Back in August, in the middle of training camp, what were most Buffalo Bills fans hopes for the 2019 season? Josh Allen to improve? The Defense to remain elite? Although these were on the minds of Bills fans, the most common answer was: to make the playoffs. Something the Bills have only done once since the turn of the century.
However, as the season has gone on and the Bills have won more than many believed, the idea of what makes for a successful season has changed. The goal has now become to win the division and bring down the Patriots. As great as it would be to dethrone the Patriots, the Bills loss to the Ravens has made this possibility unlikely. Now fans are upset and sad about the dream of taking down the Patriots and reclaiming the AFC East title for the first time since 1995.
That being said, our baseline goal is still within reach. With a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday the Bills will officially clinch a postseason berth. This week’s Thursday Thought: The Bills’ goals are right in front of them.
Think about it. The stage is set. Sunday Night Football against the historic Pittsburgh Steelers with the whole nation’s eyes on the Buffalo Bills once again. It’s all right there for the taking.
This game won’t be easy. The Steelers have one of the best defenses in the NFL and are in the top five for many defensive categories including yards per game, yards per play, passing defense and interceptions. Also, quarterback Delvin “Duck” Hodges has played well as a game manager-type quarterback and has limited turnovers, keeping their defense out of tough situations.
It also doesn’t hurt to have Super Bowl-winning head coach, Mike Tomlin, on the sidelines as well. Many believe that this is Tomlin’s finest coaching job yet. The Steelers are significantly lacking talent on the offensive side of the football, yet, despite that, the Steelers are firmly in the mix to make the postseason.
The Bills are the better team on paper. The biggest advantage the Bills have in this game is the quarterback. Allen is better than Hodges, no question about it. It seems more likely that Allen will be able to make a few big plays against an elite Steelers defense, than Hodges will against an elite Bills defense. Which is what this game will come down to.
The Bills can get themselves into the postseason with a win. That’s a big deal for a team Las Vegas said was only winning six games this season. Unfortunately, the division would be a long shot to win with the loss to the Ravens. That shouldn’t make anyone forget what’s still in reach for the Bills.
Win and they’re in. Once you’re in the playoffs anything can happen, and any one team can get hot. The Bills season goal for many is right in their hands. All that’s left to do is to go out and execute against the Steelers. January football anyone?
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder