There will always be a good reason to cheer against the Buffalo Bills, if you’re a New England Patriots fan. But Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals might be worth taking things up a notch.
There are legitimate playoff implications that could impact the way the Bills decide to approach the Week 18 season finale against the Patriots.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to envision New England rolling into Buffalo and knocking off the best team in the AFC in their home stadium. However, it’s easier seeing them do so if the Bills were in a position to rest their starters a week before the big postseason dance.
Here’s how the Bengals can help with that.
A Bengals win over the Bills on Monday and a Kansas City Chiefs victory on Saturday over the Las Vegas Raiders would put Buffalo in a position where they’ll already know they aren’t getting the No. 1 seed before facing the Patriots. The team could then opt to rest their starters for a week in hopes of being as healthy as possible for the playoffs.
Cincinnati has been the hottest team in football in recent weeks, and they’ll be at home against the Bills. Meanwhile, the Chiefs will be facing the hapless Raiders with Jarrett Stidham as the starting quarterback. There obviously are no guarantees in football, but this looks like the most plausible path for the Patriots.
Another concern would be the Bills making the decision to play through the season in an effort to avoid playoff rust. Facing a Bills team hell-bent on victory would be a daunting task for the Patriots. But that may not be the case, depending on what happens before the much-anticipated AFC East rematch.
And to think, the one team that New England literally fumbled the game away against in Week 16 now has the best chance of helping them.