Rex Ryan has basically conceded the AFC East to the New England Patriots.
With his Buffalo Bills as touchdown underdogs on Monday Night Football, most of the team’s fans have braced themselves for a loss to Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Co. If that happens, the Bills could fall out of a playoff position. That will depend on what else happens in Week 11. Here is a look at the rest of the games in the AFC, and what Bills fans should root for:
• Oakland at Detroit: The Lions could do the Bills a big favor by handing the Raiders their third straight loss.
• Indianapolis at Atlanta: The Falcons. The AFC South has suddenly become crowded at the top, as awful as the records of the division leaders are. The Colts might still win the division, but if they get passed by the Texans of, gasp, the Jaguars, it’s better to root for an Indianapolis loss.
• New York Jets at Houston: A win by the Texans would even their record at 5-5 and drop the Jets to the same, which means all three teams would be tied with the Bills, assuming a loss to New England. The Bills, however, would have an opportunity to possess the head-to-head tiebreaker over both teams with a game against Houston in Week 13 and another against New York in the season finale.
• Denver at Chicago: It’s unlikely the Broncos fall apart down the stretch and into the wild-card race, but if they do, a loss to an NFC opponent would be helpful for the Bills.
• St. Louis at Baltimore: Just a couple more weeks until teams like the 2-7 Ravens can officially be eliminated from the race. A Rams’ victory would push Baltimore closer.
• Dallas at Miami: Tony Romo’s return comes at a good time for Bills fans. The Dolphins stayed alive in the race with a win over Philadelphia in Week 10. The game against the Cowboys will be significantly more challenging with Romo at quarterback.
• Kansas City at San Diego: Bills fans should be paying close attention to this one and rooting for St. Francis High School graduate Tom Telesco’s Chargers. Kansas City would even its record at 5-5 with a win, which would be its fourth straight. The Chiefs also host the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 12 – always a tough place to play. Right now, they are the sleepers in the wild-card race.
• Cincinnati at Arizona: It would still take an epic collapse by the 8-1 Bengals to get passed by the Bills in the standings, despite their surprising loss to Houston last week. It’s best for Buffalo if the Bengals run away with the AFC North.