For the first time in 20 years, the Bills enter Week 17 with nothing to play for—in a positive way—besides keeping their starters fresh heading into the team’s upcoming Wild Card clash the first weekend of January.
While the Bills were accustomed to many meaningless regular-season finales during the 17-year playoff drought, this year is the first time since the 1999 season that team enters Week 17 having already secured a playoff berth. In 1999, the Bills wrapped up a playoff appearance in Week 16 with a 13-10 overtime win over the New England Patriots to improve to 10-5.
As most Bills fans recall, the following week, Rob Johnson started in place of Doug Flutie and directed the team to a 31-6 win over the Indianapolis Colts in a similar meaningless finale.
Unfortunately, Johnson was so impressive during the game (287 passing yards with two touchdowns while completing 75 percent of his passes) that despite Doug Flutie leading the Bills to a 10-5 record, head coach Wade Phillips named Johnson the team’s starting quarterback for the Wild Card game vs. the Tennessee Titans. Buffalo would go on to lose 22-16, sparking a controversy that still rages on in Western New York.
Hopefully no such quarterback controversy will emerge from Sunday’s match-up with the Jets.
Head coach Sean McDermott has announced that the majority of his starters will play Sunday as a tune-up for the Wild Card game (the Houston Texans appear to be the likely playoff opponent for Buffalo).
While the Bills bounced back from a 6-10 campaign in 2018 to earn their second playoff appearance in three seasons under McDermott, the Jets had high hopes for the 2019 season but have mostly disappointed. While the team got off to a 1-7 start, the Jets are rounding into form and are seeking their sixth win in their last eight games.
This is the 119th meeting all-time between these teams. Buffalo leads the all-time series 63-55, winning the 2019 season opener 17-16 at MetLife Stadium. Buffalo is searching for its first sweep of the Jets since the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Here’s how to watch Sunday’s game from home:
Date: Sunday, December 29, 2019
Time: 1 p.m. Eastern
Channel: The game will be carried locally on CBS on WIVB 4 in Buffalo plus WROC 8 in Rochester, WTVH 5 in Syracuse and Utica, WKTV 2 in Syracuse, Utica, and Albany, WBNG 12 in Syracuse, Binghamton, and Elmira, WYOU 22 in Binghamton, WRGB 6 in Utica and Albany, WCWN 45 in Albany and WENY 36-2 in Elmira. View the broadcast map.
Announcers: Tom McCarthy (play-by-play) and Jay Feely (analyst).
Location: New Era Field | Orchard Park, N.Y.
Tickets: Click here
Radio: WGR 550 AM (Buffalo), WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM (Rochester), Fan 590 AM (Toronto), WTKW 99.5 FM and WKTV 105.5 FM (Syracuse), and the rest of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.
Radio Play-by-Play: John Murphy and Eric Wood in the booth with sideline reporter Sal Capaccio.
Online: NFL Game Pass, NFL.com Game Center
Twitter: Follow @BuffRumblings for complete Bills coverage on Twitter before, during, and after every game.
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New York Jets