The Buffalo Bills are set to face quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Highmark Stadium for Sunday Night Football. The Bills are well rested and healthier than they’ve been in weeks. The bye week came at the right time, it seems, and the team is ready to tackle the last 11 weeks of the 2022 NFL regular season. Buffalo didn’t drop in the standings despite having the week off, and they remain in the driver’s seat to secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs and boost their playoff fates through the all-important playoff bye and home-field advantage.
So why has Bills Mafia’s confidence in the team’s direction dipped, if ever so slightly, from 99% to 98%?
Numbers don’t lie, but I’d be lying if I said I understand why 1% of fans suddenly found reason to lose confidence in this team when they haven’t played since Week 6 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Maybe it’s salty fans of other teams. It could be a situation like those who intend to leave a five-star reviews online, yet somehow hit one star while leaving glowing commentary below it. It just doesn’t make sense. Why am I even concerned about a measly 1%? Truthfully, I’m not. If that percentage of fans isn’t happy, it may be impossible to change their attitudes at this point.
It’s also possible people really dislike bye weeks and took their frustration out on our poll.
Earlier this week, we asked Bills Mafia to vote on who they believe is Buffalo’s toughest remaining opponent. To my surprise, this was a runaway victory for the Cincinnati Bengals, who received 62% of the fan vote to be crowned the Bills’ most challenging remaining opponent.
I thought the race would be closer, with the other AFC East teams getting more votes. The New York Jets are better than we may be willing to give credit. The New England Patriots are still a mystery—but somehow winning with a quarterback no one knew anything about before Mac Jones was injured. Minnesota Vikings first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell has done a fantastic job in Minnesota so far. I believe he’s being overlooked as a coach of the year candidate. First on his list of things to address was situational football—a topic I addressed recently as an area the Bills still need to improve. O’Connell seems to have overhauled players’ mindsets in key moments—so now they react quicker, instead of pausing to think when there’s little to no time to ponder.
I think Minnesota deserves more attention from the fan base, even if they’re not a team that can do ultimate damage to Buffalo until February.
Finally, in a national survey put out by SB Nation this week, there’s this:
Aside from the hilarity I find in such a poll question, I think 45% of NFL fans are wrong. Rodgers isn’t washed up. He’s struggling, and playing with a still-unfamiliar receiving corps. There’s been a severe reduction in talent now that wide receiver Davante Adams is with the Las Vegas Raiders. The front office invested in the position in the 2022 NFL Draft but, to this point, things haven’t panned out. I, for one, am not ready to count out Mr. Rodgers—even if he’s moved into a new neighborhood.