Playoff Scenarios - What to watch for in Week 16

December 24, 2017

Derek Kramer

The Buffalo Bills will remain alive in the playoff hunt in the final week of the season regardless of their result against the New England Patriots on Sunday. The worst part of all of this is that beating New England doesn't clinch a spot for Buffalo. While a win against the Patriots would allow them to control their own destiny, the team could get a lot of help if they lose in Week 16. 

There are so many ways that the playoff scenarios can blow your mind. Let's just focus on the games that matter in the race. 

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets (1pm)

It's this simple, any Chargers loss essentially knocks them out of the race. If the Jets, without quarterback Josh McCown, can pull an upset on the Chargers, it soothes many Bills fans that are nervous about that head to head tie breaker. 

What do we want to happen: Cheer for the Jets. Yes, vomit first if you must, but then cheer for the Jets to knock the Chargers from being a problem in Week 17. Los Angeles does have to travel from west to east, but the Jets are also without a quarterback that has played out of his mind this season. But in the end, a Chargers loss knocks them out. 

Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans (1pm)

This is the game that really helps the Bills either way. The major issue with the Titans is not this week, it is next week. Tennessee can win this game and it still helps Buffalo in the long run, as long as the Titans lose in Jacksonville. A loss to the Rams puts the Titans at 8-7, which could help. But the Titans still would need to lose to Jacksonville. 

What we want to happen: I'm not sure it truly matters here. A loss would send Tennessee reeling into Jacksonville with a three game losing streak. A win here by the Titans would prevent the Chargers from being a thorn in the Bills side by eliminating LA from the wild card (the Chargers could win the AFC West with 2 wins and 2 Chiefs losses). In the end, it's all about Week 17 with the Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers (4:05pm)

This is more for moral support to make next week matter for Jacksonville. Could you imagine the Jaguars having nothing to play for and Doug Marrone punting the game away to prevent Buffalo from making it? There would be too many angry Bills fans. A Jaguars win means there is a chance to play for a first round bye. A Jaguars loss coupled with a Titans loss gives the Jaguars nothing to play for. 

What we want to happen: A Jaguars win gives them hope to get a first round bye, which would mean Tennessee gets a hungry Jags team. 

In summary, the simplest formula for Bills this week is wins from the JETS and JAGUARS. While each outcome is not the end of the world, that combination would narrow it down to two games in Week 17 to keep an eye on.

Feeling nervous yet?