The Buffalo Bills Divisional Reign is Already Over

Bills Over

After just 11 months on top of the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills divisional reign is already over. They are no longer a favorite to win the division for years to come; they’ve now got bad company, the New England Patriots.  

Last year the Bills Head Coach, Sean McDermott, cried joyfully after his first win against the Patriots. Later that year, the Bills would become the first AFC East team to sweep the Patriots in two decades. They did it on Monday Night Football, in demoralizing fashion, 38-9. It was a game that signaled a proverbial ‘changing of the guard’. It was a reminder of the dark days for Patriots fans. The Bills finally found their franchise quarterback, and the Patriots did not. Less than a year later, the new “guard” in Buffalo has been relieved of duty. 

Bill Belichick Has Owned the Bills

Bill Belichick has owned the Bills over his reign in New England; he is 36-7 against them. It had been comical until last year for Pats fans who relish in their rivals’ misery. Once again, those Pats fans are laughing, and the “Bills Mafia” has had their soul crushed in an embarrassing loss. Belichick ripped their heart out and showed it to them. He imposed his will on them, and they could not do anything to stop it. They knew the Patriots were going to run the ball; the whole world knew it, and the Bills failed to stop it. They even tried using nine and 10 men in the box – they did not deter Belichick from his plan. The Bills big boys got pushed around by the Patriots big boys. Some sports talk radio hosts are even saying they’ve been “emasculated.”   

The Bills are now left in denial, shame and anger. They are lashing out at the media, the Patriots, and each other. A lot of yelling and banging could be heard outside the Bills locker room. Players were moping around in their uniforms for quite a while. During the post-game interview, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde were unhappy when asked, “does that embarrass you” Poyer said, “what kind of question is that?” Hyde added, “what are we doing, bro?” and as he walked off, he said, “That’s funny; I’ll remember that.” They believe the question was an unfair assessment and indictment. An angry McDermott struck a similar tone of denial in his presser; he snipped, “let’s not give more credit than we need to give Bill Belichick.” Well, we can be sure that Belichick thinks “that’s funny,” and he will “remember that.”

The Bills Are Not Built for Their Climate

Patriots fans must have smiled a little bit when they learned about the weather conditions in Buffalo. They knew the Pats are built for bad weather, and the Bills are not. The Patriots construction and identity are an ode to traditional football; they are built for their climate and schedule. They can run the ball in bad weather and throw it when needed. The offensive line is big, tough, and physical, and so are the running backs.

The Bills are not built for their climate. They are built for a passing game designed to outscore opponents like the Kansas City Chiefs. That would be okay if they were to play most of their games in conditions for passing, but the Bills don’t. They often play in bad weather in one of the coldest and windiest stadiums in the NFL. Yet, they do not embrace it; they were seen running towards the heaters on the sideline and looking for their jackets.

Now that they have Josh Allen and his cannon for an arm, they are in love with the passing game and are not a good rushing team. The offensive line does not get a lot of push, and the running backs are small. The Bills are ranked 13th in rushing, but that number is heavily skewed because of Allen’s scrambling ability; he is 30% of their attack. It’s not a good long-term strategy to put the quarterback at risk that much. History has proven that it’s not sustainable due to injuries, age, and defensive game plans. If that’s the strategy that the Bills think will win the AFC East for years to come, they learned nothing when they “studied” the Patriots.   

It’s Over    

The Patriots have certified themselves as playoff contenders and are now the favorites to win the division. Belichick has his players buying into his coaching, and this team is clicking. The Pats have now won 7 straight and are the top seed in the AFC. 

The Bills are still an excellent team, and the Patriots will have to play them again on December 26th. The Patriots have other tough games on the schedule remaining, but the Bills reign is still over. It’s not over simply because the Patriots won a single game against them in bad weather or because they got demoralized on national TV, and knocked down to the 7th seed. It’s over because the Patriots are the Patriots again.  

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