How Patriots vs. Bills impacts the AFC playoff picture

How Patriots vs. Bills impacts the AFC playoff picture
© AP WEEK 13: Dec. 6: at Buffalo Bills (Mon) 8:15, ESPN

The New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills are playing for enormous playoff consequences on Monday night for Week 13. The Patriots will finish either first in the AFC or fifth. The Bills, meanwhile, can finish either at second in the AFC or seventh.

If the Patriots win, they advance to 9-4 and stay at No. 1 in the AFC, where they’re already sitting after the Baltimore Ravens’ loss on Sunday. In that scenario, the Bills would fall to 7-5 and land in the seventh seed, still holding a projected playoff berth.

If the Bills won, they would advance to 8-4 and the second spot in the AFC standings. The Patriots, meanwhile, would drop to 8-5 and fall behind four teams that are 8-4. New England would also lose the top spot in the AFC East.

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It’s clear how important this week’s game will be. If the Patriots lose, they increase the importance of the two teams’ matchup in Week 15 at Gillette Stadium. If the Patriots win, they’d take a huge step toward the top seed.

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