Seventeen years. The Buffalo Bills have not been to the playoffs since Bill Clinton was still in office, "Friends" was the No. 1 comedy on TV, YouTube and Facebook had yet to be invented and Netflix was a company that mailed you DVDs in the mail.
Will North America's longest playoff drought in pro sports come to an end in 2017? Or are the Bills destined to go 7-9 like in 2016 and sit out the playoffs during another cold winter in Western New York? Let's break it down.
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|Projected wins||In playoffs||Win division||Conference||Super Bowl|
SportsLine projects the Bills to at least replicate their 7-9 season from 2016 but sees virtually no path to beating out the Patriots and winning the AFC East. A fortunate break or two during the regular season could put a playoff spot within reach.
|Win total||Playoffs||Division||Conference||Super Bowl|
|6.5 (O -130)||+450||15/1||40/1||80/1|
All odds via Westgate.
Setting the win total at 6.5 seems a bit low for a team that showed last year amid constant turmoil that it could go 7-9 and deliver consistently on offense, and bettors have agreed, as you can see above. If the Bills are going to get it done, it better happen early, as they have both games against the Patriots scheduled for December along with two against the Dolphins, who have proven to be no pushover.
John Breech defends his 8-8 prediction:
Someone has to be the second best team in the AFC East, so why not the Bills? Sometimes it's easy to forget that this team got off to a 4-2 start last season.
Unfortunately for everyone in Buffalo, the season slipped away thanks in large part to a Rex Ryan defensive scheme that confused his players. By hiring a defensive coach like Sean McDermott to lead the team, I fully expect the Bills to improve on that side of that ball, which should make them just good enough to add at least one win to their 2016 victory total.
On the offensive side of the ball, if the Bills can actually stay healthy -- I'm looking at you, Sammy Watkins -- then Buffalo might be able to contend for a wild-card berth.