BOSTON (CBS) — The game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in Week 16 is staying put.
The deadline for any changes to the Week 16 schedule was Tuesday, but the day came and went without an announcement from the NFL. So, the clash of the top two AFC East teams remains in the 1 p.m. slot. That was the original scheduling for the game, but considering the stakes, there was some thought that it might slide up to the 4:25 p.m. ET window or even perhaps Sunday Night Football.
But that won’t be the case, as the Washington-Dallas game will remain on Sunday Night Football, and the Steelers-Chiefs game will remain in the national 4:25 p.m. window for CBS.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss confirmed that on Wednesday morning that the Bills-Patriots game won’t be moving.
The Patriots-Bills game on Dec. 26 will be played at 1 p.m. ET, per the NFL.
The game will not be flexed out of that time spot.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 15, 2021
After their memorable Monday night victory in windy Buffalo in Week 13, the Patriots gained some separation from the Bills atop the AFC East standings. That gap grew wider when the Bills lost to Tom Brady and the Bucs in Week 14. With the Patriots at 9-4 and the Bills at 7-6, New England is in prime position to recapture the AFC East crown after relinquishing it to Buffalo last year.
But the race is not yet won, as the Bills still may be able to catch the Pats in the division. If the Bills win in Week 16 and if the teams end up with the same record at the end of the season, the Bills will own the tiebreaker, by virtue of going 4-0 against the Jets and Dolphins. The Patriots dropped their season opener vs. Miami, meaning their best possible record against the rest of the division is 3-1. (The Patriots play in Miami in Week 18.)
The Patriots play the Colts in Indianapolis this week, while the Bills will host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.