New England Patriots beat Bills to secure 10th straight AFC East crown
Ho hum. The New England Patriots are AFC East champions for a 10th consecutive year.
Bill Belichick’s club locked up the absurd feat by downing the Buffalo Bills, 24-12, to improve to 10-5, their 16th straight double-digit win season.
A week in which receiving yardage leader Josh Gordon was suspended indefinitely, likely signaling the end of his NFL career, culminates with another division title. Tom Brady and Julian Edelman hooked up a game-high six times for 70 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Brady only passed for 126 yards and was intercepted twice — the same number as Bills rookie Josh Allen — a continued illustration of the uncharacteristic inconsistencies New England has endured on offense this season — even with Gordon in the mix. But the New England defense forced three turnovers and held Buffalo’s anemic offense to 2-of-12 on third down to ensure Belichick’s Patriots wouldn’t lose an unprecedented third consecutive game.
However, the Patriots’ potential path to a ninth Super Bowl berth under Belichick and Brady likely won’t go through Foxboro. The 11-3 Kansas City Chiefs can lock up the No.1 overall seed Sunday night in Seattle, and even after losing at home to the Baltimore Ravens Saturday night, the Chargers hold a one-game advantage over the Patriots, who finish the regular season vs. the New York Jets.
But thanks to the Eagles’ win over the Houston Texans, the Patriots still can lock up a first-round bye with a win over the Jets on Sunday. The way Brady, Rob Gronkowski and others have looked of late, a week of rest seems to be of the utmost importance to this version of the Patriots.