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Three Headlines: Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Bills head down to Pittsburgh with hopes of clinching a playoff spot

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills will be heading south to Pennsylvania this weekend to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in prime time on Sunday Night Football. Both teams have playoff aspirations and a win on Sunday would go a long way towards punching their ticket to the dance.

Playoff Implications

In a rare scenario for the Bills and their fans, the team controls their own destiny and needs to do one simple thing this week to clinch a spot in the NFL playoffs: Beat the Steelers. That’s all it will take for Buffalo to lock up a playoff spot with two weeks left on their schedule. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, cannot clinch a playoff spot this weekend, but a win over the Bills would give them a 99% chance to make the playoffs. A loss drops them to just 39%.

Prime-time Bills

While the Steelers might be accustomed to playing in prime time, the Bills are most certainly not. The Steelers have already played five prime-time games this season—FIVE! The Bills haven’t played that many prime-time games over the last four seasons combined. It’s also the Bills’ first Sunday night game since 2007. The Steelers have played in 28 Sunday Night Football games since that last Bills appearance.

Offensive game plan

The Bills’ offense was the main culprit in their loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week and while they’re not facing Lamar Jackson and the AFC’s number 1 seed this week, they will need to be much better. Unfortunately, they’ll be facing an even better defense this week. Pittsburgh is ranked third by Football Outsiders’ team defense DVOA metric, fifth in yards per game allowed, and sixth in points per game allowed. Since the NFL is a copy cat league we should expect to see the Steelers use some of the aggressive game plan that the Ravens were so successful with last week. Hopefully this week Brian Daboll has a better game plan or gets better execution from Josh Allen and his offense.