The Buffalo Bills have once again advanced to the NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs, carrying with them a six-game winning streak. Since the team’s Week 13 bye, Buffalo’s strung together an impressive list of victories had in myriad ways.
From closely contested defensive efforts, to come-from-behind wins at home and on the road, and even dominant wins in uncharacteristic fashion, the Bills have found a way win. The team has said for weeks now that they’ve been operating under a playoff umbrella, knowing that losing would have all but roasted their playoff chances.
Their reward for claiming the two seed again and winning the AFC East for the four-consecutive season was a date with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium. They won, advancing to the AFC Divisional Round to play host again — this time to the Kansas City Chiefs. Things couldn’t be better for Bills Mafia, finally able to give their full-throated support to the team at home against Kansas City. Except, well.... last week’s W came at a cost. Buffalo exited Monday’s game battered and bruised, and the team ruled out cornerback Christian Benford, safety Taylor Rapp (calf), and linebacker Baylon Spector (back) among those who were injured against the Steelers. Joining them on the sideline will be wide receive Gabe Davis (knee), who also missed Monday’s playoff game.
It’s perhaps due to the injury reports that a fair few within Bills Mafia seem reserved in their confidence. Once again we’re headed back down the track, with just 71% of voters on board and confident in the direction of the Buffalo Bills.
That’s down from an 84% confidence rating heading into Super Wild Card Weekend.
Yes, the Bills have a mountain of injuries on defense, and certainly the Kansas City Chiefs are among the most dangerous playoff teams. But it comes as a bit of a surprise that some fans aren’t on-board with things. Injuries are seldom a controlled variable, and One Bills Drive has worked wonders in fielding a far-better-than-competent team most weeks of the season. That includes the defense’s performance against the Steelers, when reserves three, four, five, or more deep were called to action as starters.
It’s possible that too many are still hanging on to last season’s home playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round. But this team isn’t that team.
We’ll find out later tonight if those who are concerned were prescient.
In national polls, voters across all 32 blogs believe the Baltimore Ravens are the AFC’s Super Bowl favorites — by a wide margin (66%). In a distant second are the Buffalo Bills (17%), followed by the Kansas City Chiefs in third (13%).
National voters also picked who they believe will move on to the Conference Championship Round. They already correctly predicted two games: choosing the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers to advance. Additionally, they’ve chosen the Detroit Lions and Bills to both win on Sunday.