It's Week 14 of the NFL season and the Bills are back home this week, playing at Highmark Stadium for the first time since Week 10. The results of Week 13 created a perfect storm for the Buffalo Bills as they are now back in first place in the AFC East and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Buffalo's win over New England last Thursday, combined with Miami's loss to San Francisco and Kansas City's loss to Cincinnati, means the Bills control their own path in both the division and for a first-round bye in the playoffs with five games remaining.
Winning the AFC East remains the first priority, but it won't be an easy task as Buffalo hosts AFC East opponents the next two weeks (Jets, Dolphins) and four of their final five opponents are .500 or better.
Here's where things currently stand for the Bills in the AFC playoff race.
Chance to make playoffs: 99%
Chance to win AFC East: 80% (Dolphins at 15%)
Chance to earn AFC No. 1 seed: 51% (Kansas City at 30%)
Chance to win Super Bowl: 20% (Kansas City at 15%)
Here's matchups to watch and who to root for using the New York Times Playoff Simulator.
Matchups involving AFC East teams
Bills (9-3) vs. Jets (7-5) | Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS
The situation: The Bills are in the midst of a three-game winning streak and are playing their second of three divisional games in a row. The Jets beat the Bills earlier this season 20-17 but made a QB switch two weeks ago, opting to play Mike White over Zach Wilson. The Jets are 1-1 in those two games.
Who to root for: Of course, root for the Bills. The Bills can hold onto the division lead and the No. 1 seed with a win. A Bills loss opens the door for Miami to potentially retake the divisional race with a win.
Miami Dolphins (8-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) | Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC
The situation: The Dolphins lost last week for the first time since Week 6 and are on the road again, this time facing the Chargers in primetime.
Who to root for: Root for the Chargers. A Bills win + a Dolphins loss would give Buffalo a 2-game lead in the AFC East with four games remaining.
New England Patriots (6-6) at Arizona Cardinals (4-8) | Monday at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN
The situation: The Patriots have lost two straight but head to Arizona to face a Cardinals team that has dropped four of their last five games.
Who to root for: Root for the Cardinals. While the Patriots are a long-shot to win the division, they are still in Wild Card contention. If New England were to fall out of the playoff race during the final stretch, it could be advantageous for the Bills in their Week 18 home matchup against their division foe.
The major AFC East Scenarios to know:
A Bills WIN + Dolphins LOSS + Patriots LOSS = Buffalo's odds to win division would improve from 80% to 94% AND give Buffalo a 2-game lead in the division
A Bills WIN + Dolphins WIN + Patriots WIN = Buffalo's odds to win division stay at 80% and Buffalo would stay in 1st in AFC East
A Bills WIN + Dolphins LOSS + Patriots WIN = Buffalo's odds to win division would improve from 80% to 92% AND give Buffalo a 2-game lead in the division
A Bills LOSS + Dolphins WIN + Patriots WIN = Buffalo's odds to win division would drop from 80% to 53% AND Buffalo would go to 2nd place in AFC East
A Bills LOSS + Dolphins LOSS + Patriots LOSS = Buffalo's odds to win division would drop from 80% to 68% AND Buffalo would remain in 1st place in AFC East
Matchups involving other AFC Teams
Reminder: The Bills own wins for potential tie-breaking purposes over the Chiefs (1st AFC West), Titans (1st AFC South) and Ravens (1st AFC North). Buffalo plays at Cincinnati in Week 17.
Baltimore Ravens (8-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7) | Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS
The situation: The Ravens are 1st in the AFC North with a current head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincinnati. They will be without star QB Lamar Jackson against their rival.
Who to root for: Root for the Ravens. Because the Bills own a head-to-head tie-breaker over the Ravens, Baltimore holding onto the AFC North lead (with the Bills having a better record) gives Buffalo a potential cushion AFC seeding. A Ravens loss this week followed by a Bengals win would give Cincy the AFC North lead and give them the ability to leapfrog the Bills in the AFC with their Week 17 game in a few weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) at Denver Broncos (3-9) | Sunday at 4:05 on CBS
The situation: The Chiefs lost last week for the first time since Week 6, helping Buffalo reclaim the 1-seed. The Broncos are 9-point underdogs but the Chiefs have turned the ball over in 7 straight games and Denver boasts the second-best scoring defense.
Who to root for: Root for the Broncos. A Buffalo loss + a KC win would give the Chiefs back the No. 1 seed.
Best case scenario:
A Bills WIN + Dolphins LOSS + Patriots LOSS + Chiefs LOSS would give Buffalo a 93% chance to win the AFC East AND a 71% chance to get the AFC No. 1 seed. The Bills would then be 2 games up on Miami for AFC East lead and 1 game ahead of Kansas City for 1-seed.
Worst case scenario:
A Bills LOSS + Dolphins WIN + Patriots WIN + Chiefs WIN would give Buffalo a 53% chance to win the AFC East AND a 21% chance to get AFC No. 1 seed. The Bills would then drop to 2nd in the AFC East (5th seed in AFC) and Kansas City would move to No. 1 seed.
Check out the best practice photos from Wednesday's practice at 1 Bills Drive.