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Here are the last times the Buffalo Bills were in sole possession of 1st place in the AFC East

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The Patriots rarely look up at the Bills.

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The AFC East is done playing football in week 1 of the 2017 NFL season and the New England Patriots are tied with the New York Jets in the cellar of the division with 0-1 records. The Miami Dolphins are not playing this weekend (stay safe, everyone!) and remain at 0-0.

That leaves the Buffalo Bills, who had the fortune of playing the New York Jets, leading the division at 1-0, all alone at the top.

This is a rare moment. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999 and they haven’t won a playoff game since 1995. Buffalo is not expected to be the best team in the AFC East and they haven’t been for a long time. Yet here we are.

I wanted to see highlight how strange it is for the Bills to be in first place, so I looked back at the division dating back to 2000- the year after Buffalo last made the postseason and the year Bill Belichick joined the Patriots- to see how many times it’s happened.

Over the 290 weeks of football since the start of the 2000 season, the Bills have been in sole possession of first place of the AFC East 10 times. That’s it.

Weeks 1 and 2 of 2003. Weeks 3 through 7 of 2008. Week 3 of 2011. Week 2 of 2014. And now week 1 of 2017.

The Bills have led the division after week 3 in just one year- 2008- and that was when Tom Brady was injured and out for the season. The Bills actually managed to beat the Patriots early in both 2003 and 2011, but wound up finishing those years a combined 7-20 after they fell out of first place.

And so if history is any guide, the Bills will fall back to the pack over the next few weeks as they face three of the past four conference champions in consecutive weeks- @Panthers, vs Broncos, @Falcons- and that’s where they’ll likely remain for the rest of the year.

EDIT: Apparently Football Perspective’s Chase Stuart looked at this, too, and he made a nifty graph of the division leaders. Check it out.