Buffalo Bills Outlook Two Months In
We've passed the 8 week mark of the NFL. It's safe to say the Bills have exceeded if not blown away any expectations that they were given. See how the second half of their season looks to shape up as we move into November, December, and hopefully late January.
The Bills started off the season strong, with three consecutive victories propelling them to 3-0. This included a blowout win against Kansas City, and two close come from behind wins against Oakland and New England. That debut win against Kansas City keeps looking better and better, as the Chiefs now lead the AFC West division after beating the Chargers on Monday night. Both the Oakland and New England victories continue to look impressive as both teams have fared well as the season has progressed.
At 3-0, the Bills travelled to Cincinnati for what seemed to be an easy win. At the end of the day, they lost in heartbreaking fashion as a last second field goal gave them their first loss. Fans were irate after the loss, beginning to think the team's start was only a fluke. The Bengals are now 5-2, and are tied for second place in a very tough AFC North division; maybe it wasn't such a bad loss after all. Buffalo then returned home to play the Philadelphia Eagles, sometimes referred to by their self-given nickname, "the Dream Team." The Bills won impressively, sending them to 4-1. The following week, the team travelled to New York to play the Giants. Again, they lost in heartbreaking fashion by only three points. Last week, the Bills bounced back and shutout a struggling Washington Redskins team.
So here we are, at 5-2 and atop the AFC East division eight weeks into the season. In most years, it takes anywhere from 9 to 11 wins to simply make the playoffs, and even more to win a division. That means that the Bills need to win at least 4 out of their last 9 games to have a shot at the playoffs. I'm guessing that they will need to win 12 games to win their division, meaning they must win 7 out of their last 9 games to accomplish that.
Let's take a look at the Bills remaining schedule and make some predictions.
11/6 vs. Jets: The first meeting with the Jets this year, but only 1 of 2 games against them in the month of November. The Jets are tough, but the Bills are a much better team at home, and will be riding the momentum from their impressive victory last week against Washington.
11/13 @Cowboys: Dallas has been very inconsistent so far this season. At times, they look like an offensive juggernaut, but other times they have difficulties completing a pass. Although the Bills will be on the road, I can see them snagging a victory here.
11/20 @Dolphins: It's always tough playing on the road, especially against a division opponent. Although Miami has yet to win a game this year, they have looked competent at times. This game scares me a bit, but in the end I think the Bills talent will overcome any road woes they encounter.
11/27 @Jets: This will be the second time the Bills will have played the Jets in only a month's span. This time on the road, I give the slight advantage to the Jets, who will do anything in their power to prevent a season series sweep.
12/4 vs Titans: The Bills return home after a tough loss to the Jets, and will be anxious to get back to their winning ways against an average Tennessee team. The "Music City Miracle" is revenged.
12/11 @San Diego: The Bills will come into this game riding high, but face a very tough Chargers team on the road. Although they play well, I see San Diego winning it in close fashion.
12/18 vs Dolphins: The Bills return home to play Miami in the middle of December. They'll win convincingly as the snow falls, and the Dolphins fall apart.
12/24 vs. Denver: The Bills stay home for a rare Saturday/Christmas Eve game against the Broncos. So far, Denver has struggled mightily with Tim Tebow at quarterback. Even if he improves, I see the Bills giving their fans an early present with a win, clinching a playoff birth.
1/1 @New England: The Bills travel to New England for what could be a battle for the AFC East division title. There are two ways this game will shape up in my mind: either the Patriots will have already clinched and will choose to play their backups, or they'll need a victory against the Bills to do so. In the first scenario, the Buffalo will win. In the second, New England will have the edge.
At 11-5, the Bills will enter the playoffs as a wildcard team, with the Patriots snagging the division crown. That's the way I see it, how do you? At this point, the season is obviously far from over as anything can happen. However, the Bills have put themselves in a good spot going forward, and should end the playoff drought, which dates back to 1999.