The Buffalo Bills, a team that was built to “win now” are finding out that there are no guarantees in the National Football League (NFL). This team, which hired Rex Ryan as its Head Coach in the offseason, was expected to compete with the New England Patriots for divisional honors in the East Division of the American Football Conference (AFC).
To date, the blueprint for success appears to be flawed. The Bills have a Won-Loss record of 5-6 while the first place Patriots have lost just one time in eleven games. Divisional honors are now just a “pipe dream.” And in the super-competitive AFC, it is quickly becoming “too late” for Buffalo t win one of two available Wild Cards.
In truth, the Buffalo Bills are currently the ninth seed and only the top six seeds play in January. The squad from western New York can still earn its way into the playoffs, but it will have to win at least four of its remaining five games to have any chance at all.
A win this weekend at home against the suddenly hot Houston Texans is an absolute necessity. But Houston has lots to play for, as well. It is tied for first place with the Indianapolis Colts in the South Division of the American Football Conference and may have to win its division to reach the postseason.
That makes this Sunday’s game which will begin at 1 PM a “must-win” for both squads. While it is true that the Bills are difficult to beat when playing at home, it is also true that the surging Texans have been overcoming opponents at home and on the road.
Both squads feature rugged defenses. But, at this point in the season, the visiting Texans can point to a defense, led by JJ Watt and Brian Cushing, that has been playing “lights out” in recent games while the Bills, a team built on defense, has been surrendering points far too frequently in its most recent contests.
That means little prior to the start of the game this Sunday other than the fact that the visiting team is “trending upward” while the host team is ‘trending downward.” But it is well-known in NFL circles that Head Coach Rex Ryan is a master motivator and a player-friendly leader.
He will surely use every motivational tool at his disposal to rally his players and fire them up for this Sunday’s crucial contest.
Of course, the Texans are supremely confident right now and probably don’t need to be motivated to perform well. This squad certainly has “its eye on the prize,” that is an invitation to the playoffs and a chance, if things go well, to compete in the Super Bowl.
With so much on the line for both teams, fans that attend the game can expect to view an entertaining, hard-fought battle and a low-scoring game.
It should be fun to watch.
Courtesy of ESPN