The Patriots took care of their business on Thursday, but as Week 11 continued on Sunday things got even better. Upsets remain a huge part of the NFL's storyline in 2021, and the most important one for New England took place in Buffalo where the Bills were stomped by Indianapolis.
That result allowed the Patriots (7-4) to slide into first place in the AFC East, a half game ahead of the suddenly struggling Bills (6-4). Buffalo will take on New Orleans on Thanksgiving night, so the Bills will have a chance to tie with a victory on the road.
While the Buffalo news was the most pertinent to the Patriots, it wasn't the only result that benefited the team. Tennessee saw its six-game winning streak snapped with a stunning home loss to the lowly Houston Texans. The Titans entered the game at 8-2 atop the AFC but now will be just a game ahead of the Patriots as they come to town for Sunday's showdown at Gillette Stadium. A Patriots victory would move them ahead of Tennessee due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Patriots almost received more help when Chicago was just seconds from victory against Baltimore before the Ravens gamely came back behind backup quarterback Tyler Huntley. A loss would have given the Ravens four defeats as well and moved New England ahead of them.
With still a lot of football left to be played, here is how the AFC shapes up this morning:
- Tennessee (8-3)
- Baltimore (7-3)
- Patriots (7-4)
- Kansas City (7-4)
- Cincinnati (6-4)
- L.A. Chargers (6-4)
- Buffalo (6-4)
Based on the current seedings, the Patriots would host the Chargers in a wild card game the weekend of January 15-17. Of course, things can change dramatically based off a single result. For example, if Buffalo wins Thursday night, the Bills would regain the top spot in the AFC East based on division record. And the Patriots would then get the opportunity to match the win on Sunday against Tennessee. So much still to be decided, but the Patriots are in great position.