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

The Bills face the Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Thursday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

2004 AFC Divisional Playoff Game - Indianapolis Colts vs New England Patriots - January 16, 2005

Post-game update: The Bills defeated the Patriots 24-10 to push their record to 9-3. They also take over first place in the AFC East, at least for now. The Dolphins hold the tiebreaker and they take on the 49ers this weekend. They could take the lead back from the Bills with a win. At the end of this week, the Dolphins or the Bills will have the No. 2 seed.

The Patriots fall to 6-6 and out of 8th place and into 9th place for the time being. A Chargers loss to the Raiders would push the Patriots back to 8th, but still out of the playoffs. They’ve now moved further into the AFC East basement and are three games out of first.


The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots face off on Thursday Night Football to open Week 13 of the 2022 NFL regular season. Kickoff is set 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime Video at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Bills are a five-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook in a matchup with critical implications for the 2023 NFL Playoffs.

Bills playoff picture

The Bills are 8-3 and tied atop the AFC East with the Dolphins. Miami holds the tiebreaker with a Week 3 head-to-head win in Miami, but they still have to play each other in Week 15 in Buffalo. With the Dolphins traveling to face the 49ers, the Bills are in prime position to take a one-game lead in the division if they can win at Gillette Stadium.

Buffalo is currently fifth overall in the AFC. If they win on Thursday and Miami loses, they move to second overall, and first overall if Kansas City also loses. If the Bills win on Thursday and Miami wins on Sunday, Buffalo remains in fifth place. If the Bills lose on Thursday, they could drop to sixth or seventh depending on the outcomes of Jets-Vikings and Chiefs-Bengals.

Patriots playoff picture

The Patriots are 6-5 and in last place in the AFC East. They need a win to avoid falling three games back of first place in the division. New England is in eighth place overall, having dropped out of a wild card berth after their loss to the Vikings last week.

If the Patriots beat the Bills, they could climb into sixth or seventh place if the Jets and/or Bengals lose. If the Patriots win and the Jets and Bengals both win, New England will remain in eight place. If the Patriots lose, they could drop to ninth depending on the outcome of the Chargers game.