Bills won't have John Brown vs. Patriots, nor can they lock up No. 2 seed
Thanks to the Indianapolis Colts blowing a 24-7 third-quarter lead Sunday and losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Buffalo Bills cannot clinch the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs Monday night in New England.
The Bills – who own a head-to-head tiebreaker with Pittsburgh – could have secured the possibility of playing two playoff games at home with a victory over the Patriots because their 12th win would be enough to hold off the Steelers.
Instead, Pittsburgh won for the 12th time and now, if the Bills lose either of their last two games – they host Miami in Week 17 – and the Steelers go to Cleveland Sunday and defeat the Browns, Buffalo will end up as the third seed.
And what that could mean is that if the Bills and Steelers each win their wild-card game, they would meet in the divisional round in Pittsburgh.
While it’s true that homefield advantage isn’t nearly as important as it usually is because stadiums cannot be filled, being home for possibly two games would certainly be nice. Especially since it looks like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is working on a plan to allow up to 6,700 fans into Bills Stadium for the postseason.
In advance of the showdown in New England, the Bills made a couple of roster moves. Wide receiver John Brown’s miserable injury-plagued season continued. After being on course to return to action for the first time since the Arizona game, he was deemed a close contact of running back T.J. Yeldon who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
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Thus, Brown was activated to the 53-man roster off injured reserve and then immediately transferred to the COVID-19 reserve list where he was joined by Yeldon and practice squad players Christian Wade and Josh Thomas.
The Bills were actually quite fortunate that their top two running backs, Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, avoided contact with Yeldon and Wade who are both running backs.
In an interesting move, quarterback Davis Webb was activated from the practice squad. The Bills have dressed only Josh Allen and backup Matt Barkley in every other game, so it’s uncertain why they needed to elevate Webb.
As for the inactive list, there were only four: Quarterbacks Jake Fromm and Davis Webb, tight end Reggie Gilliam and defensive end Trent Murphy. Tight end Tyler Kroft is playing because of Gilliam’s injury.
Sal Maiorana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.