It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Buffalo Bills. Heading into their Week 13 bye after enduring a jolting overtime loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, most people thought the bulk of discussion would entail the miscues, execution errors, and late-game coaching decisions — the same things plaguing the team most of the season.
Instead, a pair of news stories far more troubling and shocking in nature have dominated Bills headlines. That doesn’t include the sideline fracas that ensued between members of Buffalo’s defense and some Philly faithful during pregame warmups. Our postgame coverage of perhaps one of the best games in the NFL this season was suddenly cast aside by the news that edge rusher Von Miller had been arrested, charged with assaulting his pregnant girlfriend at their shared residence in Texas. Miller’s case of domestic violence quickly became a national news story, featuring details that took a major u-turn when his girlfriend recanted and claimed no one was assaulted.
This season has hit like a migraine, completely disorienting fans’ expectations for a team that was held to the highest of expectations heading into September. While their postseason goals are still within reach, it feels more like the team will need a life-saving pull instead of a friendly hold of the door to get in. Fans and analysts engaged with playoff simulators will remind you that there’s still room for error, but that’s not an idea anyone should trust.
The Bills’ odds of making the playoffs all but disappear with a loss in Week 14. The room for error has passed. The goal now is perfection in the win column, and it begins on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs.
That could prove challenging even if Miller is set to be active against the Chiefs, as now, another distraction and public relations nightmare has made its way to One Bills Drive, thanks to the 25,000-plus word piece written by Tyler Dunne that reveals plenty of details about Sean McDermott and his role as leader. The timing may have worked for Dunne’s desired result, but it couldn’t be worse for a team trying to focus on the task at hand. They should expect to face yet another round of seemingly endless questions about a another situation that could derail their attention.
For certain, Bills fans must be completely dejected about the direction of their favorite team. Admittedly, this week’s survey was published before Dunne dropped his long-form piece on McDermott. So, it’s possible these results would have played out a bit different had voting taken place after it published.
What’s revealing is that even with the knowledge about Miller’s situation, confidence rebounded during the bye week. After taking an expected hit following the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles heading into the bye, fans are more optimistic about the team heading into Week 14. Perhaps it’s that perfect record Sean McDermott carries out of bye weeks. Maybe it’s the realization that Miller’s legal trouble doesn’t move the needle much concerning his on-field contributions this season (they’ve been sparse). It’s also likely that fans are excited to see an offense featuring a classic-look Josh Allen more alive under interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Whatever the reasons may be, right now 43% of voters believe the Buffalo Bills are headed in the right direction. Essentially, like the .500 team the Bills have shown to be so far, we’re headed back up that mountain. However the peaks and valleys are getting closer, with shrinking peaks by the week.
This week, we also wanted to know your thoughts on the upcoming game against the Chiefs. Though first in the AFC West and with an overall record of 8-4, Kansas City isn’t the top dog in the AFC East right now. The team is currently in third place for playoff seeding, and it’s unlikely they can coast to the finish line if want to claim the one seed.
All that to say the Chiefs aren’t going to just roll over so the Bills can notch an all-important win this weekend. Despite that, better than half (58%) of voters believe that Buffalo will leave Arrowhead Stadium with a win on Sunday evening.
What do you think about the results of these polls, and does yesterday’s news involving McDermott change things for you this weekend, or moving forward?