The New England Patriots enter a bye week with a 7-1 record after handling the Buffalo Bills in Week 8, 41-25, and as far as Rex Ryan is concerned, the Patriots just clinched the AFC East.
“I think it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to win your division … how many games now are they up by? Three, something like that, so I don’t see that changing,” Ryan said in his postgame press conference. “I just told you the truth. I thought winning the division … you’re pretty much shot if you really think we can run the table and still win it. I don’t think so.
“That team’s three games up on us and at the halfway point they’ve lost one game. And No. 12 (Tom Brady) is back, so yeah, I don’t see that happening (winning the division). I hope I’m wrong.”
Ryan is certainly right. Not only would the Bills need to go on a tremendous run in the back half of the season to stay in contention for the division title, the Patriots would have to start losing, and that seems even less likely.
In Week 4, the Bills shut out the Patriots, 16-0, much to the surprise of Ben Affleck. But since Brady’s return, New England has cruised to four easy, double-digit victories, including a 41-25 beatdown of the Bills on Sunday. It featured four touchdown passes from Brady and probably could’ve been worse if the Patriots didn’t take their foot off the gas.
Buffalo’s realistic chances at ending a 17-year postseason drought are through the wild card, and Ryan doesn’t think that’s out of reach at all.
"We have a lot of football to be played,” Ryan said. “I believe in this team maybe more than others."
At 4-4, the Bills currently trail two AFC West teams as the division features three teams with winning records. The Oakland Raiders are the divisional leaders at 6-2, followed by the 6-2 Denver Broncos and 5-2 Kansas City Chiefs.