Yes Jim Mora, I Am Talking Playoffs

After two solid days of EJ Manuel/Kyle Orton, no 2015 first round draft pick and any other Bills doomsday scenario available, I think we are all in need of positive talk. Since I often consider myself to be the ultimate Bills optimist, I figure I am the right person for the job this week.

mora playoffs
PLAYOFFS?!

So during these turbulent times at One Bills Drive, how can our spirits be lifted? Well, how about a logical prediction on how Buffalo will end its playoff drought this season? Yes, I said this season.

Before the Jim Mora punchlines (Sound byte here: ) start, let me remind you of three things.

 

  1. The Bills have a playoff caliber defense. I predicted it in my first ever post to this site back in July: “The defense will be better thanks to Jim Schwartz, Brandon Spikes, Nigel Bradham and Corey Graham.” So far, so good.
  2. There are a lot of open receivers running around the field in red, white and blue. Whether you watch the All-22 or just pay attention on the television broadcasts, it is easy to see that Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Mike Williams are winning a lot of individual battles on the outside. If Kyle Orton shows even the slightest ability to hit wide open targets, something EJ unfortunately struggled with, the Bills will move the ball and score points at a much improved rate.
  3. The AFC East is weak, maybe the weakest division in football, and thus, right there for the taking. While I am not one who will just write off the Patriots after just four weeks, I will tell you that the defending division champs are incredibly vulnerable with a lack of playmakers around Tom Brady, an offensive line with holes, and a defense not built to carry a team. Plus, wait until you see New England’s remaining schedule (below). The Jets have serious issues at quarterback and in the secondary. The Dolphins haven’t beat the Bills since 2012 and have a pretty tough stretch approaching.

There are several theories as to why Doug Marrone pulled the plug so quickly on EJ Manuel. The most prevalent is the thought that Marrone is in “panic mode” trying to save his job. There is likely some truth to that argument, but I believe Marrone feels strongly in his team’s ability to win now.

Absolutely we have a playoff caliber team,” said Marrone on Monday. “We have to play better than we have been playing the last two weeks.”

Playing better simply means better production out of the quarterback position. Like I mentioned, Orton is walking into a pretty good situation. While the offensive line has struggled at times, the caliber of skill players surrounding the Purdue product will be the best he has ever played with in the NFL.

So with all of that said, here’s how I predict the remaining 12 games will play out in the AFC East. I picked each schedule independently so as to not skew the results, and you will see it won’t take anything crazy for the Bills to capture their first AFC East crown since 1995. I afforded myself one upset win for each team.

Buffalo (currently 2-2 overall, 1-0 in the division)

at Lions – L
vs. Patriots – W
vs. Vikings – W
at Jets – L
vs. Chiefs – W
at Dolphins – L
vs. Jets – W
vs. Browns – W
at Broncos – L
vs. Packers – W (upset pick)
at Raiders – W
at Patriots – L
predicted overall record: 9-7, 3-3 AFC East

Miami (currently 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the division)

Packers – L
@ Bears – L
@ Jaguars – W
vs. Chargers – L
@ Lions – L
vs. Bills – W
@ Broncos – L
@ Jets – W
vs. Ravens – W (upset pick)
@ New England – L
vs. Minnesota – W
vs. Jets – W
predicted overall record: 8-8, 4-2 AFC East

New England (currently 2-2 overall, 0-1 in the division)

Bengals – L
@ Bills – L
vs. Jets – W
vs. Bears – W (upset pick)
vs. Broncos – L
@ Colts – L
vs. Lions – W
@ Packers – L
@ Chargers – L
vs. Dolphins – W
@ Jets – W
vs. Bills – W
predicted overall record: 8-8, 4-2 AFC East

NY Jets (currently 1-3 overall, 0-0 in the division)

@ Chargers – L
vs. Broncos – L
@ Patriots – L
vs. Bills – W
@ Chiefs – W (upset pick)
vs. Steelers – L
@ Bills – L
vs. Dolphins – L
@ Vikings – W
@ Titans – W
vs. Patriots – L
@ Dolphins – L
predicted overall record: 5-11, 1-5 AFC East

Look, I know if I was this good at predicting games I would have a job in Las Vegas. I realize that there will likely be a handful of games I have missed on in this scenario. The point is though; the scenario I have mapped out is not that far-fetched. For the Bills, it all comes down to Orton. If he is just slightly above average that will be good enough to get this team to nine wins.

When the playoffs start each year, there is a team identified as only being there because they played in the weakest division. Wouldn’t it be great to be that team this year?

I know it’s tough now, but keep on “BILLieving.”