami (3-5) at Philadelphia (4-4) – Sunday – 1 pm The situation:Miami is trying to rebound after dropping back-to-back division games to New England and Buffalo. Winless in the AFC East (0-4) so far this season time is running out fast for the Dolphins. The Eagles are fresh off a dramatic overtime win over the Cowboys in Dallas.
What to root for:Realistically the Bills don't need help from Philadelphia in this matchup. Buffalo has the season sweep over Miami, so they've got the Dolphins on the head-to-head tiebreakers. But Rex Ryan's bunch certainly wouldn't refuse an Eagles victory Sunday.
Kansas City (3-5) at Denver (7-1) – Sunday – 4:25 pm The situation: The Chiefs have just a 2-2 conference record, but their last eight games are all against AFC opponents including Buffalo in Week 12 at Arrowhead. The matchup with the Broncos is one of five remaining for Kansas City in their AFC West division. Meanwhile the Broncos are coming off their first loss of the season on the road at Indianapolis in Week 9.
What to root for:With Denver far and away the best team in the AFC West it's best at this point to root for the Broncos to keep rolling and win the West, and put the Chiefs further in the Bills rearview mirror of AFC Wild Card competitors.
Houston (3-5) at Cincinnati (8-0) – Monday – 8:30 pm The situation:The Bengals are one of three remaining unbeatens with the Patriots and Panthers. As a result their conference record is a perfect 7-0 and they're a perfect 3-0 in the AFC North. The Texans however, are just struggling to level their record. Houston is coming off a win last week over Tennessee under interim head coach Mike Mularkey (20-6).
What to root for:Much like the case with Denver and Kansas City it's best to root for Cincinnati to keep winning to again put another AFC Wild Card threat further behind Buffalo. The Bills will get a head-to-head opportunity against the Texans in Week 13 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.