Sportress of Blogitude

Bill Belichick: Patriots-Bills showdown ‘absolutely’ has playoff feel

There is much more riding on the Week 16 showdown between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills than most December games between these two AFC East rivals over the past, say, 20 years or so.

Given what’s potentially at stake at Gillette Stadium come Saturday afternoon, Bill Belichick believes the game will feature playoff-like intensity.

“That’s what we’re here for,” Belichick told reporters during his Thursday meeting with the media. “You work all year to put yourself in a position to play in a game like this where you can win the division. You couldn’t say that in Week 4 or Week 6 or Week 8 or whenever it was. Well, we’re saying that now, so now is the time for us to play and coach our best football. That’s what we’re all here for.”

The Bills (10-4) have already punched their ticket for the playoffs, marking the second time in three seasons the team has done so following a historic postseason drought.

The Patriots (11-3) have clinched a playoff berth as well, which hardly comes as a surprise. That said, the team’s struggles on offense this season — not to mention Tom Brady’s purportedly balky elbow — are a source of concern.

Adding an additional level of intrigue to a rivalry game that rarely has enjoyed any since the Patriots began their dynastic run all those years ago, Buffalo can still snatch away the AFC East title from New England.

The Bills would need to win at New England then at home against the New York Jets in Week 17. If Patriots were to somehow lose in their season finale at home to the Miami Dolphins, the division title would belong to the Bills.

Now, odds are the Patriots will not lose at Gillette Stadium to the inferior Dolphins with so much possibly on the line should the team team lose to the Bills, but stranger things have happened. This is precisely why Belichick knows what to expect this weekend.