Heading into their Week 14 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football in Orchard Park, the Buffalo Bills will have the chance to clinch their earliest playoff berth since the 1991 season.
During that season, the Bills beat the New York Jets in Week 14 to improve to 11-2 and clinch a playoff berth, en route to an eventual AFC East title and run to Super Bowl XXVI.
However, Buffalo has quite the list of games that have to go their way in Week 14 if they are to punch their ticket to the playoffs this early.
The first task is easy enough for the Bills: beat the Steelers on Sunday at Bills Stadium. After that, it'll take some help from some other teams around the National Football League to knock off some other contenders in the AFC.
Here is what the Bills need this week in order to clinch a playoff berth:
- Thursday, Dec. 10: New England Patriots (6-6) lose or tie at Los Angeles Rams (8-4)
- Sunday, Dec. 13: Miami Dolphins (8-4) lose vs. Kansas City Chiefs (11-1)
- Sunday, Dec. 13: Las Vegas Raiders (7-5) lose vs. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
- Monday, Dec. 14: Baltimore Ravens (7-5) lose at Cleveland Browns (9-3)
While the list of scenarios may be long, the possibility of each game going Buffalo's way is actually looking quite favorable. Each team that needs to lose or tie for the Bills are facing teams with better overall records, who are also fighting for playoff positioning in the AFC.
While the Bills will not be able to clinch the AFC East this week with a win and (hypothetically) a Dolphins loss to the Chiefs, it will be possible in Week 15 when Buffalo heads out west to face the Denver Broncos (4-8) on Saturday, Dec. 19 at Empower Field at Mile High. No matter what Miami does in this situation, if the Bills beat the Broncos in Week 15, the AFC East title will belong to Buffalo for the first time since 1995.
The Steelers will also be playing for the chance to not only clinch a playoff berth this week, but also capture the AFC North division title in the process. Their list of scenarios to clinch a playoff berth is also long, but to clinch the AFC North, all they need is a win or a tie against the Bills and a Browns loss to the Ravens.
Sunday's kickoff at Bills Stadium is set for 8:20 p.m. EST, and you can hear all the action on WGR with John Murphy, Steve Tasker and Sal Capaccio on the call.