Buffalo Bills Improve AFC East Standing During Bye Week

Sean McDermott

Getty Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott points out over the field as the Bills play the Arizona Cardinals.

The bye week couldn’t have gone any better for the Buffalo Bills as they look to capture the organization’s first AFC East title since 1995.

Heading into the bye week, the Buffalo Bills sat atop the AFC East with a record of 7-3 and the Miami Dolphins were nipping at their heels for the division lead. But, as Week 11 played out, all of Buffalo’s AFC East opponents, the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets, all lost, improving Buffalo’s chance to win the division.

As the Bills prepare for their week 12 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, they sit with a comfortable one-game lead in the AFC East with a division record of 4-0. The Dolphins are currently 6-4 after their loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday and currently have a division record of 1-2.

The New England Patriots are the only other team in the AFC East with a winning record in the division. They sit with a record of 2-1 in the AFC East. The Jets were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with their Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

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How Can the Bills Clinch the AFC East

At this point in the season, the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins have the best chance to win the division. The two teams still have another matchup in Week 17, which is in Buffalo, but the Bills have the stronger position.

As it stands in Week 12, the Bills own the first two playoff tiebreakers over the Dolphins, which are head-to-head matchup – the Bills beat the Dolphins 31-28 in Week 2 – and best win percentage in the division – the Bills are currently undefeated while the Dolphins only have one win.

While several things could happen over the next two months, buffalorumblings.com believes that the winner of the AFC East will be whoever gets to 12 wins first. This means the Bills magic number is currently five wins.

At 6-4, the Dolphins would need to win their remaining six games to get to 12 and if they can get past the Jets and the Bengals, they still have matchups against the Kansas Chiefs, the Patriots, the Las Vegas Raiders, and they finish off the season with a matchup in Buffalo, where they haven’t won since 2016.

The Bills have the Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Patriots, and Dolphins all remaining on their schedule. They’ve already beaten the Patriots and Dolphins and handed the Steelers a loss late in the season in Pittsburgh last year.

The Steelers and the Dolphins are also the only two teams with winning records through Week 11. The Steelers lead the AFC with an undefeated record of 10-0.

Healthy for their Stretch Run

One of the biggest things that the Bills have going for them coming out of their bye week is their health. After losing players like linebacker Matt Milano and linemen Cody Ford heading into their matchup with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, the Bills are on the mend.

On Monday of last week, Sean McDermott delivered good news on both Milano and Ford and said that they were trending in the right direction. He also said that their bye week came at the perfect time as they were looking to get healthy.

Tight end Tyler Kroft and defensive backs Levi Wallace and Dean Marlowe were also activated off of the Reserve/Covid-19 list after coming into close contact with Josh Norman, who tested positive for the virus and missed the Cardinals game.

Two guys to keep an eye on out of the bye week are going to be wide receiver John Brown and rookie defensive back Dane Jackson. Both suffered injuries against the Cardinals.

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