Buffalo Bills' ceiling remains high despite middling record

Don't be fooled by the Bills' record at 6-6. The floor might be lower than expected, but the ceiling is still there.

Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles
Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The Buffalo Bills have endured an unexpectedly tough season so far in 2023. From devastating injuries to questionable calls that haven't worked out to unexpected roster weaknesses surfacing, the Bills haven't taken it to their opponents the way most predicted coming into another year. Instead, the Bills have struggled to stay afloat in a crowded AFC and they currently sit at 6-6 with 5 to play.

Oh yeah, their next two games are against the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys.

If the Bills want to punch their postseason ticket, they're going to have to come up with some big wins down the stretch and one of those in their sights is a road victory at Arrowhead Stadium. What should we expect to see from them on Sunday afternoon? We recently asked Bills editor Ronnie Eastman to tell us more about the season so far and what he's watching for this weekend.

Before the season, it's hard to imagine anyone thought the Bills would be sitting with 6 losses in 12 games. What's been the most shocking factor working against the Bills' success this year?

Great question but you can’t just isolate one thing. I think some of Coach McDermott’s decisions haven’t worked out but you know what they say about hindsight. If his calls worked out, no one is questioning him. Also, the injuries on the defensive side have been big but ultimately it’s been the turnovers that have doomed this team in a few games.

Which injured player has the team missed the most?

Another great question and tough but between Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones, I gotta go Jones. The team misses Milano but Dodson and Bernard have played well in his absence. As of a couple of weeks ago, Dodson was the highest-rated LB per PFF. But Jones was playing at an All-Pro level and the combo of him and Oliver were absolutely dominant and formed one of the best interiors in the league. The team needs that run-stopping, pocket-collapsing presence that was Jones.

Even at 6-6, would you say the Bills internally still believe the same ceiling is still there for the taking or does that feel out of reach?

I think the Bills absolutely believe they can accomplish their goals. Everything is still within their reach: playoffs, division title, and even the Super Bowl.

So you think the national narrative for the Bills might be underestimating them at this stage?

Absolutely. This team is capable of beating any team in the league. I’m not saying they’ll go on a 5-game winning streak to close out the regular season, but they are capable of doing so. But on the flip side, based on how things have gone so far, they could lose all 5 too. We’ve seen this team close out seasons on a tear, and this team is capable of doing it too.

If you look back and see the Bills beat the Chiefs on Sunday, what would you say would be the most likely reason?

Protection. The Chiefs are fourth or something in sacks. If the Bills line can protect Allen, I think he will be able to find his weapons—Diggs, Kincaid, and Shakir—and move the ball. The Chiefs defense is their strength this season and it starts with Chris Jones and that defensive front. Keep Allen upright and I think the Bills can score just enough for the win.