Will Bills be pumpkins or playoff participants at midnight?

Photo of Tyrod Taylor from NewYorkUpstate.com.

Week 17.

As Bills fans, we are usually making our New Year’s resolutions while watching the end of the year coaching firings & hirings around the league. And sometimes, that involved us watching the Bills front office taking part in that circus.

But this year, as we begin to dress for our New Year’s Eve outings, we might actually be watching the Bills play their final game of the year. In fact, I’m sure you will be.

That’s because it technically it is the last game of the year, but this year things are different. That’s because of the moves the Bills’ front office made last year at this time – firing Rex Ryan and hiring Sean McDermott. Boom. In the playoff picture.

We will certainly get to the game, and the playoff picture, below. For right now, we have some end of the year awards to hand out.

As a point of comparison – let’s take a look at my mid-season awards, and see if things have changed.

Mid-Season MVP: Terry and Kim Pegula
End of Season MVP: LeSean McCoy

Photo of LeSean McCoy from si.com.

The Pegulas obviously made the moves that set up the new successes the team has made this season, and for that, we gave them the mid-season MVP award.
But, is there any other choice for the regular season MVP award, than LeSean McCoy?

Each and every week, we look at the opponent, and we can always say to ourselves, “Well, we’ve got Shady.” The 10,000 yard rusher is the one constant for the Bills, no matter which team they face from week to week. He’s our man.

Mid-Season Most Valuable Offensive Player: Tyrod Taylor
End of Season Most Valuable Offensive Player: LeSean McCoy

For Tyrod Taylor, this was a season of inconsistency, which, ironically, is consistent for Tyrod Taylor. The 2nd half of the season brought multiple low points, and a few enjoyable moments.

As for LeSean McCoy, see above.

Mid-Season Top Defensive Lineman: Not Marcell Dareus
End of Season Top Defensive Lineman: Kyle Williams

Photo of Kyle Williams from buffalobills.com.

Does it seem to you that this unit has been a disappointment this season? I think I came off the summer thinking the front linemen on the defense were going to wreak havoc on the NFL all season long. Um, not so much.

I give this award to Williams, out of respect. If for nothing else, I give it to him for sacking Tom Brady last week. But mostly, I give it to him as a lifetime achievement award, too. I would like to see Kyle Williams on the Bills sideline next year. Not as a starter, but as a needed locker room leader, that can come into the game and deliver when needed. He’s that kind of valuable.

Mid-Season Top Linebacker: Preston Brown
End of Season Top Linebacker: Matt Milano

The rookie out of Boston College showed flashes of talent in the first half of the season, and by December he had earned a starting role for the team. He’s quick thinking and quick reacting. He flies to the ball in a way NFL All-Pro linebackers do. Matt Milano was a draft day gem stone, similar to our next award winner.

Mid-Season Team Rookie of the Year: Tre’Davious White
End of Season Team Rookie of the Year: Tre’Davious White

Let me just cut and paste what I wrote then…

“With the number 10 pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills were looking at Corner Back. Marshon Lattimore, the stud defensive back from Ohio State, was there on the board. The Bills traded down. By all accounts, Lattimore, drafted at the 11 spot by this week’s Bills opponent, the New Orleans Saints, has had an excellent rookie campaign. But, instead of taking Lattimore at 10, this is what the Bills got by trading down: Tre’Davious White…plus Kansas City’s 1st round pick next year…plus a 3rd round pick. Tre White is playing so well that people have no problems anymore with the un-signing of Stephon Gilmore and the trade of Ronald Darby. He’s playing on par with Marshon Lattimore, and they team got an additional 1st round pick along with him. Boom.


Photo of Tre’Davious White from democratandchronicle.com.

As a Bills fan, I’ll expect Lattimore to win the DROTY award when it gets announced. But White has certainly used the 2nd half of the year to boost his chances to win the award. What a draft steal he has been. This future team captain should be with the Buffalo Bills for a long, long time.

There we go, a few end of the year awards. Now, let’s talk playoffs.

Musings From Around the NFL

It’s the last week of the regular season, which means some teams are in – and trying to stay healthy. Some teams are in competition for playoff spots, or home field advantages – and the testosterone is rampant. And some teams have their equipment managers working overtime already.

In the NFC, Philly has clinched home field advantage, the Vikings and Rams have clinched their division, and Saints and Panthers have clinched playoff spots. That means no Atlanta Falcons, no Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys or Green Bay Packers.

Things are not so clean in the AFC. The Patriots, Steelers, Jaguars and Chiefs have clinched playoff spots, by clinching their division titles. That leaves two more spots for the playoffs.

For Bills fans, it’s a little complicated. As of this writing, the Bills are not in the playoffs. But they can be.

Step one for the Bills is for them to defeat the Miami Dolphins today. Step two is for the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Bengals. That’s the easiest path for the Bills.

There are other paths, but they require much more fancy dancing.

If the Ravens do not lose, the Bills can still make the playoffs if…

– they defeat the Dolphins and the Chargers lose or tie AND the Titans lose or tie
– they tie the Dolphins and both the Chargers and Titans lose.

Tick tock, tick tock.

And here’s the NFL move that makes all of this more interesting. You no doubt know the Bills-Dolphins game got flexed from the 1pm spot to the 4pm start. But do you know why? It’s because the NFL wants all of the AFC playoff determining games to be played at the exact…same…time. This is gonna be fun.

Last Week

Have I ever written that I hate the Patriots?
I’m not going to rehash the trash that was last week’s officiating fiasco in Foxboro. You don’t need it, and I certainly don’t want it.

Kyle Williams did sack Tom Brady, though.

This Week

Dolphins/Jay Cutler meme from twitter.com.

It’s sort of a playoff game for the Bills. At least, it’s the closest we as fans have felt like it’s a playoff game in 17 years. It would be nice to say that if they win – they’re in. But that is not the case. We need help from other teams.

The Bills beat the Dolphins just two weekends ago. But that game was in Buffalo. The good news for the Bills is that the Dolphins really have nothing to play for, other than individual pride. That alone has been enough for some teams to play spoilers, exactly as we are hoping for the Cincinnati Bengals to do today.

I don’t see it, though.

The Bills are beyond hungry for this win. I don’t think the Dolphins have much of an appetite left.

Buffalo 30 – Miami 20

At midnight tonight, as we enter the year of 2018, the airplane carrying the Buffalo Bills should be flying somewhere over the mountains of western Pennsylvania. There will either be the popping of champagne bottles – to celebrate the end of 17 years of team frustration…or their will be subdued contemplation of coming off-season moves for the new year.

Here’s to hoping none of those corks hit the pilot.

Read me next week…I hope. Go Bills!

Editor’s babble: A gigantic thank you to Rick Bates for keeping us going throughout this tumultuous regular season and especially for putting up with our hinky WordPress program. Happy New Year, Rick! You can follow Rick on Twitter @MyHammock. 

17 Replies to “Will Bills be pumpkins or playoff participants at midnight?”

  1. Thanks for the article Rick….

    Bills (-2) @ Phins

    The 2017 season is coming to and end and Lo & Behold the game has playoff implications. The stars, the moon and the sun have to align just right but as Jim Carey said in Dumb and Dumber “We Still Have a Chance” !!

    Obviously the main thing is for the Bills to win if they don’t all the scenarios won’t matter. The Phins have won 6 games and 4 have been at home so they do play better at home and are 3-0 against AFC East teams this year…

    The Phins have one of the best receivers in the NFL in Landry and an up an coming RB in Drake. You never know which Jay Cutler will show up as he has been inconsistent at best. Matt Moore is doubtful so Cutler will try and protect himself. Their defense has been giving up 24 points a game which is 28th and they have been scoring !7 points a game which is 26th in the league.

    The Bills will have their hands full as this is a rivalry game and the Phins would end their season on a high note by knocking the Bills out of the playoffs.

    As Shady goes so go the Bills, TT has to play like he did in the first half of their first meeting. TT has to keep the Phins honest and not crowd the box to stop Shady. Look for more passes to the TE and for the Bills to get Benjamin more involved in the offense. Shady will get plenty of touches today and Zay Jones will make a couple of outstanding plays.. Keep the chains moving and stop the Phins running game and the Bills will be victors!!

    Bills 27 Phins 20

  2. I think the Bills will squish the fish. I’m hoping for the best with the other AFC games, but I’m expecting the worst. Go Bills!

  3. I’m officially drinking the Bills kool aid again! I can’t believe the streak is finally over! I celebrated with my family and told my kids for the first time in their lives, they get to see the Bills in the playoffs.

    A huge thank you to Andy Dalton and the Bengals. That fourth down play by Dalton was incredible, Dalton avoided two defenders when it looked like he was going to get sacked, threw it deep and scored.

    I’m also officially “trusting the process.” What a great way to end 2017!

  4. I don’t trust the process, but nonetheless, it’s much sweeter to have the monkey off their back instead of the worst possible position of worst non-playoff draft pick. Congrats, Bills and thank you Cinci! I was listening on my shittty cell phone radio app as the seconds ticked away of the Bungles game and I thought it was a foregone conclusion as I walked Burbon Street in Saints-land for NYE. It’ll be a better night tonight as I get toasty. Happy New Year’s, all!

  5. Good morning…

    Wow Wow Wow…

    What a roller coaster of emotions yesterday —- Bills winning then hanging on at the end… Bengals leading leading leading then giving up the lead. Dalton and the Bengals getting a couple of penalty first downs then the 4th and 12 connection for a 46 yard TD with 30 seconds to play…

    What a way to bring in the NY!!

  6. unbelievable. the Bills get a miracle play by another team. they get a break, a huge break, something finally goes their way. i was watching the bills game and kept switching back to the nfl game mix, keeping an eye on the ravens, titans and chargers. it seemed obvious that doug moron’s “play the game to win” statement was a bunch of hot air- 10 points against the titans? forget about that game.
    the chargers kept rolling on against the hapless raiders- amazing what you can do with a quarterback with a heart like a warrior.
    so it was up to the bengals to beat the ravens- it was our only shot.
    second half the ravens finally found their offense and the bengals offense was having a hard time staying on the field.
    but then the bengals had the final drive trailing by 3, 4th and 12 from midfield, 51 seconds left. dalton connects with tyler boyd for a catch and run TD . amazing. i scared the heck out of our dogs i went so crazy!


  7. Seeing all the reactions has been priceless. From seeing the Bills players reactions in the lockeroom, fans reactions all over the country, to the tons of fans that showed up at the Buffalo Airport to meet the team when they got off the plane.

    Now that the Bills have finally gotten that 17 year monkey off their backs, it’s time to enjoy a playoff game against the coach that quit on the team. It would be great to see the Bills beat Marrone again.

    • How’s the gumbo, Jambalaya and the Po-Boys? Not to mention the live entertainment !!

      What a way to spend the New Year’s and while knowing the Bills made the playoffs !!

  8. For one that doesnt like seafood, the food here really sucks…I like Popeyes, but there’s only so much Popeyes you can do in a week. If you like seafood, there’s plenty of fresh available…but it does seem everything is fried.

    If you get past the disappointing food, though, NOLA is a trip. Crazy city…but cool and interesting. Lots of heritage and culture…and a total zoo on Bourbon St. Last night was disappointing, though, as we had a sloppy drunk in our party and got stuck at Pat O’Brien’s much longer than was fun, then had to spend an hour or so arranging them getting back to their hotel safely. And then the person that was watching our house/dog back home got locked out because it was 12 below zero and the garage door quit responding. Kinda took the care-free fun out of the night. But NOLA is the new in-law destination so there will be more chances for crazy nights.

  9. Oh, muffaletta sandwiches are actually really good and the best non-seafood thing you can get doiwn here…but like Popeyes, it loses its appeal after you’ve had it 3 or 4 times in a few day span.

    • I went to New Orleans a little over a year ago and had a good time. The two favorite things I ate were from Mother’s: Shrimp Po Boy and the Ferdi. I would definitely like to go back. Glad to hear you had a good time Joma.

  10. Good morning…

    Cold in Fla. this morning so I’m going to wear my Bills leather jacket to work !!

    Joma–NOLA tough place to dine if you don’t like seafood, there must be some nice steakhouses in the area…

    Let’s light candles at church and pray Shady’s ankle is 100% by Sunday.