How the Buffalo Bills Can Control Their Own Fate by the End of Week 14
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It may be asinine to be talking about the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs, as their record currently stands at 4-6. That said, it's not as improbable as you'd think. In fact, when Week 14 has been played out, there's a good chance that the Bills will hold one of the two wild-card spots.
For Buffalo, their biggest challenge comes Sunday against the Colts. Both teams have the potential to score plenty of points and each team's defense has been suspect. If the Bills beat the Colts, their next two games would absolutely be seen as winnable.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off of their best offensive game against the Texans, but the Bills have more talent on both sides of the ball. There is no excuse for the Bills to lose to a team like the Jaguars if they want to be seen as a legitimate threat for the playoffs.
Last, the Rams have had their moments this season and under Jeff Fisher there is no doubt in my mind that they'll be a very good team in the near future. That said, the team is inconsistent on both sides of the ball and the Bills have a great opportunity to beat the Rams.
Will the Buffalo Bills win their next three games?
Am I guaranteeing victories? Absolutely not. That being said, there's no reason that the Bills cannot win against these teams.
Currently, here are the teams currently ahead of the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card race: New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts.
The New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, and San Diego Chargers
The Jets, Titans and Chargers all hold the same record as the Bills and currently the Jets and Titans hold a win over Buffalo. That said, in the next three weeks each team would only have to lose one game for the Bills to pass them. Below are each team's schedules.
New York Jets: New England, Arizona, @Jacksonville
Tennessee Titans: @Jacksonville, Houston, @Indianapolis
San Diego Chargers: Baltimore, Cincinnati, @Pittsburgh
Looking at the games above, each team could each realistically lose a game.
For the Jets, the Patriots will provide their biggest challenge.
The Titans will have their hands full against the Texans and Colts. It's very likely that they lose at least one game.
As for the Chargers? They have three games that they could realistically lose based upon their current play.
The Cincinnati Bengals currently sit at 5-5. Their next opponents are Oakland, @San Diego and Dallas. Dallas will be the Bengals' biggest challenge. If the Bengals win the first games and lose to the Cowboys, their conference record would be 5-5. If the Bills win their next three, two against AFC teams, their record in the conference would also be 5-5.
According to the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, the next step would be best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
The Bills and Bengals would have four common opponents at this point: Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bengals split their season series with the Browns so I truly do not know how that'd work, but the Bengals are 2-1 against the other two teams.
If Buffalo wins their next three, they'd be 4-0 against the common teams listed above and move ahead of the Bengals.
The Steelers currently have a two-game cushion over Buffalo. Over the next three weeks they play @Cleveland, @Baltimore and San Diego. If the Steelers were at full health there'd be no reason to believe they wouldn't go 3-0 against the teams listed above. That said, it appears that Charlie Batch will be at quarterback for the Steelers when they play Cleveland and possibly Baltimore. The 38-year-old Batch can manage a game, but it wouldn't be far-fetched if they lose to both the Browns and Ravens. The Browns have played most teams closely this season and at home against Batch, I'm calling the upset. The Ravens will absolutely be favored at home, even if Roethlisberger is cleared to play.
Hypothetically, if the Steelers lose two of the three games against AFC teams, their conference record will be 4-6 to Buffalo's 5-5.
In the next three weeks, the Colts play against the aforementioned Bills, @Detroit and Tennessee. Realistically, the Colts could lose any of these games. That's the beauty of the NFL this season. There aren't really any powerhouse teams in the league, and especially the AFC this season. If the Colts were to lose two of these games, the Bills would leapfrog them due to their head-to-head victory.
While this scenario deals with games leading up to Week 14, it needs to be mentioned that the Colts will play against the Texans in two of the final three games of the season.
The scenario I painted above truly is not far-fetched. Buffalo very easily could receive all of the help that it needs to be in control of their own destiny after Week 14. That said, Buffalo needs to help themselves first by winning their next three games. Doing so will not only give them a 7-6 record, but will also give them a considerable amount of momentum as they headed into the home stretch of their season. At this point, the playoffs seem out of reach for Buffalo, but what can I say? I "Bill-ieve."
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