It seems like the Bills are being overlooked in the Super Bowl chase
Would anyone even notice if the Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions, began the 2023 regular season with a 3-1 record that included three blowout victories?
No, but that’s only natural.
As for the Miami Dolphins, I’d say it’s pretty natural that folks are noticing them. After all, not only are the Dolphins 3-1, but they’ve posted an impressive 150 points through four games–including 70 in a win over Denver in Week 3. Miami hasn’t really been relevant for quite a while, and it’s always sexy to pump up the new fish (mammals, whatever) with Lombardi hype.
We wanted to fly with the Jets to the next Super Bowl, that is until Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1.
Over in the NFC, the 49ers, undefeated through four games, may be the perfect blend of coaching and weaponry the NFL currently has to offer. San Francisco takes on the Cowboys this week on Sunday Night Football. Dallas is Dallas. America’s Team. The hype. The pomp. The circumstance. The ratings. And, this year, the plethora of talent. The Cowboys are 3-1, and outside of a hiccup vs. Arizona in Week 3, look to have their best squad in ages. If Dallas can defeat the 49ers, one of its traditional rivals and an organization that also boasts five Lombardi trophies, it could lay the groundwork for an epic rematch in the NFC Championship Game a few months down the road.
Also, you can’t forget about the Eagles, the defending NFC Champions and a team that was only a play (or call) or two away from winning Super Bowl LVII a year ago. Philadelphia is 4-0 and in first place in the NFC East. Before Dallas can plan any Super Bowl trips, it will first have to survive its own division and outlast a high-flying juggernaut that resides in the City of Brotherly Love.
Last but not least–and I can’t believe I’m mentioning them–the Lions, the new monsters of the midway (NFC North, whatever). That’s right, 65 years after Bobby Layne’s 50-year championship curse, the Lions, who have mostly acted like kittens asleep under professional football’s porch since Layne was traded away in 1958, have roared back to life under the leadership of head coach Dan Campbell. Detroit is 3-1, super-talented, and looks primed to do more than just purr in the 2023/2024 NFL postseason.
That brings me to the main topic of this article: The Bills.
How could I have gone almost 400 words without mentioning the subject in the headline of my article? Because I think it’s fitting. Why? Buffalo has looked every bit as dominant and talented as any team I just mentioned, only nobody is really pumping this squad up.
Kansas City, the defending champion, has been quite ordinary despite its 3-1 record. People have noticed the Chiefs’ sluggish start, but they’re still favored by the oddsmakers to at least make it to another Super Bowl. The Bills actually look more talented and dominant than Kansas City has, thus far, so why aren’t they the current favorites to make it out of the AFC?
The Dolphins might be young, talented and 3-1, but Buffalo just stomped them, 48-20, at Highmark Stadium last Sunday.
The 49ers, Cowboys and Eagles may be national teams with rabid and passionate fans, but the Bills’ fans–nicknamed the Bills Mafia–are certainly just as passionate, even if they are more regional.
And, yes, the Lions’ sad-sack history is endearing, but what about Buffalo’s extensive playoff drought that began not long after the organization lost four straight Super Bowls in the early ’90s?
Because of their history and talent, people should really be hyping up this 2023 Bills team, but they’re not.
The fact is, the Bills were the sexy and sympathetic pick as recently as last year. Coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss at Kansas City in the divisional round of the 2021/2022 postseason, Buffalo opened up the 2022 regular season by stampeding the Rams, the defending Super Bowl champions, in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, despite looking the part while posting a 13-3 regular-season record, the Bills seemed listless in a 27-10 loss at home to Cincinnati in the divisional round.
The Bills lost in the AFC Championship Game at Kansas City following the 2020 regular season. They lost that thriller at Arrowhead Stadium in the divisional round one year later. Now, they lose in the same round, only in less-than-thrilling fashion, 12 months after that?
It seems like Buffalo’s Super Bowl arc is going the way of Benjamin Button and aging in reverse.
Maybe that’s why nobody is talking about the Bills all that much after four weeks of the 2023 regular season. I mean, they’re clearly contenders, but perhaps there’s a bit of a reluctance to believe in them this time.
It’s a shame, too, because the offense is more than capable, led by quarterback Josh Allen. Allen certainly has enough firepower at his disposal, led by receiver Stefon Diggs. For all of the talk of the Dolphins’ potent attack, Buffalo has posted just 11 points less through four games. Furthermore, while Miami’s defense has yielded 119 points, the Bills’ unit has given up a mere 55, for an average of 13.8 points per game.
After suffering an ugly Week-1 overtime loss to a fired-up Jets team at MetLife Stadium on September 11, Buffalo has blown out the Raiders at home, 38-10; the Commanders on the road, 37-3; and the Dolphins at home, 48-20.
The Bills have the talent, they have a well-respected head coach in Sean McDermott. The Bills appear to be every bit the Super Bowl contender that they’ve been the past few years.
I guess Buffalo is suffering from the fool me once, fool me twice, etc. phenomenon.
Perhaps this will finally be the year for the Bills. Maybe, instead of stampeding the field, Buffalo can simply sneak up on it.