With three games left for most AFC teams, the Buffalo Bills are two games back of the first-place Kansas City Chiefs. (How did that happen?) You might think a run to a first-round playoff bye is gone, but it’s not as long as you check reality at the door. As it stands, Buffalo has a 0.6% chance of the top seed in the AFC.
Since folks have been asking me, I’ll lay it all out here. Here is how the Bills can still nab the one seed.
Bills win out
In order for the Bills to get to the top of the heap, they need to win their final three games and secure the AFC East crown. Buffalo’s final record is 11-6 in this scenario.
Chiefs lose at least twice
Buffalo wins a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Chiefs, so if both teams are 11-6, the Bills are on top if no one else is also 11-6. They have games against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Denver. If the Chiefs lose to the Steelers and Broncos but beat the Bengals, that’s the most ideal scenario.
Titans lose at least twice
Tennessee beats the Bills in head-to-head and Conference record tiebreakers and they have wins over KC & BUF, so in a three-way race they win, too. The Titans need to be behind Buffalo in overall record. They play San Francisco, Miami, and Houston down the stretch making this the least likely outcome on the board.
Colts lose at least once
Indianapolis can beat the Bills on multiple tiebreakers, so getting them a seventh loss is imperative. They face Arizona, Vegas, and Jacksonville.
Chargers lose at least once
Los Angeles has a solid AFC record of 5-4, so if they run the table to 11-6, Buffalo can’t pass them on that tiebreaker.
Bengals lose at least once
Cincinnati also has a better AFC record than the Bills and so Buffalo would need at least one loss from the Bengals. They play the Ravens, Chiefs, and Browns over the final three weeks so that doesn’t seem like a stretch.
Ravens lose at least once (or some crazy combos)
Baltimore at 11-6 would likely beat the Bills on Strength of Victory, especially since their final wins would be over Cincinnati, the Rams, and Pittsburgh. It wouldn’t be a slam dunk, though, as some crazy combinations exist where the Bills can pass the Ravens in Strength of Victory with the Jets, Dolphins, Patriots, Texans, Panthers, Saints, Falcons, and Washington making a run while the teams the Ravens beat taking a nosedive.