The AFC East, jokingly called the “AFC Least,” gets a bad rap, especially from those demeaning the Patriots’ two decades of NFL dominance. The Buffalo Bills are shattering that image, having surged to a 9-3 record, and are in the lead for the top Wild Card berth, plus they are only a game behind first-place New England. The Cowboys on the other hand are fading, leading their NFC East division with a 6-6 record, and losses to three of the four teams in that AFC East.
The Bills flew into JerryWorld for a traditional Thanksgiving matchup fresh off a pasting of the Denver Broncos, while the Cowboys returned home after suffering a demoralizing defeat in wet and sloppy New England. The Bills entered the contest proven but untested; an 8-3 mark was great, but none of those eight wins came against a team with a winning record at the time. Facing a division leader, even as flawed as the Cowboys were, was a reality test for Buffalo. Dak Prescott marched the Cowboys for a touchdown on the opening drive.
The score remained 7-0 until Josh Allen hit former Cowboy wideout Cole Beasley for a 25-yard score midway through the second period. Things got interesting—and maybe a little wacky–as the Bills slowly showed the Cowboys who was playing bigger in Texas. Limeman Star Lotulelei picked off a Prescott pass in Dallas territory. Three plays later, Buffalo kicker Stephen Hauschka missed a 50-yard field goal attempt. Three plays later, defensive lineman Ed Oliver strip-sacked Prescott and Buffalo was again on the offense.
Eschewing another long field goal attempt, the Bills went for it on fourth and one from the Dallas 30. Allen fumbled the snap, recovered the fumble, then stretched and dove for the first down. Then on a double-reverse, running back Devin Singletary tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to John Brown. Hauschka missed the extra point. Lotulelei then blocked a Dallas field goal attempt to close the half. The Bills scored a touchdown and two field goals on their first three drives of the second half to put the game away for an eventual 26-15 final.
Josh Allen Gets it Done Through the Air and on the Ground, and Bills Odds for Week 14
Allen’s quarterback rating for the game was a new high for his career, a sparkling 120.7 thanks to a 19 for 24 performance for 231 yards and the one touchdown pass. He added another score on a 15-yard scamper; in all he ran the ball ten times for 43 yards. He was sacked four times and recovered his fumbled fourth down snap. Singletary added 63 yards to the ground attack.
The Buffalo defense hit Prescott nine times and sacked him four times, in addition to the pick and the fumble recovery. Dallas put a lot of yards on the stat sheet; Ezekiel Elliot gained 137 yards from scrimmage, and Dak Prescott threw for 355. The Cowboys outpaced the Bills by almost a hundred yards, but could not keep up on the scoreboard.
The line on Buffalo making the playoffs is now -4500, missing the playoffs at +1200. Sitting a game behind New England with a week 16 visit to Foxboro, they climb to a +1200 to win the AFC East. Odds to win the AFC are +2500, and +5000 to win the Super Bowl. Next on the schedule is a visit from the conference’s number one seed, the Baltimore Ravens. The Bills are a +5.5 point home underdog at -110. Over under for the game against MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson is 43. Should the Bills upset the Ravens and the Patriots fall to the AFC West-leading Chiefs, Buffalo would find itself tied with New England and Baltimore at 10-3 atop the AFC standings.