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Week 16 preview: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

The Bills can become the first divisional opponent to sweep New England since 2000.
Credit: AP
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, above, celebrates with teammate offensive tackle Dion Dawkins after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Bills (11-3) head to New England (6-8) with a chance to be the first AFC East foe to sweep New England in a season since the Jets and Dolphins did it in 2000. 

The Bills last swept the Patriots in 1999. A win would be Buffalo’s sixth 12-win season and first since 1993, the last of a four-year run of Super Bowl appearances, all losses.

Buffalo won the first meeting with the Patriots this season, 24-21 on November 1 in Orchard Park. 

“AFC East games are tough to win, especially winning a second time after they’ve been able to see us. They’ve got us on film and have arguably the greatest coach of all time coaching that team," Bills quarterback Josh Allen said, referencing Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.

The Bills are 5-1 since that previous meeting with New England - the only loss coming on the last-second "Hail Murray" touchdown pass by the Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray in Week 10 - and have averaged more than 35 points per game in those six games.

The Bills also clinched the AFC East for the first time in 25 years, after a Week 15 win in Denver.

Now, they're battling for playoff seeding. The Bills can no longer clinch the AFC's second seed Monday night, after the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

The Bills will either have to win their next two games against New England and Miami, or win one, and hope for a Steelers Week 17 loss to Cleveland.

The Bills hope to add another weapon for Allen, with receiver John Brown eyeing a return from the injured reserve. Brown missed four straight games with an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, Allen is coming off of his fourth AFC Offensive Player of the Week honor, following the AFC East-clinching win in Denver. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl earlier in the week.

Credit: AP
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The Patriots are expected to start veteran Cam Newton, coming off of a playoff-eliminating, 22-12, loss to Miami the previous week.

"You can't take Cam lightly," Bills defensive end Mario Addison - who played in Carolina with Newton - warned, "I've seen him have a bad game and come back and just thrash people."

The Bills and Patriots kickoff in Foxborough, Mass. on Monday Night Football at 8:15.

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