FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Buffalo Bills naturally hoped that their regular-season finale against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium had playoff implications. But for the 15th season in a row, the Bills have been eliminated from playoff contention, as a result of losing at Oakland on Sunday. They have the longest current playoff drought in the NFL.
So the Bills don't have much to play for other than attempting to record their first winning season since 2004. One could also say that proving they can win at New England is an important step that they'll have to prove they can make at some point, but that might be a tough sell for players after Sunday's disappointing showing and also because the Patriots have already locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
For more on the Bills, below is our weekly primer (and here is our Week 6 primer).
Head coach: Doug Marrone (2nd year)
Offensive coordinator: Nathaniel Hackett
Defensive coordinator: Jim Schwartz
Special teams: Danny Crossman
General manager: Doug Whaley
THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, OFFENSE
1. WR Robert Woods. A 2013 second-round draft choice out of USC, he has 61 catches for 661 yards and four touchdowns this season. The 6-foot-0, 190-pound Woods is a smooth route-runner who was one of several receivers the Patriots studied closely (and liked) coming out of college in 2013.
2. TE Scott Chandler. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Chandler has had some of his best career games against the Patriots, such as earlier this season, when he totaled six catches for 105 yards Oct. 12. He's in his eighth season out of Iowa and has been with the Bills since 2010.
3. QBs Kyle Orton. The 10-year veteran will start his 12th straight game since getting the call over second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel, which is his highest total since starting 13 with Josh McDaniels' Broncos team in 2010. Orton signed a two-year contract with the Bills through 2015, but the spotlight still figures to shine on other potential options at that position in the offseason.
THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, DEFENSE
1. DE Mario Williams. The 29-year-old hasn't missed a game since signing a big contract with the Bills in 2012, and has been a big part of a defense that has been one of the NFL's stingiest this season by totaling 13.5 sacks. He has 37 sacks in his three seasons in Buffalo.
2. DE Jerry Hughes. Entering the NFL as a first-round draft choice of the Colts in 2010, he didn't pan out in three years in Indianapolis but has found new life in Buffalo. This season, he elevated to full-time starter status for the first time and has 19.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
3. CB Corey Graham. The former University of New Hampshire product had been one of the NFL's better free-agent signings this season, although he's coming off a downer after being in coverage on a 51-yard pass play on third-and-22 with five minutes to play in Sunday's loss. He's in his eighth NFL season after having played for Chicago (2007-2011) and Baltimore (2012-2013).
EXTRA POINTS: Linebacker Brandon Spikes, the former Patriot turned Bills captain, has played 476 of 1,020 defensive snaps this season (46.6 percent). ... Former Patriots assistant coach Pepper Johnson serves as the Bills' defensive line coach. ... Receiver Chris Hogan (career-high 40 catches in 2014) was nicknamed "7-11" when he was with the Dolphins on HBO's "Hard Knocks" program in 2012, in part because he was always open. ... The Bills are without a 2015 first-round draft pick after trading it to move up and acquire receiver Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall. ... Running back C.J. Spiller, a free agent after the season, returned from the short-term injured reserve list this past Sunday. ... ESPN.com NFL Nation reporter Mike Rodak has the Bills blanketed.