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Opinion: Buffalo Bills fans buy in as fear of “the letdown” is gone

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The potential disappointment of a bad loss is gone

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bills Mafia is lit.

From a distance it may seem odd for this win, over a now 3-8 Denver Broncos team, to be the one that moved the needle for so many. Even still, for a significant part of the fan base, it’s now safe to freely buy into what the 2019 season could be for the Buffalo Bills.

The reason for this sudden burst of optimism is simple; the possibility of the heartbreaking loss to a team the Bills “should” beat is now gone.

The Opponent Roller Coaster

The whole scenario makes more sense to those who’ve been riding the roller coaster of being a Bills fan this season (and maybe the last two decades). If the Bills lose in the coming weeks to the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, or even Pittsburgh Steelers then it will at least feel reasonable. Those are all teams that seem to be decent or better and most of them are going to take place in hostile stadiums. A loss in Dallas or Foxborough or Pittsburgh doesn’t have the same kind of embarrassing sting that a loss to a bad Denver Broncos or Miami Dolphins team would.

The Bills have already gotten the most out of the historically easy portion of their schedule. And it is for that reason that Bills fans are no longer constantly in fear of the other shoe dropping.

Decent and Beyond

Instead, it’s now okay to believe the substantial evidence that this team is itself decent (or better). Decent teams show obvious superiority to inferior opponents. Decent teams display dangerous characteristics that can flare up at any moment. Decent teams show consistency enough to flaunt their strengths for notable stretches of time. Decent teams have decent or better records. And the Bills check each of those boxes quite comfortably after eleven games.

Now the 2019 Bills and their fans turn the corner. Over two-thirds of the way through the season, the Bills doubters need no longer prepare to hit Twitter or the comments section on Mondays to tamper others’ enthusiasm. And their counterparts no longer need to build a case why a win against a suspect opponent still matters. Those days are gone; from here on out, the wins and losses speak for themselves.

From the day the schedule dropped in the offseason, this upcoming stretch of games has been the so-called “Murderers’ Row” for the 2019 Bills. Any win against the upcoming onslaught of the next four opponents is going to be gladly accepted. Style points aren’t going to matter for the Bills much as we’re all trying to avoid the topics of politics and religion with our in-laws on Thursday. The only thing that will matter is getting out of Dallas with a win. And that same sentiment carries into the next games against the Ravens, Steelers, and Patriots.

Positioned Well

The Bills have put themselves in terrific position for the postseason—in such a way that some fans (this podcaster included) haven’t even experienced as adults. The excitement of being able to acknowledge that feat while not simultaneously worrying that everything you want to believe about this team is a lie is intoxicating, and Bills Mafia deserves to be partaking.

The Bills currently sit as 7-point road underdogs to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. While a loss wouldn’t be devastating, it’s also not a game that feels impossible to win. Regardless of this outcome, the Bills then get an extra long week to prepare for a visit from the Baltimore Ravens.

Can you imagine what New Era would be like if the get to 9-3 Bills, coming off a nationally televised win, hosting Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at home next week? Now that would be positioned well and would be a hell of a sight. Let’s hope it’s one that Bills Mafia gets to see.

You can follow me on Twitter @NickBat and look for episodes of “The Nick & Nolan Show” podcast on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network.