While the Buffalo Bills currently sit on a 5-4 record that is good enough for the second and final wildcard spot, they are not in the promised land just yet.
They face a Sunday night showdown against the division leading New England Patriots and it is a game the Bills desperately need to win in order to keep ahead of other teams vying for the wildcard spot the franchise currently has in its possession.
The odds are not in the Bills favour, as the Patriots come into this game as an unblemished 9-0 team with a lifetime win record of 11-4 against Rex Ryan coached teams in the regular season.
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Since Rex has arrived in Buffalo, the Bills have been a slight disappointment. While their offence - under the stewardship of Tyrod Taylor - has surprised us, the defence - both Rex Ryan's and the Bills staple in previous years - hasn't matched Rex's early expectation that they would "lead the league in defence."
This was evident in the Patriots-Bills early season clash where the Patriots dropped 40 points against the Bills' supposedly vaunted defence. It is worth noting, though, that the Bills offence also managed to score 32 points.
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An interesting contrast from Rex Ryan's New York Jet days where the usual Patriot-Jets game would be a low-scoring affair decided by a field goal.
The difference since then? Tyrod Taylor.
While I should pump the brakes a little before proclaiming him an elite player, we do need to recognise that he leads the league in completion percentage (70.5) and brings the Bills a run and pass combo that makes them especially dangerous offensively.
The Achilles heel of this team - something I never thought I would say - is their defence.
The firing of Jim Schwartz, in hindsight, was a horrible move. Last year, Schwartz, as the Bills defensive coordinator, had the unit ranked fourth in the league. They also led the league in sacks (54).
This year the Bills are sixteenth in defence and rank twenty-ninth in sacks (14). Talk about going from first to worst.
Obviously, Rex's 3-4 defence does not suit the personnel of the Bills, the statistics prove that. So hoping to slow down Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and whoever the Patriots put out there to replace Edelman, is pointless.
What we can put our faith in is the Bills matching the Patriots score for score with a potent run game, and the calm, effective playmaking skills of Tyrod Taylor.
Do I think each team is capable of dropping 40 on the other? Yes.
While I have faith the Bills will make it interesting, that Tyrod Taylor will have a notable game, and that LeSean McCoy will unload some highlight-reel material on the Patriots, I still have the Patriotswinning.
Their defence is better than the Bills, and they can make crucial stops more than the Bills can.
If the Bills do lose this game, then they will drop their record to 5-5 which will no doubt leave them open to being overtaken by the Raiders, Chiefs and Jets for the wildcard spot.
If they beat the Patriots, it could go down as one of the best upset specials we have seen all year, it will also solidify Buffalo's spot in the playoffs, next to Pittsburgh, with a 6-4 record.
Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bill fans are desperate for this win, not just for the playoffs, but to get revenge on a Patriots team that embarrassed them in week two, and to also upset the Patriots chances of a 16-0 season.
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