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For the Jets and Bills the road to the playoffs runs through each other

27 November 2011: Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) is tackled by New York Jets nose tackle Sione Pouha (91) and New York Jets defensive end Mike DeVito (70) during the AFC East matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. The Jets defeated the Bills 28-24. Photo by: Rich Kane/Icon SMI

Forget about the New England Patriots, the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills need to focus on each other this year.

The Bills and Gang Green will open and close their seasons against one another. Both games could have huge playoff implications for both teams. I believe that the Bills and the Jets will be playoff contenders this year but I don't see either squad un-throning the Pats and winning the AFC East. Thanks to a relatively easy schedule, the signing of deep threat wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and two upcoming first round draft picks I think the Patriots will be even better in 2012 than they were in 2011. If I'm correct that means the only shot the Bills or Jets have will be for the wild card and if they're both good teams this year their match-ups against one another will be of vital importance.

Of late the New York Jets have consistently beaten the New York state based Buffalo Bills (who ironically are the only NFL team that actually plays in New York). The Jets have won the last five meetings between the two teams and have swept the season series the last two years, but this Bills team has had a productive off season and will be a force to be reckoned with next year. They signed two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams and made other moves to improve their pass rush which was virtually non existent last year. On offense they were able to keep their starting line-up intact and with strong running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both healthy this year the Bills should have a formidable run game that will help power their offense.

Meanwhile the Jets did little to address the locker room problems between quarterback Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes and have not made significant roster changes other than getting Tim Tebow. However, I think the Jets will be vastly improved this year thanks to the change in offensive culture brought about by Tony Sparano taking over the reins as the team's offense coordinator from Brian Schottenheimer.

I think both teams will be improved in 2012 and they'll likely split their season series however I believe the Jets will hold the slightly better record after week 17 and will go to playoffs.

What do you think? Will the Bills Jets games be as important as both squads games against the Patriots?