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Who To Root For

Who to root for | Where the Bills stand in the AFC Playoff Picture for Week 13


As disappointing as the Week 12 OT loss to the Eagles was, there's still a path for the Bills to make a run at a playoff spot.

Buffalo has a bye in Week 13 but there are plenty of important AFC matchups taking place.

Here's who Bills fans should be rooting for in Week 13 to improve Buffalo's playoff chances using the New York Times Playoff Machine.

Where the Bills stand

Record: 6-6

Current AFC Seed: 10th (Top 7 make the playoffs)

Current chance of reaching playoffs: 15%

A look at the AFC Standings

As Week 13 begins, here's where things stand in the AFC:

  1. Ravens (9-3)
  2. Chiefs (8-3)
  3. Jaguars (8-3)
  4. Dolphins (8-3)
  5. Steelers (7-4) — 1st Wild Card
  6. Browns (7-4) — 2nd Wild Card
  7. Colts (6-5) — 3rd Wild Card

On the outside:

  1. Texans (6-5)
  2. Broncos (6-5)
  3. Bills (6-6)

Tiebreaker rules for Wild Card teams

  1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.

Note: The Bills can not improve their seeding in Week 13, regardless of this week's results due to not holding any tiebreakers over teams above them.

Week 13 games to watch

Cardinals (2-10) at Steelers (7-4)

Who to root for: Root for the Cardinals

Why: With the Steelers holding one of the three wild card spots, a Pittsburgh loss would give the Bills a better chance at catching them. A Steelers loss would increase Buffalo's playoff odds to 19%.

Colts (6-5) at Titans (4-7)

Who to root for: Root for the Titans

Why: The Colts currently hold the last wild card spot and a loss to Tennessee would drop them to the same record as the Bills. However, due to a better conference record, Indianapolis would remain ahead of Buffalo in the AFC.

A Colts loss would increase the Bills' playoff odds to 20%.

Broncos (6-5) at Texans (6-5)

Who to root for: Root for the Texans

Why: The result of this game won't necessarily have a major impact on the Bills' playoff odds, but it will still be important for potential tiebreakers in seeding. AFC tiebreakers for non-division teams is determined by head-to-head result then conference record. 

A Broncos loss would give Denver and Buffalo the same AFC record (3-5), though Denver still owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills.

Bengals (5-6) at Jaguars (8-3)

Who to root for: Root for the Jaguars

Why: As previously mentioned, the Bills can not improve their seeding while on a bye. However, they could still drop further down in the AFC standings. A Bengals win would improve their record to 6-6 and move them ahead of the Bills due to a head-to-head tiebreaker.

Worst case scenario

A Steelers win + a Colts win + a Broncos win + a Bengals win would decrease Buffalo's playoff odds to 10%. In this scenario, the Bills would drop to the 11th seed in the AFC.

Best case scenario:

A Steelers loss + Colts loss + Broncos loss + Bengals loss would increase Buffalo's odds marginally to 22%. In this scenario, Buffalo would remain the 10th seed in the AFC.

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