Every NFL team has losses they’ll regret, but there is always one that sticks out as the most costly as we head down the stretch.
There are only three weeks left in the NFL’s regular season, and that means there are very few opportunities left for teams to pick up the necessary wins to either make the playoffs, win a division title, or secure that all-important first round bye. Every team has at least two losses, and pretty much everyone has a loss that will come back to haunt them down the stretch.
Whether it was blowing a game that will cost you home-field advantage or dropping a brutal loss to a drag, everyone in the league has a loss they regret. We’ve identified those losses here, and we will go division-by-division to break down that one crippling defeat for all the contenders.
To set the stakes here, in order to make this slideshow teams had to be at least 6-7, which wipes out the bottom feeders like Miami, Cincinnati, and the New York Giants. 6-7 also brings everyone within either shouting distance of a playoff spot or, in the case of the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, a share of the NFC East title.
Let’s start out in the AFC East, where we will focus on what happened to the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo Bills: Week 10, at Cleveland Browns
The Buffalo Bills are going to the postseason, and they still have an outside shot to win the AFC East crown. The New England Patriots went to Buffalo early in the season and picked up the win, which has them a game up on the Bills with three weeks to go, but that isn’t the loss that will haunt Buffalo.
That game came in Week 10, when the Bills went on the road and laid an egg against a Cleveland Browns’ squad that entered the contest at 2-6. The goat in this game was kicker Steven Hauschka, who missed a pair of field goals that made all the difference in a 19-16 defeat.
New England Patriots: Week 9, at Baltimore Ravens
For the first half of the season, the New England Patriots looked like they were the Death Star, destroying their opposition en route to another unbeaten regular season. Everything came crashing down in Week 9, when the Patriots went to Baltimore and were beaten down by the Ravens.
Lamar Jackson snapped the hex Bill Belichick has over young quarterbacks, playing an efficient football game to guide the Ravens’ offense to an explosive 37-20 victory. Baltimore ran for 210 yards on the ground in this one and the Ravens’ defense provided a blueprint in how to slow down the New England offense.
This game will haunt New England because it will likely cost them home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. That means a second straight road AFC title game if New England gets that far, and winning on the road in January is never easy.