Remember those frightening times when Bills fans would be looking forward to week 17 to evaluate the different Bills players heading into the offseason? The times when the Bills were eliminated from playoff contention heading into the final week was depressing. Seeing as how the team would not play postseason football. That is certainly not the case this season.
Rather than preparing for the offseason, the Buffalo Bills (10-5) are preparing for the playoffs after this coming Sunday’s game hosting the New York Jets (6-9). With a 24-17 loss against the New England Patriots, the Bills solidified themselves as the number five seed heading into the playoffs where they will either take on the Houston Texans or Kansas City Chiefs. First, the Bills have one more regular season game against the Jets.
The Bills won the first matchup between these two teams where the Bills came back from a 16-0 deficit to win 17-16 in MetLife. The two teams went in different directions this season from week one. The Bills went on to win ten games, get into the playoffs and compete with the top teams they could see in the playoffs. The Jets on the other hand, they dealt with ugly losses this season that was mixed in with drama throughout the season.
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With this game being held in Orchard Park, the Bills will more than likely play their final game of the season at home, unless both the Bills and whoever takes the sixth seed in the playoffs make it to the AFC championship game. It’s obvious that a team wants to win every game possible, but even if the Bills do indeed lose this game, the loss means nothing to them and they cannot go up or down in the playoff rankings.
Matt Barkley and Company
You never want to play your starters in the final week if you are already playoff bound. The Bills have not clinched a playoff spot before week 17 this century. They have the luxury of benching their starters and not losing out on anything. Expect quarterback Matt Barkley and most of the backups to play a majority of this game. We could very well see players that have been either benched or inactive suit up and get a couple drives in.
The last time the Bills faced the Jets with Barkley in the game, the Bills smacked the Jets in the mouth with a 41-10 victory back in week ten last season. Imagine if that happens again, seeing as how the Jets are already on sharp edge within the organization.
If I had to guess, I would expect wide receiver Duke Williams make an appearance and hit the field. He has not been active for the team since week five against the Titans where he scored the game-winning touchdown for the Bills.