The Buffalo Bills have officially punched their ticket to the postseason, but it remains unknown if they will enter the playoffs as the AFC East division champions, and who they will face in the first round.
While the Bills (10-6) are currently on a hot steak, after a high win over the New England Patriots in Week 16 and defeating the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17, their uneven season is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Buffalo has lost numerous times to lesser opponents this season, and while the Bills’ defense is one of the best in the league, they’ve struggled to block against the run game.
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The Jets (4-12) are already out of the playoffs, but Fatukasi, whom they drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, has been one of the lone bright spots for New York. Heading into Week 17, he’s recorded 44 tackles, 20 solo stops, and five tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-4 318-pound defensive lineman is originally from Rockaway, so a trade that offers him the ability to stay in New York and a chance to play on a playoff-bound team would be a very enticing offer.
Trading the UConn alum right now would benefit the Jets as well. The 26-year-old defensive stud becomes a free agent after the season ends, and New York could end up losing him for nothing in 2022.
What Would It Take to Successfully Land Fatukasi in Buffalo?
While league rules do not allow any trades this late in the season (that window closed on November 2, 2021), it’s interesting to speculate on how and why Fatukasi would help boost the Bills’ defense, especially since he could very likely be picked up by Buffalo during the offseason.
“While Buffalo has invested heavily in its defensive line in recent years—using early picks on the likes of Ed Oliver, Gregory Rousseau, and A.J. Epenesa — run defense has still been an issue during the 2021 season,” Knox pointed out:
Buffalo ranks 19th in rushing yards allowed and 14th in yards per carry allowed. It has allowed 19 rushing touchdowns, sixth-most in the NFL. Between Weeks 13 and 16, the Bills defense surrendered an average of 165 rushing yards per game. Fatukasi could rotate as an early-down run-defender, helping the Bills at least slow the bleeding on the ground in the postseason. Buffalo may need to overpay to gain an asset from a division rival, but with Fatukasi potentially departing in a couple of months, an early Day 3 pick might be enough to get a deal done.
The Bills Face-Off Against the Jets in Week 18
Funnily enough, the Bills’ final game of the regular season will be against Fatukasi and the Jets at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, January 9 at 4:25 p.m. ET ( was originally scheduled at 1 p.m. ET).
Heading into Week 18, the Bills are favorited to beat the Jeats with a 17-point spread. However, the Jets proved they still have a lot of fight in them after nearly taking down Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, January 2.
New York was up 24-10 during the third quarter before Brady went into full G.O.A.T mode. He led three straight unanswered scoring drives in the fourth quarter, and a two-point conversion to seal a 28-24 victory with 15 seconds left on the clock.
If the Bills win, they will clinch the AFC East division for the second year in a row. Therefore, don’t expect quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills to sleep on this final regular-season matchup.