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For the dreamers: Here's what would help Bills' playoff hopes today

By Jay Skurski

Will the final real playoff team in the AFC please stand up (please stand up, please stand up).

The sixth and final postseason spot in the American Football Conference is wide open, and even at 4-7, the Buffalo Bills are not out of the race. The Bills have, however, burned up pretty much all of their mulligans, and will likely be forced to win out when they return from the bye week -- along with needing some help. Here's a look at the race for the final playoff spot, and what Bills fans should be hoping for today.

    6. New York Jets (5-5) -- Hold the final playoff spot because of holding the tiebreaker over Miami based on record within division games.
    Today: at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Bills fans should be hoping for a Baltimore victory over New York, because the Bills hold the first tiebreaker over the Ravens, which is a head-to-head victory.
    7. Miami (5-5) -- vs. Carolina, 1 p.m. -- Bills fans should be all in on Cam Newton today.
    8. Oakland (4-6) -- vs. Tennessee, 4:05 p.m.
    9. Tennessee (4-6) -- at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. -- Oakland has the better conference record in this game, so that's one reason to consider pulling for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
    10. Pittsburgh (4-6) -- at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
    11. Baltimore (4-6) -- vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m.
    12. Cleveland (4-6) -- vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. -- Tough one here. Both the Browns and Steelers have the first tiebreaker on the Bills.
    13. San Diego (4-6) -- at Kansas City, 1 p.m. -- Alex Smith and Co. should have Buffalo's support.
    14. Buffalo (4-7) -- BYE.

Assuming there are no ties, the Bills will lose ground to at least three teams based on today's matchups. As the standings show, there are a lot of teams between them and the sixth spot. In games where there is a clear rooting interest, however, Bills fans should be pulling for the Ravens, Panthers and Chiefs.

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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 |