Six games remain in the Bills regular season. Buffalo stands at 4-6, not quite the record they wanted at this point in the season, but as my father would say, “They are still alive.” The Bills win against the Dolphins this past week has Buffalo hanging on by a thread in their playoff aspirations, a small ember still burning. So, what do the Bills have to do to advance to the post-season? Read on to find out.
NO BRAINERS: MUST WIN DIVISIONAL GAMES
If the 7-3 Patriots win four more games, the rest of the AFC East will be battling for two wildcard spots. Buffalo ends their season with two crucial games: the Jets and the Dolphins, both with four wins. As of now, the Jets have the tie breaker on us, and Buffalo has the edge over the Dolphins. A loss to either of those teams will probably punt our playoff chances into the land of football misfits.
THE AFC CONFERENCE STANDINGS
Unless an asteroid hits planet Earth, the Texans should take the AFC South, their 9-1 record topping the AFC. In spite of their defense giving up 37 points against the Jaguars last week, I have faith that Wade Phillips will get them back on track. Phillips did a great job as Buffalo’s former coach. At the very least, the Texans will secure a wildcard spot.
The 6-4 Colts, the Texan’s divisional rival, are also fighting to snag a playoff spot. Quarterback Andre Luck is having a fantastic year, which leads to Buffalo’s next important game.
IMPACT OF THE BILLS VERSUS COLTS
This Sunday, the Bills face Indianapolis, another must win for Buffalo. With the 7-3 Denver Broncos leading the AFC West and the Baltimore Ravens (8-2) dominating the AFC North, the Colts are in a fierce battle with the 6-4 Pittsburg Steelers and 5-5 Cincinatti Bengals for a wildcard spot.
The Colts, having home field advantage, are going to play the Bills tough. However, the Bills are in desperation mode. A win against the Colts is the only way out, putting Buffalo at 5-6, only one game behind the Colts. We would have the head-to-head tie breaker if needed.
THANKSGIVING BATTLE: JETS VERSUS PATRIOTS
Who should win the Jets and Patriots Thanksgiving game? Tom Brady haters would say “Smash the Pats!” but I disagree. New England is already three games ahead of Buffalo. Though not impossible, the Bills catching them is like a tortoise outrunning a cheetah. Plus, the Pats beat us twice this season, our tie breaker with them already flushed down the toilet. New England also holds a 3-0 division record.
The Jets are not out of it yet and are always tough until the end, holding the same playoff thread as us, their divisional record at 2-2. A victory against the Pats would put them at 5-6 and give them a 3-2 divisional record versus Buffalo’s 1-3 standings. We have to beat the Dolphins and the Jets to finish with a 3-3 divisional record. Though it pains me to root for Brady, a Patriots win would knock the Jets to 4-7, which would help Buffalo’s wildcard chances.
JACKSONVILLE, ST. LOUIS, SEATTLE
Our first three games in December are not important individually, but collectively we need to beat the Seahawks, Jaguars, and the Rams to end up 10-6 for the year. We have to keep up with other AFC teams pushing for that coveted wildcard shot.
PITTSBURG: BUFFALO’S SAVING GRACE?
The 6-4 Steelers are in a tight spot right now, their top two quarterbacks out with injuries. Charlie Batch will probably start for them this week. A couple bad games for Batch may put an early fork in the Steelers’ post-season chances, which helps out Buffalo. However, if Neil O’Donnell can advance Pittsburg to a Super Bowl, anything is possible.
Time to relax and wipe my brow here. . . I am gearing up for the Bills and Colts match-up this Sunday, hoping for a little stroke of “luck” and not the kind you get with a first-round draft pick.