The Buffalo Bills 33-21 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 16 was one for the history books. New England’s defense could not stop Bills quarterback Josh Allen, and for the first time in Bill Belichick’s history as a coach (474 games), his team could not force the opposing offense to punt.
Not only did Buffalo (9-6) usurp the top spot in the AFC East from the Patriots (9-6), but their record within the division gives the Bills the edge over New England. If Buffalo can win their final two games, they will win the AFC East title for the second year in a row.
ALL the latest Bills news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bills newsletter here!
According to The New York Times playoff machine, the Bills’ odds to make the playoffs this season are now 97%. If the Bills win in Week 17, and the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Los Angeles Rams, they will guarantee themselves a spot in the postseason.
The Bills can also clinch a spot in the playoffs with a Week 17 if they win, and both the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers lose.
The Patriots, however, are not out of playoff contention. In fact, Bills Wire reporter Alaina Getzenberg tweeted that ESPN’s Football Power Index’s prediction for Buffalo’s postseason shows that they’re “most likely” going to face New England again during the playoffs.
The first time these two team’s played against one other this season was in Week 13. Despite Patriots quarterback Mac Jones making just three passing attempts, New England defeated the Bills 14-10.
Bleacher Report Also Predicts A 3rd Patriots Vs. Bills Showdown
While these are all projections, and anything can happen over the next two weeks to seriously shake things up, based on how the AFC division stands heading into Week 17, a third rematch between the Bills and Patriots seems almost imminent.
Bleacher Report‘s Christopher Knox broke down the complexities of the most-likely playoff scenarios in the AFC on December 27 and also came to the conclusion that we should prepare for another rivalry rematch.
Knox sees Bills nabbing the No. 3 seed while the Patriots grab the No. 3 seed. “ The Bills have a chance to jump Cincinnati, as the Bengals face the red-hot Chiefs in Week 17,” Knox surmised. “If that happens, we’re going to be treated to an exciting and physical Round 3 in a series that was split during the regular season. There’s no telling which way this one could go.”
The Bills Have Much Easier Matchups to Close Out the Regular Season than New England
While the Bills have a lot to celebrate following their statement victory over the Patriots, they have two more games left before the regular season ends, and they must win at least one to clinch their spot in the postseason.
Allen acknowledged this during the postgame conference on Sunday. “I’m so happy for our guys, how they responded,” Allen said. “But we’ve got two games left and we got to keep going.”
The Bills will look to keep the momentum going when they take on the Atlanta Falcons (7-8) at home in Orchard Park on January 2, 2022. In Week 18, they face the New York Jets (4-11).
While the Patriots face the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) in Week 17, they must then face another resurging AFC East rival, the Miami Dolphins (7-7 heading into Monday Night Football on December 27), in Week 18.