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Who To Root For

Who to root for | Where the Bills stand in the AFC Playoff race for Week 16


It's Christmas weekend in the NFL with 11 games around the league being played on Christmas Eve and another three games set for Christmas Day. The Bills are taking on the Bears at 1 p.m. on Saturday and can clinch the AFC East with a win. 

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 No. 1 seed in AFC: 52% (Kansas City at 34%)

Chance to win Super Bowl: 20% (highest in AFC)

Over the last few weeks, Buffalo's odds have continued to improve for both the AFC East crown and the AFC's top seed as the Bills have won five consecutive games heading into Week 16. 

However, for the first time since the start of their win streak, the Bills' odds of securing home field advantage decreased in Week 15 despite beating the Dolphins. Kansas City (11-3) and Cincinnati (10-4) both won last week which dropped Buffalo's chances from 59% to 53%.

The Bills still control their path for the 1-seed but both the Bengals and Chiefs are right on their heels. 

Here's who you should be rooting for this weekend (besides the Bills) to help Buffalo's playoff scenarios:

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4) at New England Patriots (7-7) — Saturday, Dec. 24 at 1 p.m. on CBS

The situation: Only the Bengals have a longer active win streak in the AFC (six games) than the Bills and now they lead the AFC North by one game over the Ravens. The Patriots have lost three of their last four games and are coming off their wild, last-second lateral loss against the Raiders.

Who to root for: Root for the Patriots, but we won't judge you if you decide otherwise.

This one is up to you, Bills Mafia. This is a tricky situation as the Patriots need to win in order to get back in the playoff picture (currently 8th in AFC), but a Bengals win would give them the ability next week to leapfrog the Bills in the AFC seeding when the two teams meet in Week 17 in Cincy.

Surely, Bills fans would relish a season without the Patriots in the playoffs but there's also home field advantage to think about. Here's how the result would influence both situations.

IF the Bengals WIN and the Bills WIN

  • Bills' 1-seed odds stay at 53%
  • Patriots' playoff odds go from 27% to 14%

IF the Patriots WIN and the Bills WIN

  • Bills' 1-seed odds increase to 63%
  • Patriots' playoff odds increase from 27% to 43%

Green Bay Packers (6-8) at Miami Dolphins (8-6) — Sunday, Dec. 25 at 1 p.m. on FOX

The situation: Miami has lost three in a row and finds themselves as the final Wild Card team heading into this weekend. The Packers are still in playoff contention after winning their last two games but need to win out.

Who to root for: Root for the Packers. The Bills need either a win over the Bears OR a Dolphins loss to Green Bay to secure the AFC East title. A Dolphins loss + a Patriots win would tie both teams for the last Wild Card spot in the AFC with Miami holding the tiebreaker.

Seattle Seahawks (7-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) — Saturday, Dec. 24 at 1 p.m. on FOX

The situation: The Chiefs narrowly escaped the Texans in OT to clinch the AFC West and are still firmly in the hunt for home field advantage. The Seahawks dropped out of a playoff spot after last week's loss to the 49ers and are currently 8th in the AFC.

Who to root for: Root for the Seahawks. A Chiefs loss would help Buffalo's chances of securing the No. 1 seed.

Best Case Scenario for Week 16

  • A Bills WIN + Chiefs LOSS + Bengals LOSS + Miami LOSS = Buffalo wins the AFC East, odds to earn No. 1 seed increase from 53% to 88%

Worst Case Scenario for Week 16

  • A Bills LOSS + Chiefs WIN + Bengals WIN + Miami WIN = Buffalo can not clinch the AFC East until Week 17, odds to earn No. 1 seed decrease from 53% to 22%

Check out the best travel photos as the team heads to the Windy City for Saturday's game against the Bears. This gallery is presented by Imagine Staffing.

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