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AFC Playoff Picture: Buffalo Bills control their own AFC East destiny

If Buffalo wins out, they win the division

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Earlier this week, we told you the Buffalo Bills (7-6) had a straightforward path to the AFC East division crown but they needed some help to do it. On Saturday night, they got that help as the Indianapolis Colts defeated the New England Patriots (9-5). With that outcome, the Bills now control their own destiny to the AFC East.

If the Buffalo Bills win out, they will be the AFC East champs.

Buffalo’s schedule sets up favorably for a run like this. They play three teams below .500 in those four games. The other game on the schedule is against the New England Patriots. That game against the Patriots is a week from today, on the day after Christmas, in New England.

In the previous matchup between the two teams, 50 MPH wind gusts limited both offenses and special teams, and Patriots QB Mac Jones attempted just three passes. The Bills lost a close game thanks to a long Patriots rushing touchdown and just enough bad decisions and poor execution. The Bills should be confident they can win in Foxborough.

A Bills win today sends them to 8-6 on the season and one game back of the 9-5 Patriots. A Buffalo win on December 26 would put both teams at 8-6 and with a split in the season series, the tiebreaker would go to AFC East record. New England previously lost to the Miami Dolphins, so their AFC East record is worse than Buffalo’s. As long as the Bills beat the Jets in Week 17, they would own the tiebreaker. The Patriots have one game left against the Dolphins, too. If they lose there, Buffalo would have even more wiggle room on their path.

It starts today with the game against the Carolina Panthers. The Bills need to win to keep pace and make their run to the AFC East title continue to remain a possibility.