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Bills still alive in playoff race; here's how they could get in

True Buffalo Bills fans probably needed a shower sometime about 7 p.m. Sunday.

They had just gotten done rooting for the New England Patriots, after all. New England's win over the Denver Broncos meant the Bills' faint playoff hopes remained on life support for another week. It was about the only help the Bills got in Week 15, as victories by Baltimore, Miami, Tennessee and Houston made Buffalo's already faint hopes of the playoffs look even less worse -- they're hovering at about 1 percent, or even less in some simulations.

But prepare yourselves for plenty of "as long as we've got a chance, we're going to play hard" quotes this week, because the Bills aren't officially dead.

As simply as possible, the Bills need Baltimore to lose twice, Miami to lose twice, Indianapolis to lose once, Denver to lose to Oakland in Week 17 and either Houston or Tennessee to lose twice to make the playoffs.

Here is the most simple look at how the Bills can still get into the postseason:

Week 16

• Bills beat Dolphins
• Raiders beat Colts
• Steelers beat Ravens
• Bengals beat Texans
• Jaguars beat Titans

Analysis: The AFC South teams could present the biggest problem here -- both Houston and Tennessee figure to be favorites, and if both win, the Bills can't get in. Houston would have a better conference record, and if Tennessee beats Jacksonville, the Titans would have a better record in common games. If one of the Texans or Titans lose, the Bills would need that team to lose again in Week 17 to have a chance to get in. However, if both of the AFC South teams lose, Week 17 would look like this ...

Week 17

• Bills beat Jets
• Bengals beat Ravens
• Patriots beat Dolphins
• Raiders beat Broncos

In this scenario, the Bills would finish tied with the Dolphins at 9-7 for the final wild-care spot. The teams would be tied in head to head, division record, games against common opponents and conference record. It would then come to strength of victory. The Dolphins currently have a slightly better strength of victory, .313 to .306, but the Bills would in all likelihood pass them by winning out and having Miami lose out. ... The Bills would also beat out the 9-7 Broncos based on record in common games.

So there you have it. Nothing to it!

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