The Buffalo Bills have nine games to right the ship and salvage their 2015 season after falling to 3-4. Can the Bills still make a playoff run? Yes. The AFC is having a down year, minus a few division leaders, so the window is still open. That said, Buffalo would have to go on a run starting in Week 9. Here’s a look at Buffalo’s remaining schedule and reasons why the Bills could win or lose each game.
Week 9: Miami Dolphins
Why Buffalo could win: The Bills have already played the Dolphins once this year and absolutely dominated Miami by a score of 41-14. Buffalo will be fresh and relatively healthy entering the game. Ryan Tannehill has had his struggles in his career against the Bills.
Why Buffalo could lose: The Dolphins have looked like a powerhouse since the team fired Joe Philbin. The team that enters Ralph Wilson Stadium won’t be the same team that was dominated in all three phases of the game.
Week 10: @New York Jets
Why Buffalo could win: The Jets look good on paper, but who have they defeated? The Browns, Colts, Dolphins and Redskins aren’t among the NFL’s elite so it’s fair to question just how good the Jets are. In addition, the Bills are well aware of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s skill-set and will challenge the veteran. Also, Rex Ryan will enter New Jersey motivated to defeat the team that fired him last year.
Why Buffalo could lose: While the Jets haven’t beaten any of the league’s elite teams, the Jets look dominant on defense. At this point, Todd Bowles appears to be the real deal at head coach and the Jets are much more disciplined than the Bills. Jets players will want to show their former head coach that they’re better off without him.
Week 11: @New England Patriots
Why Buffalo could win: I’ve got nothing at this point. The Patriots have dominated Buffalo for years and Buffalo’s only win at Gillette came last season when the starters sat in the second half. Every team is due for a letdown game, but perhaps the Bills can be the beneficiary.
Why Buffalo could lose: Tom Brady. It’s that simple. He’s dominated Buffalo in his career.
Week 12: @Kansas City Chiefs
Why Buffalo could win: The Chiefs are having a down year and will be without their best player, Jamaal Charles. If Buffalo can pressure Alex Smith, the Bills have a great chance of defeating the Chiefs.
Why Buffalo could lose: Buffalo found depressing ways to lose to the Chiefs in the last two seasons (See: Jeff Tuel and Bryce Brown), so finding a way to fall to this year’s squad isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Week 13: Houston Texans
Why Buffalo could win: Houston is another team that lost its franchise back for the season. In addition to this, the team has a below average starter at quarterback in Brian Hoyer. Bill O’Brien is on the hot seat in Houston and the team may be packing it in by Week 13.
Why Buffalo could lose: DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt. Hopkins has been outstanding at wide receiver and he’ll get his opportunities against Buffalo. As for Watt, the defensive end was the main reason the Texans defeated the Bills last season.
Week 14: @Philadelphia Eagles
Why Buffalo could win: Sam Bradford isn’t a great fit in Chip Kelly’s offense and the unit is struggling this season. A healthy Bills team can hang with the Eagles.
Why Buffalo could lose: Chip Kelly hasn’t figured things out just yet, but he is an offensive mastermind. If he can get the Eagles offense going, the Bills could have trouble scoring enough points to win.
Week 15: @Washington Redskins
Why Buffalo could win: Washington has been just as inconsistent as the Bills this season. Kirk Cousins can be great but he’s also prone to interceptions and turnovers.
Why Buffalo could lose: Washington has played good defense at times this season. In addition, when Cousins doesn’t turn over the football, the Redskins have had some success on the field.
Week 16: Dallas Cowboys
Why Buffalo could win: Weather could play a huge factor in this game and make both teams alter their game plans. If it’s a game where each team has to rely on the run, the Bills can definitely win.
Why Buffalo could lose: Tony Romo and Dez Bryant will both be back by Week 16. Their success on offense could make it difficult for Buffalo to keep up offensively.
Week 17: New York Jets
Why Buffalo could win: If things go extremely well for the Bills, this game could have Wild Card implications. If so, the crowd could play a big factor in the game. Much like the Dallas game in Week 16, the weather could play a big role in determining the outcome. Even if the Bills are out of the playoff race, many players will be motivated to perform as they’ll be playing for their jobs.
Why Buffalo could lose: The Jets could need this game for playoff purposes and come out motivated in the regular season finale. New York also has good backs who could perform well on a cold and snowy field.