There are no two ways about it: the final two weeks of the NFL season are much more important to some teams than others.
Whether it be playoff seedings or a postseason berth in general, a whole lot is at stake in Weeks 16 and 17. But for teams not bound for January football, some might believe there isn’t much to play for in the final two contests of the campaign.
Bill Belichick, on the other hand, wholeheartedly disagrees with this line of thinking.
The New England Patriots, who are on the doorstep of securing an AFC East title, will host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Bills long have been out of the 2018 playoff picture, but the Patriots coach knows Buffalo isn’t just going to roll over in Week 16.
“We’ve all been in those situations, but if you’re a competitive person and your team’s a competitive team, it doesn’t matter what the standings are,” Belichick told Scott Zolak, as seen on Patriots.com. “You want to go out and compete and win in that game. I think everybody in the National Football League probably falls into that category. If you’re not highly competitive, you wouldn’t be in this league. You want to go out and play well every week or coach well every week that you get an opportunity to be in it.
“Look, we’ve played Buffalo enough to know what they’re gonna be. I know what we’re gonna get from them. This is a mentally and physically tough football team that has grinded us very hard since coach (Sean) McDermott’s been up there. We’ve struggled with them every time we’ve played them. I’m sure we’re gonna have a heck of a battle on our hands on Sunday.”
The fact of the matter is, the Bills definitely have something to play for. If they aren’t going to reach the playoffs themselves, making a division rival sweat it out down the stretch isn’t the worst consolation prize. Not to mention, Buffalo only has three wins in its last 30 meetings with New England, so there’s certainly pride to be played for.
All told, Belichick is correct in expecting to see the Bills’ best in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports