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AFC wild-card race in focus: remaining schedules broken down

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills still are alive in the wild-card playoff race.

How alive?

Their EKG got a tad jumpier even though they didn't make up ground on the three teams closest to clinching.

The Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals also won Sunday, but the Bills did skip from 12th in the AFC standing to ninth because they won and the Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers lost.

The Bills still will need to surpass at least three more teams to qualify for the tournament, and they play just one of those opponents over their final four games.

Of the teams slotted fifth through ninth in the AFC (the four division leaders already have clinched), the Bills are third when ranking the easiest remaining schedules.

The Jets have the easiest remaining strength of schedule and hold the tiebreaker over the Bills because of their head-to-head victory on opening day. The Bills will play the Jets in the regular-season finale in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The schedule breakdown in order of how the teams rank in the standings:

Indianapolis Colts

  • * Record: 8-4
  • * Strength of remaining schedule: .583
  • * Opponents: Titans (4-8), Texans (11-1), Chiefs (2-10), Texans (11-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • * Record: 7-5
  • * Strength of remaining schedule: .438
  • * Opponents: Chargers (4-8), Cowboys (6-6), Bengals (7-5), Browns (4-8)

Cincinnati Bengals

  • * Record: 7-5
  • * Strength of remaining schedule: .521
  • * Opponents: Cowboys (6-6), Eagles (3-9), Steelers (7-5), Ravens (9-3)

New York Jets

  • * Record: 5-7
  • * Strength of remaining schedule: .313
  • * Opponents: Jaguars (2-10), Titans (4-8), Chargers (4-8), Bills (5-7)

Buffalo Bills

  • * Record: 5-7
  • * Strength of remaining schedule: .469
  • * Opponents: Rams (5-6-1), Seahawks (7-5), Dolphins (5-7), Jets (5-7)

Miami Dolphins

  • * Record: 5-7
  • * Strength of remaining schedule: .510
  • * Opponents: 49ers (8-3-1), Jaguars (2-10), Bills (5-7), Patriots (9-3)
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |