The NFL saved its best for last this weekend.
The weekend ends with a game with major ramifications in the AFC East and even the entire AFC as Buffalo hosts New England in Buffalo’s first home Monday night game in December.
Each team has four losses and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
New England, which has won six in a row with rookie quarterback Mac Jones, is trying to show it can be a playoff team without Tom Brady.
Buffalo started out 4-0 but the Bills are 3-4 in their last seven games and have had trouble running the ball, which has made them too one dimensional. And quarterback Josh Allen has made too many mistakes.
The Bills have spent the last two decades trying to end New England’s domination of the division. This is their chance to take a step towards ending it. The Bills play Tampa Bay next week and have a rematch the day after Christmas at New England, so they face several challenges down the stretch.
The winner of the Pats-Bills game also will have a shot at a first-round bye. Baltimore currently leads in the race for the AFC bye with an 8-3 record. Every other AFC team has four or more losses.
In another primetime game featuring contenders, Denver is at Kansas City Sunday night. The Chiefs are 7-4 with the other three division teams including Denver at 6-5.
In the key Sunday game featuring contenders, the Chargers are at Cincinnati. The Bengals are 7-4 and Chargers are 6-5.
In the Thursday night game, the Dallas victory over New Orleans boosted the Cowboys’ record to 8-4 and if Washington loses to the Raiders, the Cowboys will have a three-game lead in the division. The Washington team at 5-6 currently has the seventh NFC playoff spot. New Orleans fell to 5-7 after the loss. If Washington loses, the Falcons and/or Vikings can get to 6-6 and move ahead of Washington in the NFC playoff race. But Atlanta has the tougher task against Tampa Bay while Minnesota figures to beat Detroit.
In the other games involving contenders, Indianapolis is favored over Houston, Baltimore is expected to beat Pittsburgh, Arizona figures to beat Chicago and the Rams are likely to beat Jacksonville.
It remains to be seen if any upsets will scramble the playoff picture, Green Bay at 9-3 and Tennessee at 8-4 both seem playoff-bound and have byes.