After getting a huge divisional win over the New England Patriots, here is how the Buffalo Bills can win the AFC East and host a home playoff game.
Though the Bills and Patriots have identical 9-6 records through Week 16, Buffalo now assumes first place in the AFC East by way of the tie-breaking procedures. While they split the season series, Buffalo would win the division if the season ended today due to having a better AFC East record. Buffalo improved to 4-1 in divisional play, while New England stumbled to 3-2 with a loss.
Here is what it is going to take for the Bills to repeat as division champions in the AFC East.
How Buffalo Bills win the AFC East after beating the New England Patriots
Buffalo’s two final games are home vs. the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17 and home vs. the division rival New York Jets. The Bills will be favored over both sub-.500 games. If they win out, the Bills win the division, no matter what happens in the Patriots’ final two games. For New England, the Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17 and finish on the road with the Miami Dolphins.
Let’s also factor in Miami, who is 7-7 and still has to play the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. If the Dolphins win out (at Saints, vs. Tennessee Titans, vs. Patriots) and Buffalo and New England lose out, Miami wins the division at 10-7. Should they all finish with identical records, Buffalo wins the division if they beat the Jets, regardless of the Falcons game outcome.
Because Buffalo is the only team in the AFC East that can get to 5-1 in divisional play, the Bills hold the ultimate trump card. Divisional record is the first key tiebreaker between the Bills, the Patriots and maybe the Dolphins. So if Buffalo gets to 11-6, they are winning the division. If they go 10-7 and beat the Jets, they win the division. What happens if they somehow lose to the Jets?
If Buffalo beats Atlanta, but loses to the Jets to get to 10-7, the Bills will be 4-2 in the division. If New England beats Miami, but loses to Jacksonville, it will come down to common opponents record to break the tie between presumably 10-7 Buffalo and 10-7 New England. Miami would be eliminated from winning the AFC East at 10-7 with a New England because it’ll be 3-3 in-division.
Should Buffalo fall to the Jets after beating Atlanta, the Bills would need Miami to beat New England to break the tie and be the only 4-2 AFC East team. Simply put, the Bills are in prime position to win the AFC East if they win their next two games or don’t lose to the Jets in Week 18. That potential fifth win in divisional play will settle pretty much any tiebreaker in the AFC East.
By avenging their earlier loss at home to New England, Buffalo has to like its chances to win the AFC East for back-to-back years.