Did the Buffalo Bills Stay in Detroit Between Week 11 Snowstorm Game and Week 12 Thanksgiving Day Matchup With the Lions?

When six feet of snow hit the Buffalo Bills’ home stadium in Orchard Park, New York, the NFL found a solution to the problem. With the Detroit Lions on the road playing the New York Giants, the league moved the Bills Week 11 game vs. the Cleveland Browns to Michigan. Interestingly, the Bills were already scheduled to play in Detroit just four days later in a Week 12 Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Lions. So, did the Bills stay in Detroit between Weeks 11 and 12?

The Bills returned to Buffalo after Week 11 win vs. Browns

The Buffalo Bills beat the Cleveland Browns 31-23 in Week 11 in Detroit, then hopped on the team plane and headed back to Western New York.

Josh Allen and company could have stayed the three days between their Browns game and their Week 12 Thanksgiving Day showdown. In fact, according to Spectrum News 1 Buffalo reporter Rachel Hopmayer, it was even something the team considered.

Following the Browns game, Hopmayer tweeted, “[Head coach Doug] McDermott says #Bills considered staying in Detroit, but with the chaotic exit from Buffalo, he thinks there’s value in players returning home for a few days on a short week.”

And that’s the crux of the reason the Bills did not stay in Detroit between Weeks 11 and 12. The Bills players left their homes and families in the midst of a historic snowstorm to go play in Detroit in Week 11. The team went back to Buffalo to have some semblance of a normal week and, presumably, shovel, and they’ll travel back to Detroit on Wednesday.

The AFC East is tightening

A fan holds a sign during an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns in Detroit, Michigan.
A fan holds a sign during a Week 11 Buffalo Bills game in Detroit | Amy Lemus/NurPhoto

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While a Thanksgiving Day game between an AFC East squad and an NFC North team doesn’t usually have huge playoff implications, every game is now crucial in the tight AFC East.

Like the NFC East, the AFC East is one of the two divisions in the NFL right now where all four teams are over .500. With two wins in four weeks over the New York Jets, the New England Patriots are now 6-4, like their New York rivals, and currently sit in a playoff spot.

Above them are the Bills and Miami Dolphins at 7-3. With the Dolphins’ Week 3 win over the Bills, the team from Florida owns the tiebreaker and is currently first in the division.

This week, the Patriots take on the Minnesota Vikings, the Dolphins face the Houston Texans, and the Jets host the Chicago Bears.

These games are all important for the AFC East teams to keep pace. However, the divisional matchups down the stretch will determine who wins the crown and who makes the playoffs. The crucial games coming up are:

  • Week 13: Bills @ Patriots
  • Week 14: Jets @ Bills
  • Week 15: Dolphins @Bills
  • Week 17: Dolphins @ Patriots
  • Week 18: Jets @ Dolphins, Bills @ Patriots

Wins by the Bills and other AFC East teams in Week 12 will go a long way to setting up an incredible run of games down the stretch in, arguably, the best division in football.