After the Bills put a season-opening 41-7 beatdown on the Chiefs this past weekend, it’s impossible for we die-hard Bills fans not to dream of a potential playoff berth. (Playoffs? Playoffs?) Could it actually happen? Could the Bills survive a tough schedule and somehow break that nasty decade-plus postseason streak?
Well, it won’t be easy. And winning this week in the home opener against Oakland might be a must.
I don’t envy the Oakland Raiders in their task this week as they prepare to take on the Bills. First off, the Bills have to be full of confidence after blowing out the AFC West champs on the road in Week 1. Also, The Raiders played late Monday night, so they’ll be on a short week headed into the game Sunday. On top of that, they’ll have to fly across the country and endure the dreaded “West Coast team playing at 1 p.m. on the East Coast” problem. And they’ll have to play in a rowdy stadium for Buffalo’s home opener.
Basically, if the Bills can’t beat the Raiders under these circumstances, they probably aren’t good enough to make the playoffs anyway.
Making this game all the more important for the Bills is the fact that the schedule after this game is pretty brutal. Next weekend, the mighty Patriots come to town. The same Patriots team the Bills haven’t beaten since 20o3. After a trip to Cincinnati to take on the apparently not-terrible Bengals, here’s Buffalo’s schedule:
@ N.Y. Giants
vs. N.Y. Jets
@ New York Jets
@ San Diego
@ New England
Ouch. Not many easy games in that stretch. Let’s say the Bills start 3-1 (not unrealistic). The team will still have to find at least six and maybe seven or eight more wins somewhere in that schedule. That will be a challenge.
And that’s why Bills can’t afford to blow this game. If this team has illusions of contending in 2011, this Oakland game is a must-have.