Every Buffalo Bills playoff scenario in Week 18, from AFC East champs to elimination

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bills (10-6) have won their way into a Week 18 winner-takes-all matchup with the Miami Dolphins for the AFC East title on Sunday, and while they’ll be playing for divisional glory, they could also be playing for their postseason lives.

Buffalo controls its own destiny to reach the postseason, as simply a victory against Miami will get them a fifth-consecutive playoff appearance.

However, there is a scenario where the Bills lose to the Dolphins, get no help from other teams around the AFC and are eliminated from postseason contention by Week 18’s end. Here’s every playoff scenario for Buffalo, as confirmed by the NFL.

Bills AFC East clinching scenarios

This one is as straightforward as it gets: if the Bills defeat the Dolphins on Sunday night, they will be crowned AFC East champions and clinch the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. A loss or tie eliminates them from division title contention.

Bills playoff clinching scenarios

1. BUF win or tie OR
2. PIT loss or tie OR
3. JAX loss or tie OR
4. HOU-IND tie

What playoff seeds could the Bills get?

As mentioned above, if the Bills beat Miami and win the AFC East, they will clinch the No. 2 seed and host the No. 7 seed in the Wild Card round. Buffalo would face either Houston, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh or Jacksonville in this scenario.

If the Bills lose to Miami, they will be the No. 7 seed if one of Pittsburgh and Jacksonville lose. In this scenario, they would get a rematch with the Dolphins in Miami in the Wild Card round.

If Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and Buffalo all lose, the Bills would secure the No. 6 seed and travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in the Wild Card round.

How would the Bills be eliminated?

If Buffalo loses to Miami, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh both win and the Houston-Indianapolis game does not end in a tie, the Bills will be out of the playoffs.

What are the games to watch?

Here is the Bills fan rooting guide for Week 18:

  • Steelers (9-7) at Ravens (13-3), 4:30 p.m. Saturday – A Ravens win against the Steelers would secure the Bills at least Wild Card spot in the playoffs before they kickoff against Miami. With Baltimore having locked up the No. 1 seed, there is a chance they will rest some of their star players Saturday, which will be a storyline to watch for Bills fans as the week progresses.
  • Texans (9-7) at Colts (9-7), 8:15 p.m. Saturday – It’s incredibly unlikely, but a tie between the Texans and Colts would guarantee a Bills playoff spot.
  • Jaguars (9-7) at Titans (5-11), 1 p.m. Sunday – The will be pulling for the underdog Titans, as a Jaguars loss would clinch the Bills a postseason spot.

With all three games that are important to the Bills taking place before they play the Dolphins, there is a scenario where Buffalo would enter Sunday night knowing a win secures them the AFC East and No. 2 seed, or a loss leaves them out of the playoffs entirely.

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