1. Win gives Buffalo clarity on its potential AFC playoff seed
Buffalo's 38-9 win over the Patriots locked the Bills into at least the No. 3 seed in the playoffs based off the New York Times playoff simulator. If the Bills beat the Dolphins on Sunday, they will be the No. 2 seed. If the Bills drop their final game of the regular season, they need the Browns to beat the Steelers in order to stay the No. 2 seed. If the Bills lose and the Steelers win, Buffalo will be the No. 3 seed.
When asked about the importance of the No. 2 seed versus resting players in Week 17, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said he needed to give it some thought with general manager Brandon Beane.
"I'm not ready to answer it yet because I have to talk with Brandon and we'll put our collective heads together and do the right thing by our team," McDermott said. "Every team's different and these are all obviously tough decisions and no one has a crystal ball here. I just want to do right by our football team and that's what we'll do."
When it comes to the idea of resting or playing, Bills safety Micah Hyde would rather continue to work on his craft.
"At this time of the year, for myself personally, I want to play, because I have some things I got to work on," Hyde said. "Even throughout this game there a couple plays I wish I had back. And in the NFL the next opponent is going to do those same things against you. So I have some things to work on, I would love to go out there and play. I'm all for resting guys and preparing for playoffs, but we're hot right now and like I said I've got some things to work on."
Buffalo's first round opponent is not yet known. The Bills can face Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland, Indianapolis or Tennessee based on numerous scenarios. To see all the Week 17 Bills playoff seeding scenarios, click here.
2. Defense allows a season-low nine points
Buffalo's defense allowed 21 points in their Week 8 win against the Patriots earlier this season. In their second game facing New England, the Bills allowed only nine points. It's Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's worst home loss and Buffalo's best defensive game based on points allowed.
The Patriots punted the ball on seven of their nine possessions and went three-and-out on four drives. That led to a 19-minute difference in time of possession and just 201 total yards of offense for New England. One reason for this success was because of Buffalo's third down defense in which the Patriots converted just 33.3 percent of their third downs. Bills safety Micah Hyde said it's all coming together for the defense because of their familiarity with each other and the coaches.
"I think No. 1 we're gelling together at the right time," Hyde explained. "There are guys on this defense that have been together for three-plus years, so we've had a lot of ball together. So that's one thing, just gelling together, but No. 2, you've got to give it to the coaches. They know their guys on defense now.
"We know our identity on first, second, third down. And from there, we're able to pin our ears back, the guys up front are getting after the quarterback and us on the back end have got to find a way to lock down the opposing receiver. I think everybody is working together. Rush is working with the coverage, coverage is working with the rush, and from there you're able to make plays."
During their current five-game win streak, Buffalo has allowed more than 20 points just once.
3. Bills total second-most points in franchise history
After scoring 38 points against New England, Buffalo has the second-most total points in franchise history. Their 445 total points through 15 games is the most since 1991 when the Bills totaled 458 points. Buffalo has also increased their points per game average by 10.1 points from last season going from 19.6 to 29.7. Bills head coach Sean McDermott explained the increase in points is a testament to the good communication over the last year between several departments.
"Give Brandon Beane a lot of credit and his staff, our personnel department does a great job of building our roster," McDermott said. "And philosophically, what we've been able to get on the same page with in terms of wanting to score points, building it with the personnel and then schematically doing things that give us a chance to as well. I thought Brian Daboll and the offensive staff did a phenomenal job again tonight. The players executed and I think you're seeing, it may be small, and a cop out, the results of a lot of good communication honestly from the end of last season to where we are now."
The Bills have scored at least 30 points in eight games this season. In 2019, the Bills scored 30 or more points just twice.