FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — There were moments in Gillette Stadium on Sunday when you understood why the Buffalo Bills were at various points of the season considered one of the AFC’s favorites. They have a good coaching staff, an elite quarterback and a very good defense.

There’s no denying that the AFC East title now runs through Buffalo after years of dominance by New England. You could hear the disappointment in the Foxborough faithful when they booed their hometown team. You can see it when they headed for the exits with 2:30 left in the game.

Life changed forever when Tom Brady left in 2020. The road to NFL supremacy isn’t easy. It’s a roadmap where you need talent and some luck. The Patriots have a bit of both, but clearly not enough to be considered Super Bowl favorites right now.

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NFL WEEK 16 WINNERS, LOSERS: Josh Allen’s Bills on track to win AFC East, WFT embarrassed by Cowboys.

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots walks off the field after being defeated by the Buffalo Bills 33-21 at Gillette Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Everyone wants another Super Bowl. Everyone wants to see that seventh banner hanging in Gillette Stadium. Everyone dreams of a Patriots-Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl in which Bill Belichick faces off against Brady. How fun would that be?

For a moment this season, it seemed possible. During the Patriots’ seven-game win streak, it certainly felt like it. Then, after the bye week, the Pats came out flat in Indianapolis followed by an embarrassing 33-21 home loss to the Bills on Sunday.

Two losses in a row to AFC playoff contenders should tell you what you need to know about the 2021 Patriots: Their time isn’t now.

That doesn’t mean this season is a disappointment. For that to be the case, the Patriots would have to miss the playoffs. At this point, the Pats are more than likely headed for an AFC wild-card spot. However, over the last couple of weeks,…



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