The Buffalo Bills have looked like the definitive second best team in the AFC this season, especially in the last month as the Pittsburgh Steelers hit a major skid following an 11-0 start. The Bills aren’t quite locked into the No. 2 seed, though.
This year, with seven teams making the playoffs from each conference, only the No. 1 seeds have byes. Still, there are advantages to being No. 2 over No. 3, especially when it comes to having home field over everyone except for the Kansas City Chiefs, who have the top spot locked up.
Teams like to be able to rest their key players and avoid injuries if they can in Week 17, though. The Steelers are doing that on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, more worried about getting Ben Roethlisberger and other aging stars some extra time to recover than playing for seeding.
The Buffalo Bills haven’t tipped their hand yet, but reading between the lines it looks like they’re following the Steelers’ lead. The Bills face the Miami Dolphins, who may very well need the win to clinch a Wild Card spot. During an appearance on WGR Radio this morning, head coach Sean McDermott said that the team would do what’s best for “our team and our players.” This is a bit contrary to what Josh Allen recently said, but it isn’t surprising that the competitive star quarterback is preparing to play.
Sean McDermott just said on WGR Radio it “remains yet to be seen and determined” if he’ll play starters Sunday.
He says he’ll do the best for “our team and our players."
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 31, 2020
As ProFootballTalk points out, that certainly sounds like a team that is going to rest guys and cross its fingers. The Browns need a win over the Steelers to lock up a playoff berth, and would love to tee off on Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh backups.
Anything can happen in a rivalry game like that, but it seems like a fair bet to make that Cleveland will give you some help, if you’re the Bills.
If the Steelers and Bills both lose, and the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, and Tennessee Titans all take care of business against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, and Houston Texans respectively, we’re looking at No. 2 Buffalo vs. No. 7 Cleveland, No. 3 Pittsburgh vs. No. 6 Baltimore, and No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Miami in the first round of the AFC Playoff race.