Prior to the start of the new league year in March, NFL teams make out their free agent wish list and check it twice. Some teams must make tough decisions on their own free agents, while others are looking to upgrade the talent on their roster.
It took until after the Super Bowl, but all six NFL head coaching vacancies have been filled. Of the six, Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone is the only “new” hire with any previous head coaching experience, meaning Buffalo, Denver, San Francisco and both Los Angeles teams (Chargers, Rams) are entrusting their teams to rookies.
New England may have already wrapped up the AFC East, but there’s still important business in the division to attend to when Buffalo hosts Miami on Christmas Eve. The Dolphins (9-5) are a game clear of the pack for the second wild card spot, while the Bills (7-7) must win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
This is a familiar place for the Buffalo Bills. Early December, still alive in the playoff race, needing to run the table and get some help to end a postseason drought that stretches back to the Music City Miracle. With three straight home games on tap and a season finale at the struggling Jets, it’s not an impossible task.
This Week 13 game between the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders could have playoff implications for both teams before all is said and done, which is significant considering the two teams have the longest active postseason droughts (17 years for Buffalo, 14 for Oakland) in the NFL.
After three weeks without Tom Brady, New England already holds a two-game lead in the AFC East. If they can beat Buffalo on Sunday and get some help elsewhere, the Patriots could stretch that lead to three over the rest of the division — and then they get their Hall of Fame quarterback back.