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NFL playoff picture: What does Bills-Bengals mean for AFC standings

The Bills face the Bengals on Monday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

NFL: SEP 29 Dolphins at Bengals

SNF update: The Ravens lost to the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. That means the Bengals can clinch the AFC North with a win over the Bills on Monday. If the Bengals lose on Monday, they will have to beat the Ravens at home in Week 18 to clinch the AFC North. If not, they would claim a wild card berth.

1 p.m. window update: The Chiefs beat the Broncos, which means the Bills cannot clinch the No. 1 seed with a win over the Bengals. If the Bengals beat the Bills, Kansas City would move into first place in the conference.

The NFL wraps up the Monday Night Football schedule with the most important game of Week 17 and the most important game that has been on the MNF schedule this season. The Cincinnati Bengals host the Buffalo Bills with the top seed on the line for one and maybe both teams. The Monday Night Football finale kicks off at 8:30 p.m. ET with an ESPN and ABC simulcast. The Bills are a 1.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Bills playoff picture

Buffalo is currently 12-3 and in first place in the overall AFC standings. They clinched the AFC East title and are tied with the Chiefs for the best record in the AFC. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker and thus the No. 1 seed for the time-being.

The Bills can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win and a Chiefs loss. The Bills need a win anyway to stay ahead of the Bengals. The only thing the Chiefs game on Sunday will tell them is if they can clinch No. 1 or push the whole thing to Week 18 with them.

Bengals playoff picture

Cincinnati is 11-4 and can clinch the AFC North title this weekend. They have a one-game lead on the Ravens and can clinch the division with a win and a Ravens loss or tie. If the Bengals happened to tie the Bills, they would clinch the division with a Ravens loss. That means they’ll know heading into Monday if they’re in position to close out the division title since the Ravens will be playing the Steelers on Sunday Night Football the night before.

Tiebreaker implications

The winner of the game claims the head-to-head tiebreaker, although if it’s the Bills, they’d clinch a better record than the Bengals ahead of any tiebreakers. If the Bengals win, they claim the tiebreaker. This has no impact on the Bengals tiebreakers with the Ravens for the AFC North title.