There’s been a lot of gloom-and-doom around the Bills this week, with the hamstring injury to star running back LeSean McCoy coming on the eve of what will likely be the defining stretch of the season (at Miami, vs. New England, at Seattle).
There is one very big reason for optimism, however: the road ahead isn’t nearly as tough as it seems.
Despite the two heavyweights in the Bills’ very-near future, the combined record of their remaining opponents is 26-32. The .448 winning percentage they’re set to face is tied with the Titans for the lowest total in the AFC, and is also tied with the Rams for the second-lowest total in the NFL.
The #Bills have the easiest remaining Strength of Schedule in the AFC. (h/t @MrJeffHunter) pic.twitter.com/2VZokcLMcr— Buffalo Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) October 21, 2016
The Falcons, by virtue of having only one remaining opponent of their schedule who is more than a game over .500, have the easiest ride to the postseason in front of them. On the opposite side of the coin, the Eagles have four games remaining against teams who currently have one or fewer losses, including two against the 5-1 Cowboys. They’re also entering a stretch where their next three opponents are all coming off a bye. That’s as rough of a go as I can imagine for young Carson Wentz and company.
The Bills do have a few tough games remaining on the slate. aside from the aforementioned Patriots and Seahawks games, a trip to face the currently 4-2 Raiders awaits in Week 13, and after that the Bills play host to the 4-2 Steelers in a game that will likely see the return of Ben Roethlisberger to the starting lineup.
On the easier side, the Bills have two games remaining against the 2-4 Dolphins, including one this Sunday. A trip to face the 2-4 Bengals comes after the bye (although that record could be misleading, as only the Jets have faced a tougher schedule than Cincy has so far this year), and matchups against the 2-3 Jaguars and 0-6 Browns precede the season finale against the 1-5 Jets.
Yes, we all know who the win was against. That was a long time ago, and if anything it should serve as extra motivation (not that the Bills need it against Gang Green).
I’ll keep an eye on this as the season progresses, but at this point the future couldn’t be brighter for the Bills in their quest to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000.