Buffalo Bills Enter Week 14 As #1 Seed; Flexed to Saturday Night
The past few days could not have gone any better for the Buffalo Bills. The Bills needed to win and then get some help from a few teams to get back in the AFC driver’s seat… And everything went right.
The Buffalo Bills kicked off Week 13 with a dominating 24-10 victory over the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football, winning in Gillette Stadium for the third year in a row. Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers joined in on the fun, defeating the Miami Dolphins 33-17 on Sunday. Then, the Cincinnati Bengals did what they do best and pulled out a close game while simultaneously helping the Bills. They took down the Kansas City Chiefs by a final score of 27-24. And, to put the cherry on top, the Minnesota Vikings hung on to defeat the New York Jets, 27-22.
So, essentially, we witnessed the Bills climb back to the top of AFC standings Sunday, and all we had to do was watch seven hours of commercial free football… Sign me up for more Sundays like that!
What This Means
So what are we looking at now? What does all this mean? Well, for starters, the Buffalo Bills are now 9-3 heading into the last quarter of the season. While their last few victories haven’t been the prettiest, the fact of the matter is they found ways to win. Winning THREE games in TWELVE days is almost unprecedented in the NFL, especially when considering the amount of injuries the Bills have had to deal with this season.
Basically, the Bills control their own destiny for the playoffs. The AFC will run through Buffalo if the Bills can win out since they own the tiebreaker over Kansas City. That being said, they have five pivotal games left on their schedule, three of which are divisional games (all in Orchard Park). And their next two opponents have each beaten the Bills once already this season.
What Lies Ahead… SATURDAY Night Football?
First up will be Mike White and the Jets (7-5) this Sunday at 1 pm. Then, the following week, the Bills take on Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins (8-4) on Saturday Night Football.
This will be the first time all season that the Buffalo Bills play consecutive games in Orchard Park, assuming we don’t get another seven feet of snow. Meanwhile, it will be Miami’s third consecutive road game after playing in San Francisco this past Sunday and in Los Angeles this upcoming Sunday night. Considering the elements the Bills endured in Miami back in Week 3, I don’t think The Mafia will mind sitting through some extra snow showers and colder temperatures.
What They’re Saying
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said at his Monday afternoon press conference that it was good timing to have the mini-bye.
“That mini-bye came at the right time. We pushed through three games in a short amount of time there and it was good to get away a little bit, get a couple days of rest, and get back at it this morning.”McDermott on the mini-bye
McDermott said that he spent his off time being a dad and hanging out with his family, including his dog.
“I took a doughnut home to eat Friday night and my dog ate it.”McDermott on what he did this weekend
As for the game Thursday night, McDermott was happy with how his team performed.
“I just thought it was a rather complete game in all three phases. I thought our players played physical at the line of scrimmage and were able to somewhat control that… and also play good, complimentary football where all three phases fed into the victory.”McDermott on Thursday’s win
QB Josh Allen spoke along the same lines after the game.
”I thought Dorsey did a good job of staying patient, our guys did a good job of holding onto the football and making some good cuts, making some good runs, and moving the chains when we could… I thought Motor and James ran the ball extremely hard. We were skipping some third downs, which is always a plus. And then, when we did have third downs, we were putting our noses down… going and getting it… playing some physical football.”Allen on the balance to the offense
On two of their scoring drives, the Bills used almost 17 minutes of clock. The first one was a 14-play, 56-yard scoring drive (7:46) to put the Bills up 17-7 with 5:27 left in the first half. The second one was a 15-play, 94-yard drive that chewed up almost nine minutes of clock (8:55) to give Buffalo a 24-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
WR Stefon Diggs, who now has 525 yards and 5 TDs on 36 receptions against the Patriots in six games since 2020, said that having a balanced offense that can run the ball effectively helps the passing game.
“We have the backs that can make explosive plays and they just do a great job. I just feel like it helps the pass game, so I anticipate it being something heavy that we work on.”Diggs on the running game
Meanwhile, Ken Dorsey, when asked if he’s getting more comfortable as a play-caller and opening up the playbook more as the season goes on, said that he feels like he can call any play based on who he has on his offense.
“I have a lot of trust in my guys. I have a lot of trust in them going out and having a good feel for what we’re trying to get done and them executing. And when you have that, you feel like you can call anything for them on the sheet.”Dorsey on opening up the playbook
Switching over to the defense, a lot of the talk was centered around LB Tremaine Edmunds, DE Greg Rousseau, and DE A.J. Epenesa, all who made their returns after missing the previous game(s). Edmunds led the team with six tackles, Epenesa recorded the one sack, and Rousseau chipped in with four tackles and putting constant pressure on QB Mac Jones all night. The Bills defense held the Patriots to just 10 points and 242 total yards.
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said that Edmunds’ return to the lineup was definitely felt; saying that the 24-year old LB has improved his physicality, tackling, pass defense, leadership, and his overall play this season.
“We’re really pleased with the way Tremaine has progressed, we’re really pleased with the way he’s tackling and getting from one gap to the next, and then finishing plays.”Frazier on Edmunds
Bills Injury Report
Aside from DE Von Miller being out for at least three more weeks with his knee injury, this is the healthiest the Bills have been in weeks. McDermott said Monday that LT Dion Dawkins (ankle), OL David Quessenberry (ankle), DT Jordan Phillips (shoulder), and FB/TE Reggie Gilliam (ankle) are all “improving every day.”
Dawkins spent his off time at KeyBank Center, going to the WWE event Friday night, the Buffalo Bandits home opener Saturday night, and then the Buffalo Sabres game Sunday night. It seems like he is doing pretty well.
Featured Image: Ari Meirov/Twitter