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Who To Root For

Who to root for | Where the Bills stand in the AFC Playoff picture for Week 15


Saturday night was a memorable one in Orchard Park as the Buffalo Bills won on the final play of regulation, beating the Dolphins 32-29 on a Tyler Bass game-winning field goal and clinching a 2022 AFC playoff berth in the process.

The Bills have a three-game lead in the AFC East with three games remaining and can lock up the division in Week 16 with a win over Chicago.

Here's where the Bills currently stand across the rest of the AFC playoff landscape using the New York Times Playoff Machine:

Chance to win AFC East: 99%

Chance to earn AFC No. 1 seed: 59%

There's still plenty of football to be played on Sunday in Week 15, so here are matchups Bills fans should have their eye on for playoff implications.

Matchups involving AFC East teams

Detroit Lions (6-7) at New York Jets (7-6) — 1 p.m. on CBS

The situation: The Lions have been on a tear since November as they have won five of their last six games (Thanksgiving vs. Buffalo the only loss) and are firmly in the playoff picture. The Jets will be going back to Zach Wilson at QB after Mike White was ruled out with a rib injury suffered against the Bills in Week 14:

Who to root for: Root for the Lions. The Jets can not win the AFC East but could still make the Wild Card round. The Jets have held the Bills to fewer than 21 points in both matchups this season, which would make for a difficult matchup if the Bills and Jets were to meet in the playoffs.

New England Patriots (7-6) at Las Vegas Raiders (5-8) — 4:05 p.m. on FOX

The situation: The Patriots beat the Cardinals on MNF last week to get back in the Wild Card hunt. The Raiders' three-game winning streak was snapped by the Rams last-minute win on TNF in Week 14.

Who to root for: Root for the Raiders. A Patriots loss hurts their chances at making the playoffs, something Bills fans would likely delight in.

Matchups involving other AFC teams

Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) at Houston Texans (1-11-1) — 1 p.m. on CBS

The situation: The Chiefs are still the No. 2 seed in the AFC behind the Bills and are 14.5-point favorites on the road in Houston. Even with a Kansas City win, the Chiefs can not move ahead of the Bills this week for the No. 1 seed.

Who to root for: Root for the Texans. While unlikely, a Texans win would boost Buffalo's chances of earning the No. 1 seed to 76%.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) — 4:25 on CBS

The situation: The Bengals have won five in a row and can move into first place in the AFC North with a win over the Bucs. Tampa Bay is still fighting for the NFC South title.

Who to root for: Root for the Bucs.

This is where it gets tricky for Bills fans. The Bengals are a legitimate threat to get the No. 1 seed and play the Bills in Week 17. But the Bengals being a Wild Card team increases the chances of the Bills playing Cincy in the Divisional Round. The 'Best Case Scenario' for the rest of the season is the Bengals do just enough to win the AFC North to be the No. 3 seed and the Bills beat them in Week 17 to keep the 1-seed.

Best Case Scenario for Week 15

A Chiefs LOSS + Bengals LOSS = Buffalo's odds to get No. 1 seed increase from 59% to 83%

Worst Case Scenario for Week 15

A Chiefs WIN + Bengals WIN = Buffalo's odds to get No. 1 seed drop from 59% to 53%

Check out the best reactions from the Bills win over the Dolphins in order to clinch their fourth consecutive playoff berth.

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