Rex Ryan is being realistic about what's ahead for his 4-3 Buffalo Bills through the final nine games of the season.
Making the playoffs remains on the table, but Ryan understands the Bills face an uphill climb in trying to overtake the 6-1 New England Patriots for the AFC East crown.
And that climb would become much more difficult if the Bills lose the game.
"We know who we're trying to chase," Ryan said Wednesday. "If we're able to win this game, then obviously, you're one game behind them. You're still behind them, but you're one game behind them. But it would be significant for us, because it's in our division.
"If you're trying to chase it, then you've got to beat them. I mean, that's as simple as that. You can think, 'Well, you've still got a chance at the division.' You really don't. I mean, this team is pretty darned talented.
"It doesn't mean you won't make the playoffs, but the likelihood of catching them is probably not very high."
The Bills beat the Patriots on Oct. 2 in Foxborough, Mass., while Tom Brady was sitting out the last of his four-game suspension and rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett was starting in his place. The Patriots haven't been swept since 2000.