The AFC Wild Card race still has a number of contenders left with four games to play. Buffalo currently sits in the eighth spot with only the top six in the AFC advancing to the postseason. The Bills could use some help this weekend to improve their position in the standings and with potential tiebreakers. Of course it's all assuming the Bills can not only post a win Sunday, but in the weeks that follow. Here's a look at what Bills fans should be pulling for on Sunday.
Games of high importance
Pittsburgh (7-5) vs. Cincinnati (10-2) – Sunday 1 pm The situation:The Steelers are coming off a resounding win over the Colts last week as their offense looks to firing on all cylinders. Their defense however, faces a stiffer test in a Bengals offense that ranks fourth in the league in points per game and will be playing on their home field where they're 5-1. Fortunately Cincinnati has a lot to play for with home field advantage in the AFC playoffs on the line.
What to root for:One of the primary teams in Buffalo's path to a Wild Card berth, the Bills need Cincinnati to post a win over the Steelers. That would not only drop Pittsburgh into a tie with a victorious Bills team Sunday at 7-6, but it would prevent the Steelers from gaining a tiebreaker edge over Buffalo in common games, should tiebreakers get that far.
Tennessee (3-9) vs. New York Jets (7-5) – Sunday 1 pm The situation:The Jets are coming off a dramatic overtime win over the Giants last week that kept them a game ahead of Buffalo. The Titans meanwhile won a shootout over Jacksonville by a count of 42-39 for their third win of the season. Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota will have a tough time on his hands Sunday if the Titans can't run on the league's top ranked run defense, especially without top WR Kendall Wright in the lineup.
What to root for:Obviously a Jets loss would do wonders for the Bills with New York currently sitting in the sixth and final playoff position. If Buffalo and New York finish with the same record the Bills currently have the head-to-head tiebreaker edge. So a Titans upset would be a welcome result.
San Diego (3-9) vs. Kansas City (7-5) – Sunday 1 pm The situation:The Chargers are coming off an anemic offensive performance last week when they managed just three points in a two-touchdown loss to Denver. Now they have their second meeting against the Chiefs, a team the injury-riddled Chargers lost to by 30 just three weeks ago. Kansas City currently holds the top Wild Card seed and has a very healthy 6-2 conference record.
What to root for:Buffalo is obviously rooting for San Diego to pull the upset at Arrowhead, but the Chiefs will have to tank down the stretch for the Bills to move ahead of them knowing that Kansas City has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Buffalo due to their Week 12 win.
New England (10-2) vs. Houston (6-6) – Sunday 8:20 pm The situation:Losers of two straight the banged up Patriots have fallen to the third seed in the AFC playoff picture and are desperate to get back on the winning track. The Texans meanwhile are just every bit as hard pressed for a win of their own after falling to the Bills in Buffalo last Sunday. With New England's injury situation they're eager to earn a bye for the first week of the postseason to get all their key players healthy.
What to root for:As hard as it might be, it's best if the Patriots beat the Texans. A seventh loss for Houston would essentially put them too far behind in the Wild Card race to be a threat to the Bills assuming of course that Buffalo wins Sunday and in the weeks to come.
Games of moderate importance
Indianapolis (6-6) vs. Jacksonville (4-8) – Sunday 1 pm The situation:The Colts are coming off a humiliating loss at Pittsburgh where they were blown off the field and lost by 35 points (45-10). It looks like Matt Hasselbeck will start again at quarterback for the Colts on Sunday against a Jacksonville team that lost a shootout with the Titans by just three last week (42-39).
Who to root for:A Jacksonville win wouldn't do much to help Buffalo, but it would complicate the situation at the top of the AFC South division. The Colts and Texans are both 6-6, but Indianapolis has the head-to-head tiebreaker on them right now. Buffalo has the head-to-head tiebreaker on both teams so if the Bills were tied with one of them at season's end, they'd have the edge.
Oakland (5-7) vs. Denver (10-2) – Sunday 4:05 pm The situation:Denver is coming off their second straight win under young QB Brock Osweiler as the Broncos beat the Chargers (17-3). With home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs on the table, the Broncos will be pushing for a victory. The Raiders playoff hopes are on life support, but their conference record of 5-4 keeps them a part of the conversation.
Who to root for:Another loss for the Raiders is what Bills fans want here. Denver will be the likely AFC West division champ, so an Oakland loss would just about take them out of the Wild Card equation.