There has been one thing that NFL fans could count on happening for most of the last two decades—the New England Patriots were going to win the AFC East. The last time they did not win, it was back in 2008, and they have failed to win it just two times since 2001.
However, it is worth noting that the task hasn’t been too hard most of the time. Buffalo has had three winning seasons since 2001 (9-7 records) and just one playoff berth. Miami has been a little better with three playoff berths, six seasons with a winning record, and one division title (2008).
As for the Jets, they have not been very competitive during the in recent years one winning season since 2011—they went 10-6 in 2015).
When the competition is weak, it is easy to win the division.
But this season, the competition is—well, it is still weak; at least two of the teams are (Jets and Dolphins). The Buffalo Bills, though, are playing good football. They are 9-3 this season and are coming off a win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, 26-15.
While the Patriots are still one of the best teams in football and have an incredible defense, the offense is lacking this season. It has had some doubting whether the Patriots have what it takes to make another Super Bowl run.
With how the Patriots looked Sunday night and how the Bills looked on Thanksgiving, winning the division may be asking too much of them. DraftKings currently has the Patriots as heavy favorites (-2500).
But the Bills do not have bad odds at +1000.
So—how should you bet?
Is New England still the safe, logical bet that fans have come to know and love? Or is it worth taking a flier on Buffalo just in case they pull of the upset?
With four weeks left, the Patriots are still in control of their own fate in the division. If they can win out, they will claim the division title once again. But with games against the Chiefs and Bills still on deck, that is going to be easier said than done.
The other two games, Miami and Cincinnati, are going to be easy. So, at the least, the Patriots will finish 12-4 but could finish 14-2.
Buffalo has a tough slate down the stretch. They have the Ravens this week followed by the Steelers, then the Patriots, and they finish the season against the Jets. They could potentially go 1-3 in that stretch, will have an outside shot at 4-0 or 3-1, but will likely go 2-2.
To have a shot, the Bills have to go undefeated down the stretch. If they both finish with 13-3 records (which is entirely possible), the Patriots will win the tiebreaker (record against common opponents).
So, since the Bills will more than likely not beat the Ravens and the Patriots are not going to go 1-3 down the stretch, taking the Patriots is the safe and logical bet. However, the +1000 odds on the Bills may be worth skipping your lattes this week.