The Buffalo Bills are 9-3 after easily disposing of the San Francisco 49ers, 34-24, on the road. They were led by quarterback Josh Allen, who looked like a MVP candidate by passing for four touchdowns and 375 passing yards, per ESPN. The defense did its part as well, forcing Nick Mullens into two interceptions and stuffing the 49ers run game. Now at 9-3, the Buffalo Bills are likely going to the playoffs and have an outside shot at a one seed. Let's take a look at the things that would need to happen for Buffalo to be the top overall seed.

The Kansas City Chiefs (11-1, 9-1 AFC)

Currently, the biggest obstacle to Buffalo's chances of landing the top overall seed is Kansas City. Thanks to a head to head loss, the Chiefs own the tiebreaker over Buffalo if they end up with the same record. The Chiefs are also two games ahead of Buffalo already. However, Kansas City has some tough games coming up, including road games against both the Dolphins and Saints. If the Chiefs lose both of those games, there's a real chance the Bills sneak into the top slot. Here's the scenario that would be best for Buffalo:

  • Buffalo wins all its remaining games, finishes 13-3, and with a 10-2 record in the AFC
  • The Chiefs lose to the Dolphins and Saints, finish 13-3, and with a 10-2 record in the AFC
  • The Steelers lose to the Bills and one of remaining teams on the schedule, defeat other two teams, finish 13-3, and with a 10-2 record in the AFC

In this situation, the Buffalo Bills would be the top seed in the NFL playoffs thanks to tiebreakers.

This scenario requires the Chiefs to lose at least 2 games, and one of them has to be to a AFC team. The Chiefs only play the Dolphins and the Chargers, so Bills fans will be rooting for at least one of those two teams to pull off an upset.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1, 9-0 AFC)

Even if Buffalo manages to beat the Steelers on Sunday Night Football this week, the Bills will still need help to surpass them in the standings.

By beating Pittsburgh at home, Buffalo will obtain all tiebreakers needed to beat them should the two teams finish with the same record. The following scenario is what Bills fans should be rooting for:

  • Buffalo wins all its remaining games, finishes 13-3, and with a 10-2 record in the AFC
  • The Steelers lose to the Bills and lose at least one of their remaining games to the Bengals, Colts, and Browns

As long as the above scenario happens, the Bills are guaranteed at least the two seed in the playoffs, and potentially the top seed if the Chiefs slip up twice, and the Bills, Chiefs, and Steelers finish with the same records.

Other Potential Playoff Concerns

The Tennessee Titans might have beaten the Buffalo Bills once already, but their loss last week to Cleveland ensures that Buffalo controls its own playoff placement over them. The Dolphins have won several straight games, but Buffalo has already beaten Miami once and has a 4-0 AFC East division record, something that Miami could only tie. Cleveland's 9-3 record isn't a source of potential concern, since they already have 3 losses in the AFC and are trailing Pittsburgh in the division. The Colts, at 8-4, represent a potential threat, but only if Buffalo loses a game from now until the end of the year.

Despite all of these scenarios, Buffalo is only guaranteed the 3 seed by winning all of their remaining games.

This is partially due to the fluky Cardinals play, which would have left Buffalo at 10-2 if stopped. Instead, the Bills are in a position where they need help to get the top overall seed in the AFC. It's a long shot, but it is possible.