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Yes folks, I am that crazy. Every year about this time, our Bills are somewhere near the .500 mark and visions of playoff dates dance in our heads. Well, in mine at least.
So I broke down the five contenders’ schedules today, and believe it or not, things are looking very promising for our Buffalo Bills!
First, let’s look at who is still in the race:
- New England: 12-0
- Indianapolis: 10-2
- Pittsburgh: 9-3
- Jacksonville: 8-4
- San Diego: 7-5
- Cleveland: 7-5
- Tennessee: 7-5
- Buffalo: 6-6
- Denver: 5-7
- Houston: 5-7
Wow! When you look at that list, what shot do the Bills have?? Assuming the Division winners are set (New England is, then Indy, Pittsburgh, and San Diego) that leaves the two wild card spots in contention for SIX teams! Ouch!
But let’s take a look at those six teams, and their schedules.
Denver & Houston
These two teams are at 5-7 and are going to need a LOT of help. Basically, I’m just being kind to their fans putting them on here. They would have to win out, and get some serious help from teams above them in order to make the playoffs. Let’s count them OUT.
That leaves four teams who are in the thick of the race. We’ll look at them one by one.
Let’s start from the top down.
Jacksonville beat the Bills so, they own the tie-breaker over us there. And, with a two-game lead, they are definitely in command for one of those two spots. Their remaining games include: Carolina, @ Pittsburgh, Oakland, and @ Houston. Three of those games could be tough, but I see the Jags winning three of those four. That would put them in the playoffs as the top wild card seed, finishing 11-5.
With Cleveland losing to Arizona yesterday, the Bills are in a much better position against this team. Even if the Browns win all of their games except the game against Buffalo, both teams could end up 10-6, with the Bills owning the tie-breaker having defeated them. That makes the game on Dec. 16th pretty crucial for both teams’ playoff hunt. Cleveland plays @ NY Jets, Buffalo, @ Cincinnati, and finishes at home against San Francisco. I see them winning at least two, maybe three of those, finishing 9-7 or 10-6. OUT of the playoffs.
Tennessee has been quietly efficient this year. Like everyone else, they have fought through injuries, suspensions, and other roster changes to be two games above .500. Vince Young can win a game at any time, and their defense plays tough, too. They have some pretty difficult games on their remaining schedule, however. They start this week at home against San Diego, then @ Kansas City, home vs. the NY Jets, then finish @ Indianapolis. It seems very likely that they will lose at least two of those, and I think they lose three. That makes then 8-8, and OUT of the playoffs.
That leaves the Bills. Our injury-riddled Bills who have been starting rookies and first-year players who have no NFL experience, and are at the bottom of the league statistically on both offense and defense… and yet, they are 6-6. And surprisingly, they Bills are in a pretty good spot. Their remaining schedule includes: home vs. Miami, @ Cleveland, NY Giants, then they finish @ Philadelphia.
Here’s the key. If the Bills win out, they will make the playoffs. Because winning out puts us at 10-6, AND includes beating Cleveland (who could then finish no better than 10-6) the Bills really “control their own destiny” as the saying goes. (Of course, Tennessee could disrupt that with a surprisingly good finish.)
So with that look at the schedules and the standings, and assuming the Bills can play smart, efficient, productive football for four straight games, the Bills look to be in pretty good shape for ending their playoff-less drought!
Every game counts, and the biggest one will be two weeks from now in Cleveland.
10 replies on “Playoffs? Oh, the Possibilities…”
the bills need help, ie tenn has to loose. if we end up with the same record as tenn, then it will come down to tie breakers. since we do not play tenn head to head it will come down to division records first. so we need to beat miami to have a 4-2 div record, and tenn would need to lose the game to indy, then they would be 3-3 and the bills get the tie breaker. after that it gets complicated…
tenn plays indy the last week of the season, which could be a meaningless game for indy and they may be resting players, if tenn is in a must win to get in, expect them to win against an indy resting for the playoffs.
you’re right, we actually have a pretty ok chance. Sadly it’s exactly as I predicted in our pre-season show. I said we’d make a mid-late season push as a fringe playoff contender but fall short to some stupid team like Philly. Oh well at least the season isn’t officially over yet.
….and Dave and I apparently posted at the exact same time…
i will clarify it is conference record that determines the tie breaker in wild card ties.tenn has all conference games remaining. it still comes down to we have to win out and tenn has to lose one of the remaining four they would be 7-5 in the conference… the bills would have a 7-5 record as well… ha then it moves to best win percentage in common games min. 4 don’t know how this would work since they play jack twice and split… then it is strength of victory as we most likely would lose unless we start blowing people out…
we are NOT in the drivers seat…
one can also complain that edwards may have played one week to late, could we have beaten jax if he played instead of jp?
Your “realistic” approach to our team will never cease to amaze me (but then, I suppose the feeling is mutual, in the opposite way…) 🙂
DUDE, the Titans are not that good. They will lose at LEAST two of those four games, and the Bills can win all four. Will they? Don’t know. Not as confident about these four as the four I predicted in the middle of the season.
ASSUMING the Titans can’t win 3 and definitely not 4, the Bills are in great, GREAT shape.
I believe the Titans won’t will all 4, it’ll really depend on how they do against SD. As far as us winning all 4, I’m not sure we can
This is a wildly optimistic scenario. If the Browns won last week we would’t even be talking playoffs. One by one, let’s see what the chances of the three contenders are (Jax is in, IMHO):
Tennessee plays SD, KC, the Jets, and Indy. KC and NY are not good teams, the Titans will win those games. SD is good but beatable and Indy will probably be locked into the No. 2 seed already by the last game. I say Tenn goes 3-1, beats the Bills on tie breaker, Bills out.
However if they do lose two, we have to worry about Cleveland.
The Browns still have NYJ, us (in Ohio), Cincy, and SF. The Jets and 49ers are not good. Cincy is a division and in state rival, so even though their record is bad they will probably give the Browns a game, but come up short. So if the Bills run the table, we probably get in over Cleveland on head to head, but there is no margin for error.
A three way tie between the Bills, Titans, and Browns leaves the Bills out. A tie between the Titans and Bills leaves the Bills out. The only way the Bills make the playoffs is to run the table and hope Tennessee loses SD and gets tripped up by one of their sub par opponents.
All this is based on the assumption that a mediocre Bills team doesn’t get beat by a mediocre Eagles, good Browns, or good Giants team.
I’m still excited for the next few weeks, but my optimism is guarded, at best.
In the meantime, the New York Jets are my new second favorite team.
Well, cuse… the only wild part about it is the Bills winning four straight. If we beat the Browns, they can’t catch us. And Tennessee just has to lose one game (since they’re all AFC games).
And wouldn’t it be fun(ny) if the Jets beat BOTH Cleveland and Tennessee 🙂
And um… Go Bills! 🙂
k, I stand corrected. Now that the Titans lost I rechecked the standings and realized that the Bills control their own destiny. Win out and we’re in. Go Bills!