Hang in there, Bills fans

November 14, 2017 - 9:34 am
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Temperatures sank to 20 degrees Friday in Buffalo. Two days later the Bills hosted New Orleans, and after an unseasonably warm start to the season they fell as hard as the temps. Both the weekend weather and the Bills game approached, although did not set, record lows.

We know cold weather, and we know mid- to late-season Bills malaise. Sometimes seasons start well, sometimes they don't, but they always end the same: defeat, boredom, complacency, misery.

Consider this your friendly notification that all this is not natural law. We know the history too well -- you really should have experienced how heavy that Wheel of Drought was -- but it's just that, history.

This season isn't over.

Yet.

The fact that the Bills have allowed 81 points their last two games is disturbing. Is it a sign of things to come? Maybe, which is different than yes.

Fans ride hard the emotional swings of a season, and we WGR hosts stand in those swings' jetstreams. Not two weeks ago the conversation around quarterback Tyrod Taylor was whether it was the appropriate time to talk contract extension. Now it's back to where we were preseason -- rookie backup Nathan Peterman, and college kids. (The lesson as always, taught to us by the most serious of topics: The answer to whether now is the appropriate time to discuss any subject is no.)

Mathematically you can put the Bills' chances of ending the drought as a wild-card team at around 50 percent. A coin flip. Your brain, with its annoying features of memory as well as recency bias, want it to be worse than that. But statistics don't care about the drought. And I say, let's respect them for that.

Should we care about the order of these games? That the Bills are now a bad team because they were bad in their two most recent games? No. They're still healthy, and I refuse to accept that they're no longer capable of blocking or tackling. They were never a perfect team, and they are now not a terrible one. Were these two losses their most important games? No. Standings don't care about the order of your wins. The Bills have five wins which right now is enough for a playoff position; when they happened is irrelevant.

It does matter who you play, and New Orleans has looked like a powerhouse. Nice to know that you have a Hall of Fame-bound passer if you need it; in most of their seven straight wins the Saints haven't needed Drew Brees too badly.

It also does matter who you're competing with for these playoff spots, and in the case of the AFC everybody is flawed. If it can't be the Bills because of history or momentum or something, who will it be? Baltimore? Miami? An Oakland team the Bills blew out? Either Tennessee or Jacksonville should claim one wild-card spot but the other is up for grabs. And beyond the Bills and the three teams just listed, everyone else in the conference is already to six losses or more.

When the season's over, win or lose, there'll be days and weeks of figuring out what to do next. So if it's OK I'd like to stay in the present and focus on that this team has a chance.

It's the truth.

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