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Who To Root For

Who to root for | Where the Bills stand in the AFC Playoff race for Week 17


The Buffalo Bills are AFC East champs for the third consecutive season, so now the only question remains what seed they will be in the AFC Playoffs. 

The Bills have been the No. 1 seed since the end of Week 13 and still control their path to securing homefield advantage for the playoffs. The easiest route for that is to win their final two games (at Cincinnati, vs. New England) and they'll be the 1-seed regardless of other outcomes across the NFL. 

If the Bills were to lose one of their final two games, that would make the probability a little more murky. However, Buffalo is still guaranteed to host a playoff game due to winning the division. The Bills could end up as the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed, depending on the results of the next two weeks.

So we're here to break down those potential scenarios. Here's where Buffalo's playoff chances stand entering Week 17.

Chance of securing No. 1 seed: 48% (Down from 53% in Week 16)

Chance of winning Super Bowl: 19% (Down from 20% in Week 16)

Here's who you should be rooting for in Week 17

Buffalo Bills (12-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) — Monday, Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN/ABC

Who to root for: Obviously, root for the Bills but still there's a lot to know about how this outcome could influence the AFC playoff race.

The situation: The Bills can clinch the AFC No. 1 seed in Week 17 with a win + a Kansas City loss vs. Denver. The Bengals can clinch the AFC North with a win + a Ravens loss vs. the Steelers.

While the Bengals are a game behind both the Bills and Chiefs, a Cincy win over Buffalo on MNF + a Chiefs win over the Broncos would move the Bills down to the No. 3 seed in the AFC and Cincy up to No. 2. 

If those potential seedings stay the same after Week 18, the Bills would have to go on the road for both the AFC Divisional game and AFC Championship game in order to reach the Super Bowl. =

The Bengals are also still in play for the 1-seed thanks to their Week 13 win over the Chiefs and would own head-to-head tiebreakers over both the Bills and Chiefs if they beat Buffalo on MNF. 

It's a lot of scenarios to juggle at once but the most important thing remains that the Bills are still in the best position of the three teams to secure homefield advantage. A win over the Bengals would boost Buffalo's chances for the 1-seed from 48% to 87% if the Chiefs were to beat the Broncos.

Denver Broncos (4-11) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-3) — Sunday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. on CBS

Who to root for: Root for the Broncos. As detailed earlier, a Broncos win + a Bills win would give Buffalo homefield advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.

The situation: The Broncos fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett this week and will have Senior Assistant Jerry Rosburg as the interim head coach for the game. The Chiefs are 4-0 at home since losing to the Bills in Week 6.

Miami Dolphins (8-7) at New England Patriots (7-8) — Sunday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. on CBS

Who to root for: Take your pick, Bills Mafia.

The situation: The Dolphins and Patriots are battling for an AFC Wild Card spot as the Dolphins are currently the 7th seed in the playoff race while the Patriots are on the outside looking in. The 7th seed will travel to the No. 2 seed in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs (currently Kansas City is 2-seed).

If you want to see the Dolphins' playoff chances take a hit, root for the Patriots. A Miami loss would drop their postseason odds from 58% to 42%

If you want to see the Patriots miss the playoffs entirely, root for the Dolphins. A New England loss would eliminate them from postseason contention.

Best Case and Worst Case Scenarios for the 1-seed

Best Case Scenario

A Bills WIN + Chiefs LOSS = Buffalo clinches the 1-seed and homefield advantage

Worst Case Scenario

A Bills LOSS + Chiefs WIN = Buffalo drops to No. 3 seed in the AFC, chances for No. 1 seed drop from 48% to 10%

One more scenario to consider

A Bills LOSS + Chiefs LOSS = Buffalo drops to No. 2 seed in AFC, Kansas City drops to No. 3 seed and Cincinnati moves up to No. 1 seed. Bills chances for No. 1 seed drop from 48% to 28%.

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