With the Colts losing this weekend the Patriots now have some breathing room with regards to the Bye/Homefield advantage. Dwight Freeney is done for the season and was a huge part of the Indianapolis defense. The Colts are definitely reeling right now. Now the primary threat to the Patriots bye/homefield advantage/16-0 is the Steelers. If the Steelers run the table and the Patriots lose to the Steelers and another game as well the Steelers will get homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Magic number for the bye is 5 (Colts) and the Magic number for homefield advantage throughout is 6 (Steelers).
The Patriots have an excellent chance to put the nail in the coffin for the AFC East with a win over the Bills on Sunday night. The magic number for the Patriots in the AFC East is currently 4, but if the Patriots win this game it will actually bring the magic number down to 1. Subtract one for the Patriots win, subtract one more for the Bills loss and subtract one more for clinching the head to head tie breaks with the Bills. A Patriots win Sunday night means that the Patriots would have to lose every game and the Bills would have to win all their remaining games for the Bills to overtake the Patriots in the AFC East, not a very likely scenario given the lofty goals for the Patriots this season.
There are some advantages and disadvantages going into this game. Buffalo has been better at home this year. The Bills are actually only 3-2 at home, but look at the two losses. They gave the Cowboys quite a scare on Monday night prior to the "Duel in Dallas" where some crucial mistakes late in the game cost the Bills what should have been a win as the last second field goal sailed through the uprights to give the Cowboys the win. Allowing Tony Romo to come back after throwing 5 interceptions was embarrassing. This was easily Dallas' luckiest win. The other loss at home was just as close with a last second 42-yard kick by Jason Elam as time expired giving the Broncos the 15-14 win. Both of these games could easily have been wins for the Bills if Elam and Folk hadn't been so clutch from long distances.
The big loss for the Bills will be that RB Marshawn Lynch will most likely not be playing in this game and is currently listed as doubtful. Lynch has been looked over with all the fireworks Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has been setting off, but Lynch has been very impressive all year and provided a spark to an otherwise lackluster offense. This may force the Bills to throw, something that has not been their strong suit this year.