Oct 26, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler (84) celebrates with wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Everybody is always hesitant to call games must wins until very late in the season, but I’ll say it – the Buffalo Bills must win today if they’re going to make the playoffs. Even on my most optimistic days as a fan, I see the Bills needed to go 4-0 in November to have a real shot. The AFC is crowded with good teams and the challenging December schedule (Denver, Green Bay and New England) looms large.
Even if you feel the Bills can go 3-1 in November and still find their way to the playoffs, they need a W today. The Kansas City Chiefs will be one of the teams they’re battling for the final playoff spot with and the Bills had best have the head-to-head tiebreaker on their side.
To win today, the Bills have to go 6-3 for the first time this millennium. It’s no easy task, but here’s six ways the Bills can get to six wins.
Use Sammy Watkins and Marquise Goodwin Together
Assuming Watkins’ groin lets him play today, the Bills need to creatively use Watkins and Goodwin together a ton. Goodwin’s head and hamstring injuries this season have meant he’s spent little time on the field since Kyle Orton took over at quarterback. Orton has shown he can get his wide outs the ball and defenses have to worry about both Watkins and Goodwin deep. The Bills should be creative as possible and get these guys both the ball a ton today.
Be The Same Defense
The Bills defense has been rock steady against teams that lack elite NFL quarterbacks this season. Alex Smith should put no fear in this team and coming off a bye, they should be rested and ready to shut down the run and get to Smith. Barring the Bills offense making bad turnovers, it’s realistic to think the Bills D can hold the Chiefs under 17 points.
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Hang on to the Ball.
Everyone knows turnovers are crucial, but the Bills need to make sure to take care of the ball today. In their last home game against the Vikings, the Bills coughed it up four times (three fumbles, one INT). They survived against the Vikings, they won’t be as lucky today if they’re as careless with the ball today.
Turn Justin Houston into Cameron Wake
Justin Houston is a beast with 32 tackles and 12 sacks this season through eight games. He is no doubt licking his chops after watching the Bills weak offensive line on tape all week. The Bills need to control him and not let him get to Orton every down. Earlier this season, Cameron Wake came to town and nobody really heard his name. It’s doubtful the Bills can do the same thing to Houston, but they need to impede him, limit him and find a way to neutralize him as much as possible.
Keep Flying High Kyle Orton
A recurring theme in NFL conversation over the past two weeks has been when Kyle Orton will come back down to earth. Orton has put up great numbers ever since stepping in for E.J. Manuel. Several people feel Orton is due for a let down game soon – it can’t be today. Without Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, the air game needs to be strong for the Bills today. Orton has weapons and an arm, as long as he’s smart he can keep the streak of good games going.
I really struggle to seek Alex Smith and this Chiefs team putting up a ton of points on the Bills defense. The Bills should get crafty early on with some home-run style plays. Find a way to get Watkins or Goodwin deep early for a TD. Force a fumble on a punt. If the Bills can break the game open early, I doubt the Chiefs will ever catch up.