Adding an extra week to the regular season wasn’t the special tweak the NFL made for the 2021 campaign.
The league soon will hold its first-ever Wild Card game on a Monday night. The opening round of the playoffs will have two games on Saturday, Jan. 15, a tripleheader on Sunday, Jan. 16 and one Monday night matchup on Jan. 17.
If the current playoff seedings were to stay intact after Week 18, Peter King believes the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills would meet for the final game of the Wild Card slate.
“As of this moment, my money would be on a New England-Buffalo show for the first-ever Monday night wild-card game,” King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports. “The AFC, in fact, is gold for first-round matchups, if form holds. Imagine Raiders or Chargers at Kansas City in the 7-2 game, Colts-(Joe) Burrow in the 6-3 game (Burrow’s going to be must-see as long as the Bengals are in it), and Patriots-Bills in the other one. Imagine three Buffalo-New England games in a 43-day span, with the rubber match on a frigid Jan. 17 night in the northeast.”
As of now, the Bills would host the Patriots for a matchup between the AFC’s No. 4 and 5 seeds, respectively. But Buffalo still needs to take care of business against the New York Jets this weekend in order to ensure it has at least one postseason game at Highmark Stadium. New England also isn’t a lock to stick in its current spot as the Dolphins historically have given the Patriots trouble in the winter months.
The last time these division foes squared off in the postseason? You’d have to go all the way back to 1963, just three seasons into the Patriots franchise’s existence.