How the Buffalo Bills Win the AFC East in Week 18
At 10-6 and currently holding onto first place in the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills simply have to take care of business, and they’ll walk away with their second-straight division title.
The Bills have a matchup at home against the 4-12 New York Jets, so a win seems like a decent probability. What that said, anything can and does happen in the NFL once January rolls around, so that’s why they play the games.
There’s a ton at stake for the Bills in Week 18. That includes the AFC East title.
Here’s how the Buffalo Bills win the AFC East in Week 18
Life is simple for Sean McDermott, Josh Allen, and the Bills as they look to wrap up the AFC East title for the second-straight season.
The Bills simply need to beat the Jets, and the division is theirs.
Here’s how it would shake out.
There may be a little bit of confusion when looking at the standings and seeing that the New England Patriots are also 10-6 heading into Week 18, and they’ve got a matchup with the Miami Dolphins to look forward to. That’s never an easy game, especially considering the fact that Miami has historically loved to play spoiler to New England.
The Bills and Patriots will find themselves all tied up at 11-6 if both teams are able to beat their Week 18 opponents, and that seems like a strong possibility for both squads. Making things even trickier, the Bills and Patriots have tied their season series, each beating the other on their home turf.
Even still, that scenario would favor the Bills. If both teams finished at 11-6 and we know they are tied in the head-to-head, the division would go to the team with the better record against AFC East opponents… and that would be Buffalo.
In this scenario, Buffalo would finish 5-1 in the division, while New England would finish 4-2.
What happens if the Bills lose to the Jets?
The only thing Buffalo is going to want to focus on is pulling out the win, but the valuable thing about being in the pole position heading into the last weekend of the season is that if for some reason the Bills do lose, there is still a pathway to wining division.
That’s not the route the Bills are going to want to take, of course, but it’s worth noting that it is there nonetheless. If you’re part of Bills Mafia, you just hope you don’t have to go down this road.
If the Jets come into Orchard Park and beat the Bills, which would undoubtedly be a huge upset, the AFC East crown will stay with Buffalo if the Patriots also lose. The tiebreaker rules we mentioned above would go into effect, and it would be almost like nothing ever happened…except, in reality, a whole lot would have transpired.
The last option is similar; it’s just a lot more boring, and frankly, extremely unlikely. If the Bills come out and tie with the Jets, they can remain on top of the AFC East if somehow, someway, the Patriots also played to a tie in their contest.
The ESPN Matchup Predictor believes the Bills have a 94.4% chance of beating the Jets on Sunday afternoon, for what it’s worth. According to that same predictor, the Patriots also are expected to win their contest over Miami (65.%).
The Bills are focused on winning the division in front of Bills Mafia
No matter what happens this weekend, the Bills at the very least know that the chance to play for a Super Bowl is in front of them. They clinched their spot in the playoffs last weekend in a 29-15 win over the Atlanta Falcons, and though the playoffs have become an expectation the McDermott-era of Buffalo football, last weekend’s clincher was extra special.
It was the first time the home crowd got to watch the Bills clinch a spot in the playoffs since the 1990s.
It was clearly a special moment for the team, but imagine how much more motivated the Bills are now, with the opportunity to win the division in front of Bills Mafia.
“It means a lot. Anything that we can do for these fans, you guys know how much our football team cares about them. So, not only did we clinch today, but we have an even greater opportunity next week to win the division,” defensive tackle Harrison Phillips said after the game, according to the team website.
Allen had this to say about potentially clinching the AFC East at home:
Coach told us this morning that it hasn’t been done at home in I think around 30 years. So, for us to give that to the fans, especially after last year with COVID and them not being able to be there, I think it’d mean a lot for them.Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen on clinching the AFC East at home.
Clearly, this is a Buffalo team that knows what’s at stake, and they’re going to be dialed in and focused on bringing home both the win as well as the AFC East crown.
“We understand that the Jets are gonna come in here and they’re gonna be extremely hungry and they’re gonna be ready to play on Sunday, so we know that, and they know that. So, we got to be ready to come out and give everything we got,” Allen continued.
The game kicks off at 4:25 PM EST from Highmark Stadium. If all goes well, you can guarantee that many tables will be broken in honor of the back-to-back AFC East champs.
Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference.
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