For 20 years straight the Buffalo Bills have been owned by the New England Patriots. It’s something I understand that Bills fans don’t need a reminder of. It’s been well documented how the Patriots have dominated not only the Bills but the AFC East. No one has come close to dethroning the Patriots from their reign as the kings of the division. That is until now. This week’s Thursday Thought: A game 20 years in the making.
Both the Bills and the Patriots are limping into this game on Sunday. Despite the Bills 5-2 start, their last three games have been unimpressive. After starting 4-0, the Bills cooled off tremendously and dominantly lost two straight to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans. They followed that up with a very frustrating win over the winless Jets. A game where the Jets led 10-0 at one point in the first half.
On the other side, the Patriots have been awful recently too. They’ve lost three games straight and have been anemic offensively. After a strong start to the season, Cam Newton looks like a quarterback in the twilight of his career. Even though Bill Belichick remains the head coach, these are not the same old Patriots.
Yet, here we are going into week 8 with the division truly up for grabs for the first time since 2008 when Tom Brady tore his ACL in week one of the season. It’s an unfamiliar position for Bills fans to be in. Especially for a fan like myself. For all my life, and the lives of Bills fans who were either too young or not alive during the 90s Bills, the Patriots have ruled the division, leaving the Bills, Jets, and Miami Dolphins in their dust year-in and year-out.
Despite how the Bills have played that past three games, winning the division is the most important goal for this season. If you win the division it’s a home playoff game, something Bills fans have dreamed about for decades. With a win, the Bills would distance themselves from the rest of the division by a significant amount.
In a year where the AFC East is a bit weak, 6-2 would give the Bills a decisive lead towards closing out the division. As of right now, the Bills have a 79% chance of winning the division according to FiveThirtyEight. At this point in the season, it’s the Bills division to lose.
After 20 years of being the little brother that could never beat the big brother, the Bills can finally flip the script on Sunday. They have an opportunity to show the rest of the NFL that they are officially over the Patriots. That they are the new kings of the AFC East.
Sean McDermott and Josh Allen have never beaten Belichick and the Patriots in either of their careers, but Sunday would be a great time to finally get their first win. This is it BillsMafia, this is everything you could want. Patriots are down, the Bills are on the rise, and the division is wide open.