With two weeks left in the 2021-22 NFL season, the Buffalo Bills have gained possession of first place in the AFC East after defeating the New England Patriots 33-21 at Gillette Stadium. The Bills win comes just three weeks after the Patriots pulled off a 14-10 win in less than ideal weather conditions in Buffalo.

Josh Allen completed 30-of-47 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns, and didn’t throw an interception or take a sack. Allen was also the Bills leading rusher, with 64 yards on 12 carries. Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie was Allen’s go-to target, catching 11 of 12 passes thrown his way for 125 yards and a touchdown. Stefon Diggs hauled in seven catches for 85 yards and a score, jabbing at New England fans near the endzone. Cole Beasley was sidelined in COVID-19 protocols.

The Bills defense did an excellent job limiting New England’s passing game, holding Mac Jones to 14-of-32 passing for 145 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Bills led 17-7 at halftime before a scoring frenzy broke out in the second half, as the two teams traded five straight scoring drives including four straight touchdown drives.

Up 26-21, Allen converted a huge fourth-and-1 play with his feet and elusiveness.

Allen tossed a shovel pass to McKenzie to put the Bills up 33-21 with 2:30 left to play, essentially sealing the game.

Jones tossed a Hail Mary interception to end the Patriots final drive as they attempted to come back.

The Bills upset of the Patriots on their own turf evens Buffalo and New England’s records at 9-6, but Buffalo would win a tiebreaker for the division right now with a superior 4-1 record within the AFC compared to New England’s 3-2 mark.

This means Allen and the Bills control their own playoff destiny, and can officially secure back-to-back AFC titles with two wins over the next two weeks. With two home games against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets, Buffalo has a great chance to finish the season at 11-6.

Jones and the Patriots take on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins over their final two games. After a two-game losing streak, a home matchup with the Jaguars should easily get New England back on track, while a Week 18 matchup with AFC East foe Miami could be a gritty game with playoff implications on the line.

If the Bills go 1-1 over their final two games, the Patriots could re-take the AFC East crown with a 2-0 record. If the Bills and Patriots both go 0-2 over the next weeks, with Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins going 3-0 to close out their season with a Monday night win over the New Orleans Saints and wins over the Tennessee Titans and Patriots, Miami could still technically win the division.

The AFC wildcard race is a bloated mess, with some Week 16 results yet to unfold at time of writing. I won’t get into all the possible scenarios, and trust me, there’s a lot, but if the Bills can win at least one of their final two games, they should be able to fall back on a wildcard spot if they can’t win the AFC East.




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Header Photo: Acquired via CNN

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