The Buffalo Bills clinched their 1st AFC East Division Title since 1995 on Saturday, and sit in 2nd place in the AFC. Currently, there are five possible Bills playoff matchups, depending on how they finish.
There is a very slim shot at the first-round bye now, unfortunately. The Chiefs hold that spot and the tiebreaker with the Bills. The Steelers could still get the 1st seed if they win out, and the Chiefs drop the last two.
But according to Matt Warren at Buffalo Rumblings there is a slim path:
- The Bills would need the NFC South to lose all their inter-divisional games except Atlanta vs. Kansas City: New Orleans vs Minnesota, Tampa Bay vs Detroit, Carolina vs Washington
- The Bills would need the Tennessee Titans to win out against the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans
- The Baltimore Ravens lose both of their remaining games
- The Indianapolis Colts lose one of their remaining games
- The Arizona Cardinals lose both of their remaining two games
- Atlanta Falcons beat the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the final two weeks
- The Miami Dolphins beating the Las Vegas Raiders
- The Houston Texans losing to the Cincinnati Bengals
- The New York Jets beating the Cleveland Browns
Potential Bills Playoffs Matchups
The first scenario for Buffalo, and the one that the Bills Mafia are hoping for, is to win out, finishing 13-3, and keep the 2nd Seed. Because the rules changed, and a 7th team was added to the playoffs, there’s only one playoff bye.
The good news, as long as they stay in 2nd, is that they would play the 7th seed. The bad news is the Ravens would be 7th if Miami loses their finale (@ Bills, Week 17). So if nothing changes, Buffalo would host Baltimore in the Wild Card round.
The Ravens would be a difficult team to deal with in the 1st round, but not impossible. The Bills have the defense that’s built to combat the skillset of the Ravens.
Even though there’s no denying that QB Lamar Jackson is a massive weapon in Baltimore, they have shown that they can be figured out. At 9-5, the Ravens are just inside the bubble, and it’s not a lock that they stay there.
But no matter what, the Ravens wouldn’t be the easiest of the Bills’ possible playoff matchups.
Another team the Bills could face in the 1st round of the AFC playoffs is the Browns. Currently sitting at the 6th seed, the Browns are making a run at the AFC North Division.
They’re one game out, with the Steelers left in Week 17. A tough team to stop, Cleveland’s run game has been the difference in close games, and even though consistency is still something QB Baker Mayfield is working on, when he’s on, he’s lights out.
In an unlikely continued slide where the Steelers drop the last two and the Bills drop both of their final games, Pittsburgh would travel to Buffalo.
Since the likelihood of this happening is so low, we won’t dive deeply into how it would look.
The AFC South holds two spots in the possible Bills playoff matchups. Both Indianapolis and Tennessee can win the division, and whoever does won’t have to worry about playing Buffalo.
Currently 2nd in the division at 10-4, the Colts have proven they can win regardless of the venue. Matching 5-2 records at home and on the road, it doesn’t seem to bother them where they play.
We are seeing HC Frank Reich resurrect the old Philip Rivers, with a 68.7% completion rate, pushing 3700+ yards, and a 22-9 TD-INT ratio. Because they play in the AFC South, they might be the quietest 10-4 in history as the Titans are taking all the press, even though they’re both 10-4.
The Tennessee Titans are the real wildcard in the AFC. Believe it or not, they have more points scored than any other team in the AFC. They do it in bunches and at will when both main facets are firing.
But even when one isn’t primed, the other usually picks up the slack. Ryan Tannehill has provided the balance the team has needed in the recent past. But it’s Derrick Henry that makes them so hard to contain.
Las Vegas Raiders
It is remotely possible that the Bills would face the Raiders in the 1st round. This would mean that both the Ravens and the Dolphins would have to lose both of their final games.
Fortunately for the Raiders, they have a little control, they play the Dolphins in Week 16. However they would need the Ravens to lose against the Giants and the Bengals.
By clinching their division, the Bills will not have to face another division winner at least until the Divisional Round.
Worst-case scenario, Buffalo would finish 11-5, putting them as the 4th seed.
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