Buffalo Bills: 3 things they need to do to clinch playoff spot

Buffalo Bills celebrate a touchdown by Robert Foster #16 during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills celebrate a touchdown by Robert Foster #16 during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills are in playoff contention. in order to keep pace amid a very difficult upcoming schedule, they must continue to do three things.

The Buffalo Bills are 7-3 for the first time in 20 years.

After Sunday’s offensive showcase against the Miami Dolphins, the Bills remain in the top spot in the AFC Wild Card race. Can you feel it, Bills Mafia?

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Buffalo has a lot of things going for them at the moment. Their defense remains top caliber. Josh Allen is steadily improving, with 8 passing TD, 4 rushing TD and 0 interceptions over his last 5 games. Both Devin Singletary and Frank Gore have shown that they’re capable backs. However, one thing isn’t in Buffalo’s favour: the rest of their schedule.

The Bills are about to embark on a final six-game stretch that will test all aspects of their game. Three of their next 6 games are against division leaders in the Cowboys, Ravens and Patriots, two of which are road games.

Here are three things the Bills need to do for the rest of their schedule in order to make the playoffs:

Stay hungry on defense, all while staying disciplined

The Bills currently rank third in the NFL in total defense (YPG) at 304.1. They also rank fourth in least amount of penalties taken at just 62. It’s imperative that they continue this pace for the tough part of their schedule. If you’re an undisciplined squad, teams like Dallas and Baltimore will make you pay. Every inch matters in the upcoming schedule and the last thing the Bills need to do is hand out free yardage, especially with the quality of talent on the other side of the field.

Lorenzo Alexander needs to remain a leader on defense, while the defensive line needs to stay aggressive like they were in Sunday’s game against Miami. They rank 26th in total sacks, but Sunday’s game vs Miami was a step in the right direction as Ed Oliver and Star Lotulelei registered a sack each. They also stopped the rush, allowing zero rushing yards in the first half. They say that defense wins championships, and the Bills are buying into that moniker at the moment.

Keep pounding the rock

The Bills currently rank eighth in the NFL in rushing yards with 128.7. Devin Singletary and Frank Gore have both done a fantastic job of providing reliable carries to supplement the running ability of QB Josh Allen.

Frank Gore ranks 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt with 4.0. He’s ahead of James Conner, Austin Ekeler and Devonta Freeman, for reference. Devin Singletary only has 63 rushing attempts, but he’s made the most of them with 6.1 rushing yards per attempt.

The Bills offense has given a ton of opportunities to their backs so far, so Gore and Singletary need to stay healthy and keep pulling their weight for Buffalo to contend in upcoming weeks.

Josh Allen must take care of the football

The second-year quarterback ranks 14th in the NFL in most interceptions thrown, with 17. He also has 11 fumbles on the year, already eclipsing last season’s total of 8. While his numbers are steadily improving and he’s shown real flashes of stardom, as he did today, he’s had issues holding onto the football. Similar to penalties, this is something that will catch up to the young quarterback when he takes on Baltimore and New England’s high-powered defenses.

He’s having less success rushing the football than last year, which explains his higher passing statistics. He also has some nice weapons in John Brown and Cole Beasley. If Allen trusts his receivers and is more cognizant of protecting the football down the stretch, the Bills will be in business.

As the Bills continue on their conquest to the playoffs, teams that they’re competing with in the AFC Wild Card race include the Colts (6-4), Texans (6-4), Steelers (5-5), Titans (5-5) and the Raiders (6-4).

If the Bills focus on what’s put them in this position thus far, they can certainly power themselves into the playoffs.

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What do you think the Bills need to do to clinch a playoff spot?  How do you think the season ends? Let us know in the comments below.