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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.