Week 18 NFL Playoff Scenarios: What it means for the Bills

The Buffalo Bills still have something to play for in the AFC playoff picture as they head into their Week 18 clash with the New England Patriots.

After the Bills’ Week 17 game was halted due to a medical emergency on the field against Cincinnati, the NFL determined it wouldn’t resume the game. That decision has had playoff implications.

The Bills are listed as seven-point home favorites over the Patriots, with a lot that can transpire from the outcomes of multiple games this weekend. 

Three different scenarios can alter where the eventual AFC Championship Game will occur. The NFL wanted to ensure that canceling the Bengals-Bills game wouldn’t change any team’s ability to qualify for the postseason. 

A neutral site has been brought into the equation and will occur in the AFC Championship if the two teams have participated in an unequal number of games. In addition, each side had the potential to be the number one seed and host the game had all AFC clubs played an entire 17-game regular season. With Buffalo and Cincinnati being the parties those outcomes would affect, their situations are the focus. Don’t worry; if you’re confused, you aren’t alone. 

Scenario 1

Buffalo and the Kansas City Chiefs both win or tie their Week 18 games, resulting in a Buffalo vs. Kansas City neutral site AFC Championship Game (if both qualify).

Scenario 2

Buffalo loses to New England, Kansas City loses to Las Vegas, and Baltimore wins against Cincinnati or ties. In that case, a Buffalo vs. Kansas City AFC Championship Game would be played on a neutral site. 

Scenario 3

Buffalo and Kansas City both lose their Week 18 games, but Cincinnati defeats Baltimore. That creates a situation where a Buffalo vs. Kansas City or a Cincinnati vs. Kansas City AFC Championship Game would be played on a neutral site.