A team that loses to the Jacksonville Jaguars on a neutral site shouldn't be talked about as a potential playoff team. Yet, after eight weeks the Bills are firmly in the playoff picture.
So you're saying there's a chance?
Yes, Buffalo Bills fans there is still a chance. The AFC is in a down year besides the three undefeated division leaders (Patriots, Bengals and Broncos), and yesterday things continued to work in Buffalo's favor. During the team's bye week, Buffalo received plenty of help. The three biggest outcomes Buffalo needed came to fruition as the Patriots destroyed the Dolphins, the Raiders rolled over the Jets and the Bengals held on late to defeat the Steelers. Although less important, the Cardinals beating the Browns and the Ravens beating the Chargers also helped Buffalo's cause.
The only games that didn't necessarily help the Bills were the Texans defeating the Titans and the Chiefs cruising over the Lions. That said, it was a pretty good weekend for the Bills.
In addition to outcomes that worked in Buffalo's favor, the bye week gave Buffalo a chance to heal. Tyrod Taylor told Bills fans earlier this week that he was 100 percent playing on Sunday against the Dolphins and right tackle Seantrel Henderson said on Twitter that he was excited about playing next week after missing time with a concussion. In addition to this duo, starting right guard, John Miller, will also start for Buffalo.
The status of players such as Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin and Karlos Williams are still undetermined but they too could return to action in the near future. The same can be said for defensive tackle Kyle Williams. That's a lot of talent that could help the Bills over the final nine game stretch. Whereas the Bills appear to be getting healthier, four of their next five opponents could be without some pretty big names,
The Dolphins will be without Cameron Wake and Ja'Wuan James on Sunday. These are two significant losses for Miami. The following week, Buffalo takes on the Jets on Thursday Night Football and there's a legitimate chance that Geno Smith starts at quarterback. Former Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick tore ligaments in his non-throwing thumb but it's possible that the quarterback is out of action for a few weeks. Buffalo's odds of winning greatly increase with Smith under center for the Jets. After a game against the Patriots, the Bills take on the Chiefs and Texans. Both teams lost their star running backs. It's absolutely unfortunate that these teams lost such quality players to injury but Bills fans know what it's like to be without key starters.
First and foremost, the Bills need to handle their own business over the next five weeks. If the team can somehow go 4-1 over this stretch, they should be firmly in the playoff picture over the last quarter of the season. The Bills haven't given fans any reason to believe they can pull of this feat, but the same can be said about most AFC teams at this point in the season.
The door is still open for a Bills playoff push but they'll need to show much improvement on both sides of the ball and cut down on their penalties.