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Miami Dolphins can clinch AFC East in Week 17

Win or lose, the Bills can be eliminated from the divisional race this weekend.

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images
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 have won three straight AFC East titles. On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins can end Buffalo’s streak and clinch their first division crown since Chad Pennington and Tony Sparano led them to a tiebreaker victory over the New England Patriots for the top spot in 2008.

The Dolphins sit at 11-4 while the Bills are 9-6. If both teams finish the season 11-6, Buffalo is the AFC East champion based on a head-to-head sweep over Miami. The two teams face each other in the final week of the season, so that game could very likely determine the division winner and impact seeding in the AFC race.

Before we get to Week 18, though, the Dolphins can clinch the division this weekend with one of two outcomes. Both games kickoff at 1 pm Eastern on CBS.

  • Miami Dolphins defeat Baltimore Ravens
  • New England Patriots defeat Buffalo Bills

The Ravens are the hottest team in the NFL right now after beating the San Francisco 49ers. They have a lot to play for, too, as a win would clinch the AFC North for them and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The Patriots already defeated the Bills this season, as Mac Jones led a game-winning drive late in the middle of Buffalo’s rough patch. Buffalo won’t be looking past New England to the season-ending matchup against the Dolphins.

If the Bills win and the Dolphins lose in Week 17, Buffalo vs Miami will be the far-and-away leader to be flexed to Sunday night as the 272nd game of the NFL season. Both teams will be playing hard with MVP candidates and plenty on the line to keep the game competitive.

Miami has already clinched a playoff spot, and there are multiple scenarios where the Bills can clinch a playoff spot in Week 17.