Patriots AFC East Crown?
People are still buzzing about New England’s upcoming match against the Bills. New England is still a favorite this season, and the Patriots Odds for the NFL playoffs are definitely enviable.
But the Patriots have been in such a precarious position since the start of the season that people cannot help but panic about every single bump they encounter along the way.
This time it was the Buffalo Bills’ victory over Kansans City that got people talking. New England has a record of 8-2. That puts comfortably in control of the division. The Bills are three games behind and they are unlikely to bridge that gap.
New England fans are hoping to see their team take the AFC East Crown in the next two weeks. That will be their ninth consecutive crown and that isn’t a bad thing. But it isn’t great either.
Maybe this is a matter of New England fans getting greedy. But you will hear some of them complain about the fact that they won’t be able to clinch the AFC next week when they face off against the Buffalo Bills.
Sometimes, success in the NFL can come down a fortunate run that sees all the right dominoes fall at the right time and in the right place. And that is what seemed to happen for New England.
Everything that could go right went right over a period of three weeks. And it looked like the Patriots would soon claim AFC East victory. But then the Kansas City Chiefs played the Buffalo Bills and they actually lost, throwing a spanner in the works.
The Bills played the Chiefs in a road game and beat them 16-10. The result left both teams with a matching 6-5 record. And that should be a good thing for the Patriots. In fact, anyone looking at the big picture of the AFC will tell you that it was a great thing.
But from the perspective of New England, the Bills’ victory has also delayed their acquisition of the AFC East Crown by another week.
The Patriots wanted the Bills’ to see their record fall to 5-6. For that to happen, Buffalo had to lose to Kansas City. The result would have seen the Bills face off against the Patriots in Week 13.
And one assumes that the Patriots would have come out on top, emerging with a 10-2 record while the Bills fell to 5-7. At that point, there would have been no rational chance of the Bills matching New England’s record and that would have been the end of the AFC East race.
Now, New England is going to play Buffalo next week and they could beat them. But that might not be enough to win the division. In the worst case scenario, the Bills and the Patriots could both end the year with a 10-6 record. It seems unlikely but it isn’t impossible.
The Patriots could lose their final four games against opponents like the Dolphins and the New York Jets.
Of course, this works out for the Bills. They would like to move the race on to a tiebreaker.
But it is generally assumed that the Patriots will beat the Bills next week and clinch the AFC East shortly after that. You just can’t be too sure with the NFL.