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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Season after season, life in the AFC East winds up as nothing more than a repetitive, Groundhog Day like cycle. The New England Patriots – winners of 13 of the last 15 division titles – take the division crown, while everyone else just stands by watching.

Midway through the 2016 campaign, it’s pretty evident that status quo isn’t changing. Even Bills head coach Rex Ryan couldn’t sugar coat it following a 41-25 loss to those pesky Patriots.

“[It doesn’t] break our season, I mean it’s the halfway point,” Ryan asserted. “But I think in the division, I think it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to win your division when you just got beat by—how many games now are they up by? Three? Something like that, so I don’t see that changing.”

That’s probably a fair assessment. New England is 7-1 on the season and 3-1 in the division, a full three games up on the 4-4 Bills in second place.

“I thought within winning the division you’re pretty much shot if you really think we can really run the table and still win it,” Ryan added. “I don’t think so”

That means the Bills will be spending the rest of the season duking it out for a wild card spot, a journey looking pretty murky in it’s own right. A 1-4 record against AFC opponents thus far, have done Buffalo no favors.

“Well I would think that’s (the wild card) what you’re playing for,” Ryan admitted. “That team’s three games up on us and I think at the halfway point they’ve lost one game. And No. 12 is back, so yeah, I don’t see that happening (winning the division). I hope I’m wrong.”

It’s certainly unlikely, but now the Bills can only control what’s in front of them. While their road to the wild card round is a fragile one with next to no room for error, it’s possible.

In Week 9 they’ll head to one of the toughest places to play, Seattle – on Monday night nonetheless – looking to resurface above .500 before a much needed bye week. Then that final stretch of seven games, all against AFC foes will determine whether or not the Bills end a 16-year playoff drought, or push it closer to two decades without an appearance.

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