The Buffalo Bills look like they’re going to make the playoffs. Yep, for real! Second only to the New England Patriots in the AFC East, the 8-3 Bills actually have a few games of cushion between themselves, the rest of the pack, and that AFC wild-card spot. This is the best record the Bills have had during Week 12 of a regular season since 1996. Heck, they’ve got the third-best record in the AFC right now! If the season ended today, the Bills would have a five-seed in the playoffs, which would pit them against Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead.
Any concerns for the Bills going forward though? Things that might stand in the way of their postseason dreams? Well, yes, of course. The most difficult stretch of their regular season schedule lies ahead. So far, only one of the Bills’ eight victories has been against a winning team (that’d be the Tennessee Titans). Going forward, they’ve got tough games against the Cowboys, Ravens, Patriots, and Steelers. So… are they up to the challenge?
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Things seem to be on the up and up for the Bills…
Head coach Sean McDermott challenged his team to play “fearless” and it seems they’ve embraced that mindset. The Bills can’t help the fact that they’ve been handed an easy schedule, so all they can do is win against these terrible teams and keep pushing ahead. On Sunday, the Bills did just that when they beat a miserable Denver Broncos team 20-3. Getting yet another W helped the Bills put two wins between themselves and the other teams vying for an AFC wild-card spot in the playoffs. After falling to a very beatable Cleveland Browns team three weeks ago, it seems the Bills have learned their lesson. But how will they fare against teams with a winning record?
Quarterback Josh Allen and his teammates say they’re aware of the tough teams coming up, “We understand what we got to do, what we’re trying to do here, what coach has really put in front of us. We’ve got some more time, some more games that we’ve got to go out there, execute, and we got to play hard.”
Back in 2017, the Bills ended the longest playoff drought in professional sports, sneaking into the postseason with a record of 9-7 (and a lot of luck). This season, however, Josh Allen knows they’ll likely need 10 wins to get to the playoffs.
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The Bills QB, Offense, and Defense
The Bills’ recent performance shows they’re serious about getting those wins. Allen had one of the best games in his career against the two-win Miami Dolphins, and then on Sunday against the Broncos, he threw two touchdowns and rushed for 56 yards. Yes, the guy can throw and make plays on the ground. In that same game against Denver, Bills running back Frank Gore racked up enough rushing yards to become the third-best rusher in NFL history, beating out Barry Sanders. And then you’ve got Bills wide receiver John Brown, who has become one of the best receivers in the AFC this season with 817 yards (overall, only the Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce has more). Has this team sneakily cultivated some absolute stars?
On defense, meanwhile, the Bills are as good as they’ve ever been. They only allowed the Broncos to score one field goal from 45 yards out on Sunday, and they sacked Brandon Allen four times, holding him to fewer than 100 yards. The Bills defense has managed 11 sacks in the past two games alone, the most in a two-game stint for the franchise since 2014.
If Allen and the defense keep it up, there are some sports gurus who think the Bills might not go down quietly in the playoffs. So… can they make it back there this year? According to ESPN, despite their tough upcoming schedule, the Bills still have an 82.3% chance of making it through to the postseason. After all, they might only need one or two wins to get them there.
Next up, they’ll look for three in a row as they take on the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day! Stay tuned to see if they can make it all the way to the playoffs.