Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-1

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2017 – 12:37 pm

The first of two in a month against the Patriots coming up on Sunday. Here are your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Which poison will the Bills pick on Sunday? Focus on stopping Gronk? Or focus on stopping Dion Lewis and the resurgent New England running game?


CB: I think they’ll try to make the Patriots offense as one dimensional as possible. But that’s hard for a number of reasons. Brady is a big reason, but the other key reason is New England has very effectively diversified their offense. They no longer rely primarily on a short passing game. Brandin Cooks gives them a deep threat for the first time since Randy Moss was running go routes for them.

That only enhances their short pass game by creating more space underneath.

Couple that with two very multi-faceted backs in Burkhead and Lewis and you quickly see the problem. They have answers for whatever aspect of their offense you focus your attention on neutralizing.

Take away Gronk, they’ll go to Cooks over the top.

Keep Cooks in front of you and don’t give up anything deep, and they nickel and dime you to death with the backs out of the backfield and Amendola on short crossers.

The best plan for Buffalo is to slow their run game, since aside from their three-game slide, they’ve done an excellent job of that. Then do what you can to slow Brady.

Even pressuring Brady has its pitfalls. He’s the highest-rated passer in the league under pressure with a rating over 100.

2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Shaq Lawson finally be a key factor in this game?

James Henderson

CB: I respect the tone of frustration here. The guy is a first-round pick and a pass rusher by trade. He also has Jerry Hughes, a respected pass rusher on the other side. It’s certainly logical to think that Lawson should be capable of having a greater impact on games from a pass rushing perspective.

Fact is it’s going to be difficult for any pass rusher to have a major impact on the game. The Dolphins last week hit Tom Brady a lot. They had a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception and still lost by 17 to the Patriots giving up 35 points.

I believe Lawson will be able to generate pressure at times. Heck, his first career sack was of Tom Brady. But take over the game is just not something I think he’s capable of at this point in his career.

Reason being is Lawson is a power rusher, not a speed rusher. And until Lawson capably develops counter moves to some of his favorite initial rushes, he’s not going to be consistently effective series in and series out. And that’s on Lawson to perfect those counter moves to be the best pass rusher he can be.


3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Milano ever see more time on the field?


CB: I think that is happening incrementally from one week to the next. Since Ramon Humber returned to the lineup he’s been playing a rotational role.

The best part of his game right now is his speed and penetration into the offensive backfield on run plays. He’s very aggressive.

At this point, there are still a time or two where he gets crossed up by the offense particularly when they show a different look. Knowing the Patriots are pros at targeting inexperienced players and isolating them, the Bills will need to be judicious with their usage of Milano.

His time is coming, but to expect to see him out there a ton might have to wait until next season. He needs more experience, which I realize you get by playing, but that is why they’re sprinkling him in without exposing his lack of experience at the cost of the defense.


4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Do you think 9-7 will be good enough to make the playoffs


CB: This year in the AFC, I do think 9-7 will be good enough to get to the playoffs. The main reason being that you have three teams with five losses already and two of them hold playoff spots (KC, Balt.). There are also three teams with six losses, two of which are in the AFC West with the Chiefs in the Raiders and Chargers. Cincinnati is the other.

With five games to play and none of these teams playing great football right now, it’s hard to believe one or two of them is going to run the table the rest of the way. In fact, they’re all likely to lose one or two games at least. That would put a couple of these teams in a situation where they’ll be in contention for a playoff spot with seven losses.

The key for Buffalo is not to fall into a tie with either Cincinnati or Los Angeles for the obvious reason that they would lose out on the head-to-head tiebreaker to those clubs.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills
I’m sure neither would admit it publicly but do you think Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott now regret any of the players they either traded, cut or did not re-sign? Zach Brown and Robert Woods are two that come to mind.

Rick McGuire

CB: I don’t believe in the positions that both Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott hold that you can ever have regret for the kind of calls they have to make unless they feel it was handled poorly. The actual move or in the two players you’ve referenced, non-move, is a decision they are willing to live with for all of its pluses and minuses.

With Woods, the issue there was the money he was going to command on the open market. The Bills were simply not going to pay $8M a season for Woods.

As for Zach Brown, there’s no debate he’s a wildly productive player, but it’s my understanding that in his sit-down with coach McDermott prior to free agency, when he was still under contract to the Bills, that they didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things.

Brown is a bit of a loose cannon as a teammate. He also got into shouting matches with former head coach Rex Ryan after games. Last year’s Chiefs game in particular. Whether Brown was right or wrong with his argument with Ryan is immaterial. The fact that he did it in front of the rest of the team and undermined his coach’s authority is just something that would not fly with the new regime.

That’s what I admire about coach McDermott. He’s not afraid to part ways with a talented player if he doesn’t fit the mold of the player type he needs to win his way.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

The difference between 6-4 & 5-5

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2017 – 12:24 pm

The Bills currently sit in the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC with seven games to play. A win over the Chargers today would certainly improve their chances. To see just how much, we looked at the odds for making the playoffs for NFL teams since 1990 and found a sizable difference between starting the season 6-4 as opposed to 5-5.

If the Bills win today and improve to 6-4, their chances of reaching the playoffs is just over 61 percent. If they lose however, their likelihood of reaching the postseason drops to just over 27 percent. It’s a difference of 34 percent.

Playoff Percentages Since 1990
Based on Season Start, Through 10 Games

Start       Made Playoffs
10-0        100.0% (12/12)
9-1         100.0% (28/28)
8-2         96.6% (56/58)
7-3         82.6% (90/109)
6-4         61.3% (84/137)
5-5         27.6% (35/127)
4-6         8.0% (12/150)
3-7         0.0% (0/93)
2-8         0.0% (0/70)
1-9         0.0% (0/28)
0-10      0.0% (0/9)

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills playoff status flickering

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2016 – 10:11 pm

The Bills can thank the Patriots win over Denver for keeping them alive for another week in the playoff race. At this point Buffalo sits in 11th place in the AFC at 7-7 after their win over Cleveland. Here’s what could eliminate the Bills next week even if they beat the Dolphins.

A win by Baltimore (8-6) this weekend would eliminate the Bills from staying in contention for the final Wild Card spot no matter what the Bills do on Saturday against Miami.

They already cannot catch Kansas City at 10-4 on the year, the current holders of the first Wild Card position. If Baltimore improved to 9-6 in Week 16, the worst they could do is 9-7, which is also the best the Bills can do. The Ravens have the head-to-head tiebreaker on Buffalo.

Now of course the Ravens can still move ahead of the Steelers for the AFC North title. They play each other this week, but in that case Baltimore and Pittsburgh would simply flip roles and it would be the Steelers pushing the Bills out of any possible Wild Card position by virtue of their head to head tiebreaker with Buffalo.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Where Bills stand in playoff race

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2014 – 10:24 am

With Sunday’s win lifting Buffalo to a 7-5 record heading into Week 13, the Bills are on the cusp of the AFC playoff picture. Here’s where things sit prior to the Monday night game between the Jets and Dolphins.

  Team Div Overall Record Head to Head Div Seed (intra-div tie brkr) Conf Record
1 New England East 9-3-0 1 1 6-2-0
2 Denver West 9-3-0 -1 1 7-1-0
3 Cincinnati North 8-3-1 1 5-3-0
4 Indianapolis South 8-4-0 1 6-3-0
5 San Diego West 8-4-0 2 6-3-0
6 Kansas City West 7-5-0 3 5-4-0
7 Buffalo East 7-5-0   2 4-5-0
8 Baltimore North 7-5-0 2 3-5-0
9 Pittsburgh North 7-5-0 3 6-3-0
10 Cleveland North 7-5-0 4 4-5-0
11 Miami East 6-5-0 3 5-3-0
12 Houston South 6-6-0 2 5-3-0

If Miami can beat the Jets tonight they would leapfrog the Bills and Kansas City and take the sixth and final playoff spot and push the Chiefs and Buffalo down to the seventh and eighth positions.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Road ahead daunting in AFC race

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2014 – 9:14 am

There are still nearly a dozen teams still jockeying for position in the AFC playoff picture with five games to play. Here’s where the Bills stand in terms of the quality of opponents they still need to face.

Buffalo has a remaining opponent’s winning percentage of .600 (33-22). That’s the second-highest winning percentage of opponents yet to face among the teams still in the AFC playoff hunt. Here’s a look at where the playoff hopefuls rank in terms of remaining opponent winning percentage.

Team            Remaining win pct.
San Diego       .691 (38-17)
Buffalo            .600 (33-22)
Kansas City    .582 (32-23)
Cincinnati      .564 (31-24)
Cleveland       .564 (30-23-2)
New England .527 (29-26)
Denver             .518 (28-26)
Baltimore        .473 (26-29)
Pittsburgh       .473 (26-29)
Indianapolis   .455 (25-30)
Miami              .436 (24-31)

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not giving in despite .500 mark

Posted by Chris Brown on November 14, 2014 – 1:43 am

The two losses in the span of five days have dropped the Bills to a .500 record on the season at 5-5, and though they put themselves in a deep hole concerning the AFC playoff race no one in Buffalo’s locker room Thursday night was giving up on the season. Not by a long shot.

“We’ve worked too hard and prepared too much during each week so I know no one is going to quit,” said Jerry Hughes. “We’re going to fight until there are zeros on the clock. Everybody fought back. We’ve just got to find ways to just nip the little things in the bud.”

When asked if he still believes the Bills are a playoff team, Hughes quickly answered in the affirmative.

“Absolutely. We have a lot of fight in us. We’re very resilient. We just have to find a way to minimize the little things. It’s the little things that I think are just getting us right now,” said Hughes.

The defensive end didn’t deny that the loss was a costly one, but with six more games to make something happen, Hughes said the key is to not let one game’s outcome affect another.

“Sure it hurts,” he said of the loss to Miami. “It’s a division opponent and that’s our main goal. It definitely hurts and it stings, but we’ve got to bounce back and can’t let it affect the rest of the season.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Schein sees Bills still in Wild Card mix

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2013 – 10:21 am columnist Adam Schein is assessing the AFC playoff race as teams have made the turn down the back half of their regular season schedule. It may surprise some, perhaps many, but he sees the Bills as a team that could make things interesting down the stretch.

Schein points to Buffalo’s seemingly softer schedule as one of his main reasons why he think the Bills can make some other AFC playoff hopefuls nervous. Here’s what he wrote.

Buffalo is two games behind New York in the wild-card race at 3-6. On Sunday, the Bills were in prime position to hand the Chiefs their first loss of the season — if only backup quarterback Jeff Tuel hadn’t been under the impression that Kansas City cornerback Sean Smith played for the Bills. Fortunately, injured starter EJ Manuel was fully cleared to return Monday.

The Bills’ schedule going forward is worth noting. They visit the reeling Steelers in Pittsburgh, then take on the Jets in Buffalo. After a Week 12 bye, Buffalo hosts the wingless Falcons before heading on a two-game road trip to play the dead-in-the-water Bucs and that collection of guys masquerading as an NFL team in Jacksonville. Buffalo finishes with a homer against Dolphins and a roadie versus the Pats. With a dominant defensive line, a healthy C.J. Spiller and three tissue-paper-soft games, could the Bills make things sticky? I think so.


Posted in Inside the Bills
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