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Bills drop to ninth in AFC; playoff chances down to 2.5 percent

The Buffalo Bills' playoff chances are on life support following Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

That was painful enough, but the out-of-town scoreboard was similarly damaging to the Bills' hopes. Victories by Kansas City, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets have contributed to the Bills chances of making the playoffs dropping to just 2.5 percent, according to

Here is a look at the complete AFC postseason picture:

1. New England (11-2).

Remaining schedule: Tennessee, at New York Jets, at Miami.

What to root for: The best help New England can give Buffalo is to beat the New York Jets in Week 16.

2. Cincinnati (10-3).

Remaining schedule: at San Francisco, at Denver, Baltimore.

Big loss: In addition to being a huge blow to the Bills, the Bengals' loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday came at a heavy price. Quarterback Andy Dalton suffered a broken thumb, and could miss the rest of the season depending on the results of an MRI on Monday.

3. Denver (10-3).

Remaining schedule: at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, at San Diego.

What to root for: The Broncos lost at home to the Raiders despite a dominant defensive effort in the first half. They can give the Bills some much-needed help with a win in Week 15 at Pittsburgh. The question is, will Peyton Manning be back at quarterback?


4. Indianapolis (6-7).

Remaining schedule: Houston, at Miami, Tennessee.

Rock bottom: The Colts may still make the playoffs out of the dumpster fire that is the AFC South, but make no mistake: They're a mess. The Jaguars dropped 51(!) points on them Sunday, ending the Colts' 16-game winning streak within the division. Week 15's game against Houston should go a long way toward determining the division champion.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5).

Remaining schedule: at Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland.

What to root for: For the Bills to have any chance of catching the Chiefs, Kansas City needs to lose their remaining three games.

6. New York Jets (8-5).

Remaining schedule: at Dallas, New England, at Buffalo.

What to root for: For the Bills to have any chance at catching the Jets, New York needs to lose at least two more games. One of those would need to come in Week 17 against Buffalo, since the Bills are required to win out at this point.


7. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5).

Remaining schedule: Denver, at Baltimore, at Cleveland.

What to foot for: Pittsburgh needs to lose two of its remaining three games for the Bills to have any chance at passing them. If that happens and Buffalo wins out, the Bills would have the better conference record. Given the way the Steelers have played lately, that looks highly unlikely. For the dreamers, though, it's not impossible. Denver is a quality team, and then the Steelers finish with two rivalry games on the road.

8. Oakland (6-7).

Remaining schedule: Green Bay, San Diego, at Kansas City.

What to root for: The Raiders deserve credit for battling back to beat the Broncos and stay alive, but like the Bills, they're in a very tough spot, with just a 0.7 percent chance of making the postseason, according to From the Bills' perspective, Oakland needs one more loss. If the Bills win out, they would pass the Raiders.

9. Buffalo (6-7).

Remaining schedule: at Washington, Dallas, New York Jets.

Analysis: This is what it boils down to. For the Bills to make the playoffs they need to win out and have three of the following four things to happen:

  • Kansas City loses out.
  • Pittsburgh loses two of three games.
  • New York Jets lose two games (one of which would be to the Bills).
  • Oakland to lose one game.

In other words, your weekends in January should be free for a 16th straight year.

10. Houston Texans (6-7).

Remaining schedule: at Indianapolis, at Tennessee, Jacksonville.

Still a chance: The Texans close with three straight divisional games, meaning they have an opportunity to win the AFC South.


11. Miami Dolphins (5-7).

Remaining schedule: New York Giants, at San Diego, Indianapolis, New England.

Playing spoilers: While still mathematically alive, Miami is basically playing to hurt other teams' chances, starting Monday against the Giants and in Week 16 against the Colts.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8).

Remaining schedule: Atlanta, at New Orleans, at Houston.

Not dead yet: Jacksonville's dismantling of Indianapolis kept the Jaguars alive in the AFC South race. They'll likely need to run the table to have a chance at winning the division.


The remaining AFC teams -- Baltimore (4-9), Cleveland (3-10), Tennessee (3-10) and San Diego (3-10) -- are eliminated from playoff contention and will be jockeying for draft positioning the final three weeks. The Ravens could give the Bills help in Week 15 against the Chiefs and Week 16 against the Steelers, while the Titans could do Buffalo a favor by beating the Jets in Week 15.

The Browns also play the Chiefs and Steelers the final two weeks of the season, so they could also help the Bills.

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