Buffalo Bills should target not having back-to-back losses
By Scott Bryk
Beyond looking at playoffs or other lofty goals, the Buffalo Bills need to avoid having back-to-back losses this year.
“Negative Stanley” was simply impossible to reason with Monday. He poked holes in the Buffalo Bills defense proclaiming they were manhandled by the Eagles offensive line. He was relentlessly making it well documented that the Bills were outcoached, outworked in the trenches, and could not stop running backs or the quarterback when the eagles kept the plays on the ground.
Stanley was questioning the quarterback play of Josh Allen, the playcalling of the coordinator, as well as the focus and preparation of the team. He aggressively questioned really everything that has been questioned all year as well as everything that has been praised at this point in the season.
This was typical Stanley, except when the Bills win, although he still pokes holes in weakness or areas of lacking dominance, he is forced to be somewhat rational when the team accumulates W’s.
When the Bills lose — whether it’s a well-played game like the New England loss or one that they were just punched in the mouth repeatedly such as the recent Eagles contest — Stanley has more ammunition with a recorded L to pile on Bills.
I am aware that by winning, a team creates higher expectations. But this is a growing Bills team, not some proven dynasty. 5-2 would have been very well received had I been asked prior to the opener where they would stand after seven games. I would anticipate the Bills being 6-2 at the halfway point.
Keep in mind, the Bills are not dominating enough to guarantee a victory this weekend over the Redskins. That said, I would still pick Buffalo to be at six wins following the Washington game. Not too shabby.
The loss to Philly was not a fun game as a Buffalo fan. The Bills were outplayed by the Eagles in most areas as Stanley had declared in a broken-record fashion. Just because the Eagles did not land in Cheektowaga undefeated like New England does not in any way suggest they are not a solid team.
That said, I do not recall many fans putting money on the Bills going 15-1, or even 14-2. Most predictions were 9-7 missing the playoffs or sneaking in as a Wild-Card. The optimistic fans were tossing 10-6 around with small support of an 11-win season based on the schedule difficulty…or lack thereof.
Was it not just one calendar year back in early 2018 that Philadelphia captured the first Super Bowl title in their franchise history by upsetting the Patriots? This is the team that has a young MVP caliber quarterback in Carson Wentz, and they are certainly still a very capable opponent to any team in the NFL.
Clever fans or media tackle the schedule early on, choosing wins and losses while predicting Buffalo’s record each year. Some may pencil them in at 9-7, others optimistically slot them in with 10 or 11 wins. Keep in mind some of these very knowledgeable NFL minds had targeted them at 8-8 or even 7-9.
Whichever side of the numerous predictions you fall on, typically when these schedules are analyzed, losses are most tolerated against NFC opponents. The least amount of division or conference losses, the better. This league is far too close between playoff teams and non-playoff teams. With that type of parity, wildcard playoff berths come down to the tie-breaking criteria far too often.
No one wants to lose. That said, if you are looking at the big picture as opposed to the disappointment of a given loss, choosing losses to teams from the other conference makes much more sense than losing within the AFC. Losing within the AFC East is even less desirable.
Keeping in mind that many years this century, the Bills are swept by the Patriots. If that is repeated history, sweeping the Jets and Fish becomes that much more important. A win is always good. A loss is certainly bad news.
Back to the big picture, knowing your team is not a 16-0 level team at this point, a loss against a recent Super Bowl champion team from the NFC is certainly preferred over a loss to a division or conference opponent.
That all said, the Bills do not need to lose to the Redskins simply because they are representing the NFC. Buffalo still needs quite a few wins to secure any kind of playoff berth. Let’s try the Sabres mentality of not losing back to back games. Game on.