The season is far from over, but the Buffalo Bills can clinch their third playoff appearance in four years this week.
If the Bills earn a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, along with losses by the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and Las Vegas Raiders, the Bills could return to the playoffs for the second straight year after losing to the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card game last season.
Another appearance in the playoffs would be a significant step forward for the Bills after they ended a 17-year playoff drought in 2017, but fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Wild Card game.
With rookie Josh Allen at the helm, the Bills regressed in 2018 but returned to the playoffs last season with a 10-6 record.
This season, the Bills are on track to capture their first AFC title since 1995 and they are looking to earn their first start of 10-3 or better since 1991. It would also give them sole possession of the division this late into the season for the first time since 1995.
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The Bills Need to Win in Primetime
It doesn’t matter who wins or loses on Sunday if the Bills don’t come away with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football.
The two teams faced off on Sunday Night Football last season and came away with a 17-10 victory in Pittsburgh. This season’s matchup will take place in Buffalo and the Bills are looking for their third straight win.
The Steelers come into the game with one of the best defenses in the league as they’ve recorded a sack in 69 straight games and have also only allowed 300.5 total yards per game, which is the third-lowest amount in the NFL.
They’ll look to stop an offense led by Allen that has produced 378.8 total yards per game and Allen has thrown for 276.4 yards per game, which is the third-highest in the league.
Pittsburgh will also be without three starters, cornerback Joe Haden (concussion) and linebackers Vince Williams (Reserve/Covid-19) and Robert Spillane (knee) as well as star linebacker Bud Dupree, who tore his ACL against the Baltimore Ravens.
Sunday’s matchup could come down to how well Allen and the Bills offense can move the ball against one of the top defenses in the league. Buffalo’s defense, which has been playing better as of late, also needs to stop a Ben Roethlisberger offense that has several weapons that can hurt a defense.
Other Matchups the Bills Will Be Watching
After the Los Angeles Rams beat the New England Patriots on Thursday, the Bills will have their eyes on the Kansas City vs. Miami, Baltimore vs. Cleveland, and Indianapolis vs. Las Vegas.
The Dolphins have kept pace with the Bills for a majority of this season but a matchup against the defending Super Bowl champions bodes well for the Bills in terms of capturing the AFC East title.
Although a Miami victory would delay Buffalo’s playoff berth, it would improve their chances of capturing the top seed in the AFC, even though that is unlikely.
Although Cleveland’s and Indianapolis games are important, they will have more of an impact on Buffalo’s overall seeding in the conference.