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Bills, Patriots Week 18 games moved to late afternoon time slot

The AFC East won’t be decided until Sunday evening

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

The Buffalo Bills’ Week 18 game against the New York Jets has been moved to 4:25 PM Eastern. Joining Buffalo in the late afternoon are the New England Patriots, who play the Miami Dolphins. If Buffalo wins or the Patriots lose, the Bills are the AFC East champs. If Buffalo loses and New England wins, the Patriots win the AFC East again.

The NFL likes to put these important scenarios in the late afternoon time slot. It gives both teams something to play for having them be at the same time, making the games more interesting and competitive.

The league also flexed several other games. The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers have a drool-inducing matchup for TV executives. The winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. It’s an extra playoff game for Sunday Night Football.

For the first time, ESPN will air a pair of games on the Saturday of Week 18. The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos were flexed to 4:30 PM and the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will be at 8:15 PM. While the Broncos have been eliminated, the other three teams have clinched a postseason spot and are playing for playoff seeding.

If Buffalo wins on Sunday afternoon, they won’t know their opponent until late Sunday after the Chargers/Raiders game. Buckle up for a long weekend.