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    Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills Playoff Scenarios: The Dirty Birds need a miracle

    Week 17 features the surging Buffalo Bills vs. the Atlanta Falcons in a game loaded with NFL playoff-clinching scenarios.

    The Buffalo Bills (9-6) are playing their best football of the season and just might be the Kansas City Chiefs’ biggest threat to a third-straight Super Bowl appearance. The Atlanta Falcons (7-8), meanwhile, still have a playoff pulse, however faint. These teams have met just 12 times, but never before with this much on the line. Let’s take a look at the playoff scenarios at play in Week 17’s Falcons vs. Bills game.

    Update: The Bills have defeated the Falcons, 29-15. Playoff scenarios are listed below. For a complete up-to-date picture, visit our 2022 NFL Playoff Picture.

    Playoff-clinching scenarios for Falcons vs. Bills

    The bottleneck between the No. 3 and No. 10 seeds in the AFC has left things incredibly unsettled.

    But the Bills brought some clarity to the AFC East race by beating the Patriots in Week 15. They now have an 89% chance to host a first-round playoff game, per FiveThirtyEight. Nevertheless, work still remains.

    How the Falcons can clinch a playoff spot

    You’re kidding, right? The only NFL team left still technically alive in the playoff race with longer postseason odds is Denver, and their chances are at less than 1-in-1000.

    The Falcons will be lucky just to have one of these stories written about them next week.

    How the Bills can clinch a playoff spot

    Many, many ways. The Bills guarantee themselves at least a Wild Card spot with a:

    • Win and a Ravens loss or tie
    • Win, a Chargers loss or tie and a Raiders loss or tie
    • Tie, a Dolphins loss or tie, a Chargers loss, and a Raiders loss
    • Tie, a Dolphins loss or tie, a Chargers loss or tie, a Ravens loss, and a Steelers loss or tie
    • Tie, a Dolphins loss or tie, a Raiders loss or tie, a Ravens loss, and a Steelers loss or tie
    • Tie, a Patriots loss or tie, a Chargers loss, and a Raiders loss
    • Tie, a Patriots loss or tie, a Chargers loss or tie, a Ravens loss, and a Steelers loss or tie
    • Tie, a Patriots loss or tie, a Raiders loss or tie, a Ravens loss, and a Steelers loss or tie
    • Tie, a Chargers loss, a Raiders loss, a Ravens loss, and a Steelers loss or tie

    Other Week 17 playoff implications for Falcons, Bills

    Even if the Falcons win their final two games — which is no small feat, as they’re against the Bills and Saints –, they own a 30% chance to make the playoffs. Why? Because their tiebreakers are dreadful. Even winning out would put them at just 5-7 in the conference, and they have head-to-head losses to the Eagles and 49ers.

    To get in, they need to not only catch the teams ahead of them in the standings but pass them. That means winning out and having either the Niners or Eagles lose out, plus having the Saints or Vikings lose at least once. See why they’re such longshots?

    So there are very few ways for the Falcons to get in. But there are many ways for them to get eliminated, beginning Sunday. The Falcons would be done with:

    • A loss
    • A tie, an Eagles win or tie, and a 49ers tie
    • A tie, an Eagles tie, and a 49ers win
    • An Eagles win, and a 49ers win

    As for the Bills, they cannot clinch the AFC East this weekend, even if they win and the Patriots lose. New England could conceivably still catch Buffalo if that happens, but it would take a Bills loss to the Jets in Week 18. If Buffalo wins out, Bills Mafia is guaranteed at least the fourth seed. A loss Sunday would leave some unfinished business next weekend, but the Bills would have paths to the postseason if they lose out.

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