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The Buffalo Bills came close to clinching the AFC East crown Saturday night, but in the process, they also improved the New England Patriots’ playoff picture.

The Bills beat the Dolphins 32-29 in the final seconds at a snowy Haymark Stadium, putting Miami in New England’s sights.

The Dolphins, who dropped to 8-6 and are in sixth place in the AFC playoff race, have lost three straight and are now even in the loss column with the currently seventh-ranked Patriots. If the Patriots can pull off a win against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, which is huge considering how New England has played, and somehow get past the Cincinnati Bengals next week, it would set up a monumental New Year’s Day showdown with the Dolphins. the day: at Gillette Stadium.

Miami, who is currently in a sweep against New England after beating them in the season opener, doesn’t have the easiest season to close out, facing the Patriots, Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. but two of those games will be at their friendly home.

Another way the Bills’ win helped the Patriots is if Buffalo can clinch the division and the AFC’s No. 1 seed by Week 17, they can rest in the regular-season finale against New England.

The Dolphins weren’t the only AFC team to lend a helping hand to the Patriots on Saturday. The Ravens fell to the Cleveland Browns 13-3 to fall to 9-5 on the season.

Lamar Jackson is still out with an injury as it now appears that the AFC North belongs to the Bengals. Baltimore’s offense has struggled in its last three games, averaging just 9.7 points per game, and if the Ravens continue to stumble without Jackson in the lineup, it’s possible the Patriots could even catch them. Of course, it doesn’t help the Patriots that they don’t own the tiebreaker in this situation either.


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