Yes, it’s that time of year again. For those of us NFL ‘deplorables’ whose ghosts of Christmas’ past include nearly a generation of missed playoffs – the specter of December looms large. Will this be the year we are able to finally sing ‘Jingle Bills’ instead of sniffing fumes from Santa’s sleigh for the 18th time in a row?
There’s only three divisional games left to decide our fate and the schedule isn’t pretty. There’s home and away games with Miami, and a Christmas eve stop in New England that stand in the way between the Bills and a decent shot at making the playoffs. No biggie, right?
A few weeks ago the playoffs looked attainable, but after the Bills sunk faster than the Edmund Fitzgerald in November, those hopes were assigned to the annual “IN THE HUNT” bin once again. And until Monday night there was still a reasonable chance the Bills could beat the Dolphins twice. At least that’s where my delusions were at the moment.
However, that bubble popped after Miami rolled the New England Patriots (and brought out whispers of Brady’s impending capitulation to old age) with a convincing 27-20 victory. The Dolphins defense looked vicious and QB Jay Cutler must have taken his meds all week because he was totally on his game.
All of which brings us to the upcoming skirmish on Sunday at New Era Field. We can only hope Lake Erie and the winds will cooperate to bring another “snowcopalypse” at precisely 1 p.m. on Sunday. Last week’s winter festival against the Colts would have run the Dolphins off the field in less than 90 minutes, max.
One of my favorite memories of any Bills/Dolphins matchup was a few years back when Dave Wannstedt was still the head coach of the Dolphins. They came to Buffalo in December and the weather gods were not kind. It was cold and the wind blew the snow all over the field.
And there was Wannstedt – standing on the sidelines shivering, covered in snow with icicles hanging from the tip of his nose.
It was a thing of beauty, watching him silently beg for mercy. I still wonder why the fates were so cruel and led Wannstedt to coach in Buffalo during his final days in the NFL.
Pretty sure the only defense we saw during the drought that was worse than Wannstedt’s defense with the Bills was Rex’s nightmare on the field last season.
Seems fitting the fate of our team this season lies in the hands of two old AFL division rivals and likely some luck. We could only hope to dominate these two foes (Patriots and Dolphins) now as we did in the mid-1960s – when we sang Jingle Bills all the way to back to back championships in 1964 and 1965.
My sense of how this game will go down is as inconsistent as Buffalo and the Dolphins have played all season.
First, and foremost when there’s a Dolphins/Bills matchup in Buffalo in December, weather is ALWAYS a significant variable. We could only hope for a repeat of last week’s glorious snow game against the Colts. That would neutralize Cutler’s passing game and slow their vicious defensive line.
However, we can’t count on the weather to turn the Dolphins into frozen fish. If it’s Kyle Williams last game in Buffalo, that might be as much of a motivator as any for the Bills to secure a victory. With Fred Jackson leading the charge, there won’t be a dry eye in the place knowing it might be the last time we see Mr. Williams in a Bills uniform.
We all know by now that predicting the outcome of any game between these two teams is like throwing darts, so I’ll spare you any prediction in advance.
So will it be ‘Jingle Bills’ or Santa smells –in the form of reindeer poop – left inside our stockings hung by the fire this Christmas, Bills fans?
Get your shovels ready either way.
Editor’s babble: Thanks again for making it through another babbling blog post. If you’re really in the Christmas spirit of sacrifice, you can also find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.