The Buffalo Bills; 2023 season has been a wild ride so far. They have found themselves at 6-6 coming out of their bye week and sitting in 11th place in the AFC playoff picture heading into Week 14. However, with nine teams on five, six, or seven wins, there is plenty that can still happen in the AFC playoff race over the final five weeks.
The Bills’ margin for error is slim heading into Kansas City to face the Chiefs and a run that contains three playoff contenders in their final five games. However, they still have a chance to make the postseason and keep their Super Bowl dream alive. With the help of the free PFN NFL Playoff Predictor, let’s examine the potential scenarios for the Bills and their playoff chances as things stand entering Sunday.
1 p.m. ET Games Update
1 p.m. ET Games UpdateBengals (7-6) defeated Colts (7-6)
Jets (5-8) defeated Texans (7-6)
Ravens (10-3) defeated Rams (6-7)
Browns (8-5) defeated Jaguars (8-5)
4 p.m. ET Games Update
Vikings (7-6) defeated Raiders (5-8)
Broncos (7-6) defeated Chargers (5-8)
Bills (7-6) defeated Chiefs (8-5)
Despite sitting 11th in the AFC standings, the Bills still have just under a 25% chance of making the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). The Bills’ chances got a slight boost with the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday Night Football loss, but they still have much to do if they want to play in the postseason again this year.
The problem for the Bills is that a number of NFL playoff tiebreakers have started to mount against them. Losses to the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals could prove crucial in the event of a tie involving those three teams when the season ends. The only team in the thick of the AFC playoff picture that they have defeated this season is the Miami Dolphins back in Week 4.
In terms of this week, the Bills’ best-case outcome is climbing to ninth in the AFC standings. However, their finishing position at the end of Week 14 is less important than the bigger picture. While a Bengals and Broncos loss this week is the best-case scenario in terms of the standings right now, victories for their opponents — the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers — are perhaps just as bad for the overall picture.
Ideally, all the chasing teams, including the Bills, want that race for the five, six, and seven seeds to tighten up as much as possible. There is a scenario that could see seven teams tied with a 7-6 record at the end of the week. While that wouldn’t move the Bills up much in Week 14, it would mean a single win could move them as high as the fifth seed in Week 15 — depending on other results.
A loss this late in the season is never ideal, but for the Bills, it could be a major problem if they lose to the Chiefs in Week 14. Their record would drop to 6-7, their conference record would slump to 3-6, and their margin for error would be gone. They would still be only one game out of the seven seeds, but those tiebreaker issues with head-to-heads and their conference record are a big stumbling block.
A loss in Week 14 by no means eliminates the Bills, but with games against the Dallas Cowboys and Dolphins looming in the final four weeks, they would likely need to go, at worst, 3-1 to have a shot at the postseason. A win this week would allow the Bills to potentially drop both those games and still finish in a Wild Card spot.
Entering Week 14, the AFC East remains in play for the Bills, but the chances are slim. ESPN’s FPI gives the Bills just a 3.8% chance of winning the division. They sit three games behind the Dolphins with five weeks to play but do hold the all-important first head-to-head victory between the two.
The Bills and Dolphins meet in Week 18, and all the Bills can hope for is that, entering the final week, the division is alive. If Buffalo is one game behind the Dolphins entering Week 18, they can pass Miami with a win, thanks to the NFL tiebreakers. The Dolphins still have tough games to come against the Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens, so it is possible the Bills could take it down to Week 18.
The problem for Buffalo is that, realistically, they have to be perfect from here on out. If not, then they need help from either the Tennessee Titans or New York Jets, who are both 4-8 entering Week 14. The Dolphins only need to win three of their last five to win the division, and for every loss Buffalo has, that requirement drops by a game.
Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!2023-12-10T11:48:13Z dg43tfdfdgfd