Bills-Patriots is a huge game

There won’t be many games left on the NFL schedule that will shape the playoff picture more than the two New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills games. 

The first one happens Monday night in Buffalo. The Patriots are 8-4 and the Bills are 7-4. Whoever wins will be in pole position to win the AFC East. Whoever takes the division also has a good shot at the all-important No. 1 seed and the lone bye in the conference. 

Sweeping the Bills and winning the tiebreaker is more important to the Patriots because of what happened in Week 1. New England lost to the Miami Dolphins in the opener. The Bills are undefeated in the division and the Patriots have that one loss. If the Bills get at least one win over the Patriots and don’t lose the season finale to the Jets, they’ll clinch the tiebreaker over New England due to a better record in the division. 

These two meetings are enormous in shaping the playoff race. Whoever wins would probably become the favorite to win an AFC championship. 

(Yahoo Sports graphic by Michael Wagstaffe)

Here are the biggest games that could shake up the playoff picture in Week 13: 

Chargers at Bengals

The Bengals can’t assume they’re safely in the playoffs. They’re 7-4 but there are a ton of contenders for wild-card spots in the AFC. Cincinnati, who already banked a win at Baltimore, has division title hopes too. The Chargers are one of the teams that could sneak past the Bengals in the wild-card race. There are plenty of tiebreaker implications. 

Ravens at Steelers

It’s a big weekend in the AFC North. Losing to the Bengals last week didn’t help the 5-5-1 Steelers. They need a win; a loss would put their wild-card hopes in serious jeopardy. The Ravens are the favorite to win the AFC North but want to keep some distance between themselves and the Bengals. 

Washington at Raiders

Yeah, seriously. WFT is currently the No. 7 seed in what should be a weird race for the NFC wild-card spots. The Raiders’ chances of getting a wild card (and their small hope of winning the AFC West) got a nice bump with the win at Dallas last week. These are two teams that have had their issues this season but have a path to the playoffs. Those hopes dwindle with a loss Sunday. 

Broncos at Chiefs

In this weird season, maybe we shouldn’t assume the Chiefs are going to win this one. If the Broncos win, they would have a share of first place in the AFC West with five games to go. The Chiefs are in good shape, but their hopes of getting the No. 1 seed would take a huge hit with a loss on Sunday night. 


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