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NFL playoff picture: What does Bills-Patriots mean for AFC standings

The Bills face the Patriots in Foxborough on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

A general view of play between the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Result: The Bills beat the Patriots 33-21 to take over first place in the AFC East. The teams are tied with records of 9-6, but the Bills hold the division record tiebreaker heading into the final two weeks. The Patriots now sit in sixth place in the overall AFC standings. They’re tied with the Colts, but Indy claimed the head-to-head tiebreaker last week.

The AFC East has one of the biggest matchups in Week 16 as the New England Patriots host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET on CBS and the Patriots are a two-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Bills could be without defensive end Star Lotulelei as he deals with a personal matter while the Patriots will be without running back Rhamondre Stevenson.

AFC playoff picture

The Patriots are 9-5 and the Bills are 8-6. The Dolphins are in third place at 7-7, but most view the AFC East race as a two-team battle. New England won the first head-to-head matchup between these two in Buffalo and now looks to complete the season sweep. If the Patriots win the game and the Dolphins lose their game to the Saints, New England clinches the AFC East.

If the Bills win, they will move into first place in the division due to the division record tiebreaker. If the Bills lose, they will remain somewhere in the wild card race. They are currently in seventh place, holding the final wild card berth. They’re tied with the Colts, Chargers, and Ravens. Indianapolis and LA have the tiebreaker edge on Buffalo, while Buffalo has the edge on Baltimore.

Relevant Week 16 matchups

Packers 24, Browns 22
Colts 22, Cardinals 16
Ravens (8-6) @ Bengals (8-6)
Chargers (8-6) @ Texans (3-11)
Steelers (7-6-1) @ Chiefs (10-4)
Broncos (7-7) @ Raiders (7-7)
Dolphins (7-7) @ Saints (7-7)