The Buffalo Bills held on to a playoff spot despite two straight losses, but they won’t get that benefit with a third straight loss. They also have a chance to play next week for the AFC East lead, so there’s a lot of vested interest this weekend.
With the addition of Saturday games, there’s a real smorgasbord of viewing options for ticket fans and plenty of major AFC contests. several teams in the hunt for the playoffs are also playing each other, so we have some interesting calls to make this week.
Reading: Bills rooting interests week 15
Our friends at draftkings sportsbook have provided betting odds lines so you can see how likely a particular outcome is to come to fruition. fees/lines subject to change. terms and conditions apply. see draftkings.com/sportsbook for more details. update: I updated the changing betting odds when I updated the days and times of games postponed since covid-19 diagnoses are playing with many of the betting lines.
Before we get to the core interests, here are the current AFC playoff standings. note: division leaders are listed in slots 1-4.
- new england patriots (9-4, 7-1 afc, win over ten)
- tennessee titans (9-4, 6-3 afc, loss to ne, win over kc)
- kansas city chiefs (9-4, 4-4 afc, loss to ten)
- baltimore ravens (8-5)
- los angeles chargers (8-5)
- indianapolis colts (7-6, 6-3 afc)
- buffalo bills (7-6, 5-5 afc)
- cleveland browns (7-6, win over cin & den, 4-5 afc)
- cincinnati bengals (7-6, loss to cle)
- denver broncos (7-6, loss to cle, 3-5 afc)
- pittsburgh steelers (6-6-1)
- las vegas raiders (6-7, win over mia)
- miami dolphins (6-7, loss to lv)
- new york jets (3-10)++
- houston texans (2-11 , win over jax)++
- jacksonville jaguars (2-11, loss to hou)++
++ eliminated from postseason
These game results are presented in order of importance to the bills. if I prioritized split over wildcard, I noted that in the paragraph.
buffalo bills (7-6) over carolina panthersSunday December 19, 1:00 p.m. m., east line: bills for 11 (updated to 12)
Bottom line, the Bills need to beat teams that aren’t very good and the Panthers definitely qualify. they fired their offensive coordinator midseason and they don’t have their primary offensive weapon, no identity on that side of the ball. they’re forming platoons with two different quarterbacks right now. Buffalo’s defense needs to step up. the panthers defense is strong, with a solid pass rush, and that worries me with josh allen’s back foot. This would be a good week to get the running game going with someone other than your $250 million QB.
indianapolis colts (7-6) vs. new england patriots (9-4)Saturday, December 18, 8:20 p.m. m., east line: foals for 2 (updated to 2.5)
the new york times says we should root for the patriots to get another afc loss to the indianapolis colts and help the bills in the wild card race. No. we are still looking for the afc east crown. A Patriots loss and a Bills win this weekend means Buffalo vs. New England is for first place on December 26. if you’re just looking to get into the playoffs, root for the patriots i guess. If you think the Bills are going to beat the Patriots next week, support the Colts this week. A Patriots win would help the Bills make the playoffs as a wild card, as the Colts have games against the Cardinals and Raiders over the next two weeks, and could be out of the playoffs entirely by the end of the streak. /p>
green bay packers v baltimore ravens (8-5) sunday december 19, 4:25 p.m. m. east line: packers by 5.5 (updated to 7)
the ravens lead the afc north right now, but with games against the bengals, rams and steelers, they could also find themselves in the wild-card hunt. either way it’s an nfc team versus an afc team and if buffalo wins the division we want them to have losses and if they go wild we want them to have losses. so be glad for a loss.
Denver Broncos (7-6) v Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) Sunday, December 19, 4:05 p.m. m., east line: broncos for 2.5 (updated to 3)
this is really quite simple; It is much easier for the Bills to win a tiebreaker over Denver than it is over Cincinnati. The Bengals are 5-3 in the AFC while the Broncos are 3-5. Continuing to take down Cincy will be vital for Buffalo both in the wild card and if both teams win the division. this is a very easy call.
las vegas raiders (6-7) over cleveland browns (7-6)Saturday, December 18, 4:30 p.m. ET Monday, December 20, 5:00 p.m. m., east line: raiders for 1.5 (upgraded to browns for 1)
We should be fine with any outcome here, honestly. The Browns are recovering from Covid-19 diagnoses this week and play the Packers, Steelers and Bengals down the stretch. the raiders play broncos, colts and chargers. it’s hard to see any of them running the table. basically, when we make this pick, we want to keep cleveland in the wild-card race and not move up to the division lead.
pittsburgh steelers (6-6-1) over tennessee titans (9-4)Sunday, December 19, 1:00 p.m. m. east line: titans for 1 (upgraded to steelers for 1)
here’s another one where i disagree with the new york times for various reasons. Because Tennessee is ranked first in their division, the sim wants them to keep winning and Pittsburgh to keep losing to help pay the bills in the wild card race. if he thinks the accounts are going to 1) run the table or 2) win their division, that won’t matter. If you want a better seed for bills in the postseason, support the Steelers. I don’t think Pittsburgh is consistent enough to win multiple games down the stretch against the Titans, Chiefs, Browns and Ravens. They won’t be a threat to the buffalo, so we’ll beat them this week.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) over Los Angeles Chargers (8-5) Thursday night football lineup: Chiefs by 3.5
this is really very complicated. buffalo have a win over the chiefs and kc’s afc record is bad so do we want them in the wild card race or the divisional? we expect these two teams to make the playoffs, so do you want the bosses to take the division? Chargers play Texans, Broncos and Raiders. bosses play steelers, bengals, and broncos. if the bills take the table to 11-6, they still might not get past either team. that’s why it’s so low on the priority list. due to tiebreakers, either of these teams must lose twice for the bills to pass, so I’m going with the bosses for now to try to avoid a cross-country road trip. then maybe l.a. they can lose to the Broncos or Raiders in January and the Chiefs can lose twice to all three of their potential playoff opponents. This loss plus a Denver win could also put the Chargers on the outside looking in on the playoff picture as they would be trailing the Broncos.
miami dolphins (6-7) over new york jets (3-10) sunday december 19, 1:00 p.m. m. east line: dolphins by 9.5
in theory, we want to put the dolphins out of the playoff race forever, but they play the tennessee titans and new england patriots in the last two weeks. Throwing in the towel won’t benefit Bills, so keeping them from running to the bus might help Bills more than getting their eighth loss of the season. so we’re changing the script.
houston texans (2-11) vs. jacksonville jaguars (2-11) Sunday, December 19, 1:00 p.m. m. east line: jaguars for 3.5 (updated to 5.5)
this helps buffalo win strength and fucks up jaguars.
washington football team over philadelphia eagles sunday december 19 at 1:00 p.m. m. Eastern time Tuesday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. m. east line: eagles for 9.5 (updated to 7.5)
this helps the victory force and buffalo calendar force.
new orleans saints over tampa bay buccaneerssunday night footballline: buccaneers by 11 (updated to 11.5)
This helps buffalo’s victory force.
seattle seahawks over los angeles ramsSunday December 19 at 4:25 pm ETTuesday December 21 at 7:00 pm eastern line: rams by 4.5 (updated to 5.5)
Seattle’s 2022 first-round pick is headed to the Jets, so we want it as low as possible. Come on Seahawks!
san francisco 49ers over atlanta falcons sunday december 19, 4:25 pm east line: 49ers by 9.5 (updated to 9)
miami has san francisco’s 2022 first round pick, so we’ll take the one game hit on the strength of the schedule right now and root for a worse 49ers/dolphins draft pick.
arizona cardinals vs detroit lions sunday december 19, 1:00 p.m. m. east line: cardinals by 12
I still support the lions, but it doesn’t affect the bills.
dallas cowboys vs. new york giants Sunday, December 19, 1:00 p.m. m., east line: cowboys by 11
There is no real rooting interest here.
minnesota vikings vs. chicago bearsmonday night football: vikings for 4.5 (updated to 6)
I think after watching games Thursday night, Saturday afternoon and night, and all day Sunday, you should probably drink some water and do some homework. but what do I know?
If all of these outcomes happen, Buffalo’s chances of making the playoffs increase to 73 percent and their chances of winning the division increase to 34 percent. Those numbers right now are 64 percent and 16 percent, so they’ll double your chances of winning the AFC East. Then they can flip the script with a win in New England.
This is what the image would look like:
projected afc ratings
- kansas city chiefs (10-4)
- new england patriots (9-5, win over ten)
- tennessee titans (9- 5, loss to ne )
- baltimore ravens (8-6)
- indianapolis colts (8-6, 7-3 afc)
- bills buffalo (8-6, 5-5 afc)
- denver broncos (8-6, win over lac, 4-5 afc)
- los angeles chargers (8-6, loss ante den)
- pittsburgh steelers (7-6-1)
- las vegas raiders (7-7, 5-4 afc)
- miami dolphins ( 7-7, 5-5 afc)
- cleveland browns (7-7, win over cin, 4-6 afc)
- cincinnati bengals (7-7, loss to cle)
- new york jets (3-11)++
- houston texans (3-11)++
- jacksonville jaguars (2-12)++
++ eliminated from postseason
as we said, the bills would be playing the patriots for control of the afc east with games against atlanta and the jets to end the year. they’d still have a path to the single seed and double seed, but they wouldn’t really have much breathing room in the wild-card race. they don’t need to be perfect, but winning three of their last four games should be enough for the postseason. It’s going to be tough with so many teams at or above .500 in the conference, but a lot of them will be playing each other over the last month.