Despite starting the season with a 2-4 record, the New England Patriots now have the inside track to win their division. Not only has the team won five straight to move to 7-4 on the year, it also leapfrogged the Buffalo Bills in the standings in Week 11.
While the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons 25-0 on Thursday Night, the Bills were blown out 41-15 by the Indianapolis Colts. The defeat has now dropped Buffalo to 6-4 on the year, and below its AFC East rivals in the standings.
The division now looks as follows 11 games in:
Obviously, though, nothing is decided in the AFC East just yet. After all, New England and Buffalo will still have to meet twice this season: the Patriots will travel to Western New York in Week 13 before welcoming the reigning division champs to Gillette Stadium in Week 16.
Both games will have massive implications on the AFC East and the conference’s playoff picture as a whole. This week’s results, however, have made winning the division a much more realistic goal for the Patriots — and not just that.
After all, New England now also owns the third seed in the AFC with plenty of potential to move up even further. After all, one of the conference’s top teams was also beaten on Sunday: the Tennessee Titans’ seven-game winning streak came to an end thanks to a 22-13 upset loss to the Houston Texans. With Tennessee now 8-3, the Patriots could move ahead of them in the standings if they beat them in the head-to-head matchup next Sunday.
With the late-window games still to be played, the AFC stacks up as follows at the moment: