The Buffalo Bills are heading back to the playoffs for a third consecutive season, after defeating the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, 29-15.

Buffalo played a good game on offense, other than the three interceptions that quarterback Josh Allen threw. Two were tipped and the other looked to be a miscommunication with wide receiver Cole Beasley.

The Bills running game was stout all day, as running back Devin Singletary went over 100 yards rushing and ran for two touchdowns. Allen ran for the other two touchdowns; giving the Bills a very rare four rushing touchdown, zero passing touchdown day at the office.

The Bills clinched a playoff spot with the win and a Baltimore Ravens loss, as they sit in the four seed of the AFC playoff picture.

Just behind them are the New England Patriots, who also won on Sunday to improve to 10-6 and sit at the number five seed behind the Bills. Buffalo hold the tiebreaker, based on division record.

That means five AFC teams have officially clinched a postseason berth in 2021: the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, and New England Patriots.

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The Titans will get the one seed if they win their week 18 game against the Houston Texans next Sunday. If they lose, it opens the door for the Chiefs at the two seed, and even the Bengals at the three seed. If the Titans lose and Chiefs win, Kansas City gets the one seed; while if the Bengals win their week 18 game in Cleveland, and the Chiefs AND Titans lose, the Bengals would grab the one seed.

But where do the Bills stand in this?

I did a deep dive into NFL playoff tiebreakers, and here are the rankings of tiebreakers in the NFL:

  1. head-to-head
  2. division record 
  3. common games record
  4. conference record
  5. strength of victory
  6. strength of schedule

The Bills have no shot at the one seed, unfortunately. That's because they lose a tiebreaker with the Titans based on head-to-head. The Bills can get as high as the two seed, but that would require a win next Sunday against the New York Jets, and losses by both the Chiefs and Bengals.

With a win over the Jets next Sunday, the Bills would most likely get the four or three seed, depending on if the Bengals can beat the Browns in Cleveland.

Hypothetically, let's assume the Bills and Bengals win and they keep their seeding. The Bills at the four seed would most likely play the New England Patriots, who are the five seed.

If the Bills can grab the three seed, they would have a reasonable shot to play teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, or the Los Angeles Chargers. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are holding on by a thread -- both need a multitude of things to fall their way to get in the playoffs.

The Chargers and Raiders play each other next week, which is likely to come down to a "whoever wins, makes the playoffs" kind of situation. That depends if the Colts can win their game next Sunday; if they do, the Raiders and Chargers game will come down to a winner take all situation. The Colts losing opens the door for the Steelers to get in.

Who do Bills fans want to face, though, out of the likely matchups?

  • Patriots
  • Raiders
  • Colts
  • Chargers

As it stands right now (6 pm on Sunday), the Bills still have a shot at playing another team, but assuming they win the division and get the three or four seed, these would be the likely opponents in round one.

But what if the Bills lose against the Jets and the Patriots win; giving New England the division?

That would mean the Bills likely fall to either the five or the six seed. The Colts could win and leapfrog the Bills, since they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker and both teams would be at 10-7. The Bills have the better division record than the Raiders and would be above them.

The Bills have a slim chance to be a seven seed. If they lose, the Patriots win, the Chargers win, along with the Colts winning, the Bills could fall to seven; since the Chargers would hold a better conference record. Very small shot that takes place, however.

I know, it's confusing. The Bills don't have to worry about any of that if they beat a team they're supposed to next Sunday at home -- the Jets.

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