It’s been 15 hard and painful years since the Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs—an unusually long amount of time for a team in the National Football League. This long spell can be attributed to a lot of things over the years: bad coaching, a lack of a consistently good quarterback and an extremely competitive division. The Bills are a part of the American Football Conference East, which also consists of the Miami Dolphins, the New York Jets and the reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots. In order to make the playoffs, a team needs to either have the best record in their division or grab one of two wild card spots in the conference. Given the very high level of success the Patriots have had for the past 15 years, it has been very hard for Buffalo to win their division. They’ve also been unable to pull together a record good enough to grab one of the wild card spots.
This year, however, is the best chance they’ve had to make the playoffs in many years. They have arguably the best defensive line in the league and their secondary is more than good enough to stop most teams’ passing attacks.
The Bills have spent millions of dollars solidifying their offensive line and with the recent addition of LeSean McCoy, they have one of the best halfbacks in the league. They have very good receivers in second-year players Sammy Watkins and young veteran Chris Hogan. They’ve also recently added former Miami tight end Charles Clay and former Jets receiver Percy Harvin.
The signing of head coach Rex Ryan is nothing but good news for the Bills. The former coach of the rival New York Jets, Ryan is an extremely defensive-minded coach who has a good head on his shoulders.
The main issues, however, lie with their quarterback. Tyrod Taylor has been in the league since 2011, but he has backed up star quarterback Joe Flacco for the Baltimore Ravens. He signed with the Bills in 2015 and earned the starting position, beating out EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel. A lot of fans admire him for his ability to not only run with the ball, but also to step up in the pocket and make plays. His lack of experience, however, may be the biggest weakness for the Bills. He seems to be a capable quarterback, but his three interceptions against New England on Sunday Sept. 20 mean there is a lot of room for improvement.
Many believe that the Bills have a very good shot at making the playoffs. They most likely won’t be able to win the division, as the incumbent Super Bowl champions are still at the top of their game and quarterback Tom Brady looks geared to have another record-breaking season.
The Bills might be able to fight their way through the season, and they have a very good chance to play well enough to grab one of the AFC wild card spots.