On Monday I sat down with two buddies of mine and, as usual, the discussion quickly turned to sports. Before we knew it we were thumbing through the NFL schedule, figuring out what it would take for the Buffalo Bills to make the playoffs.
Crazy? Maybe. The team is only 4-4, after all. But that’s how crazy the league is nowadays. Even a .500 team that looked dead in the water after its second game suddenly has a legitimate shot at the post season.
Part of this is due to the NFL being so mediocre as a whole. Outside of New England and Indianapolis, no team is a sure-fire lock to win week in and week out. While it’s a good thing from a competitive standpoint, it can make watching the games tedious and, sometimes downright boring. But that’s just the nature of the league. A few very rich teams and then the majority is in the lower middle class.
So sit back and enjoy the ride, Buffalo because there’s no telling how long it’s going to last. Looking at the teams ahead of the Bills on the schedule, New England is a lock to win the AFC East, the Colts are going to win the South, the Chargers should grab a hold of the West and the Titans should clinch one of the Wild Card berths with their 6-2 record.
Cleveland is the favorite to be the other Wild Card but the Bills have a chance to change that. They play Cleveland in Week 15. There are a lot of things that have to happen before then, but hopefully the wheels will have fallen off for the Browns by then.
The Bills need to start this week. If they lose against Miami, then all bets are off and you might as well throw Edwards back onto the field. The Bills stand at 4-4 now and absolutely need a division win on the road against the Dolphins. They can make it into the playoffs at 10-6 with the right tie breakers but it’s nearly impossible to do that if they finish 9-7.
Wins on the road against Jacksonville, Washington and Cleveland are very possible and the conference wins would allow them to jump ahead of thre Jaguars and the Browns. Kansas City will be out of the picture soon with games against Indy, San Diego, Tennessee and Detroit you can optimistically predict as losses.
Two sure-wins against Miami plus those three road victories brings the team up to 9-4. Add in a loss to New England (a win would be the greatest thing ever, but I’m just playing the odds right now, playing them very generously). Then you’re just looking at one win against either the Giants at home in Week 16 or in Philly during the last week of the regular season. With the wins against Jacksonville and Cleveland in hand, one more win should lock up the Wild Card.
It’s crazy and a little early, sure. But we’re already half way through the season so we’re going to have to start talking about this sometime, right? Might as well be now, when our dreams haven’t been spoiled yet (you’d think one day the Buffalo pessimism would wear off, wouldn’t you?).