Who To Root For

Where the Bills stand in the AFC Playoff picture | Week 12


It's that time of year in the NFL, time for the playoff push.

After the Bills' 28-25 win over the Lions on Thanksgiving, they now sit at 8-3 on the season and could potentially be in first place in the AFC East come the end of the weekend.

Buffalo also got help on Thanksgiving night as the Minnesota Vikings (9-2) beat the New England Patriots (6-5) by a score of 33-26. The Bills will travel to play the Patriots next week on Thursday Night Football to begin Week 13.

Starting now, and running through Week 18, we will be doing a weekly breakdown on the AFC Playoff race and where the Bills fit into that picture. Currently, here is where things stand for the Bills, according to the New York Times Playoff Simulator.

Chance to make playoffs: 97%

Chance to win division: 66% (Miami at 22%)

Chance for AFC No. 1 seed: 33% (Kansas City at 42%)

Chance to win Super Bowl: 16% (Kansas City at 16%)

There's still plenty of games to be played this weekend in the remainder of Week 12, so here are matchups to follow closely and who you need to root for.

Games with AFC East teams

Houston Texans (1-8-1) at Miami Dolphins (7-3) — 1 p.m. on CBS

The situation:

Miami has been in first place in the division since the conclusion of Week 9 after the Bills lost to the Jets. The Dolphins have rattled off four consecutive wins since QB Tua Tagovailoa came back from injury and are 14-point favorites at home against the Texans. 

Who to root for:

Root for the Texans. While unlikely, a Texans' upset victory would give Buffalo back the division lead and catapult them to the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

Chicago Bears (3-8) at New York Jets (6-4) — 1 p.m. on FOX

The situation: The Jets have made a midseason QB change, benching second-year pro Zach Wilson in favor of 27-year-old Mike White. Meanwhile in Chicago, QB Justin Fields dislocated his left shoulder last week against Atlanta and is a game-time decision to play.

Who to root for: Root for the Bears. The Bears are 6-point underdogs but there's reason to be optimistic about Chicago stealing a win. The Bears have had one of the best offenses in the league over the last month of play, averaging 29.6 points per game over their last five contests.

Playoff Machine Scenarios in AFC East

Scenario 1: Dolphins & Jets win — Buffalo's odds of winning the division would be 63%

Scenario 2: Dolphins & Bears win — Buffalo's odds of winning the division would be 64%

Scenario 3: Texans & Jets win — Buffalo's odds of winning the division would be 72%

Scenario 4: Texans & Bears win — Buffalo's odds of winning the division would be 77%

Race for the No. 1 seed:

Los Angeles Rams (3-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-2) — 4:25 p.m. on FOX

The Bills already have wins over the Titans (7-3), Ravens (7-3) and Chiefs (8-2), but KC owns the No. 1 seed in the AFC so we'll focus on their matchup this week.

The situation: Since losing to the Bills in Week 6, the Chiefs are riding a 4-game win streak. Meanwhile, the defending Super Bowl champions are in a tail-spin and have lost 6 of their last 7 games.

Who to root for: Root for the Rams. The Chiefs are heavy favorites (-14.5) and the Rams are playing backup QB Bryce Perkins so it may be tough for LA to get a win.

Playoff Machine Scenarios for No. 1 seed:

Scenario 1: Rams win — Buffalo's odds of securing No. 1 seed grow to 42%

Scenario 2: Chiefs win — Buffalo's odds of securing No. 1 seed drop to 30%

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