Any scenario involving the Bills breaking their 15 year playoff drought begins tonight with a win in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This will be a homecoming for Rex Ryan and the biggest test of his progression thus far as head coach. The stakes couldn't be any higher facing off against his former team. A victory puts the Bills at 5-4 and gives them an edge in a potential tiebreaking scenario that could be a huge factor when they face the Jets again in Week 17. A loss does the opposite and forces Buffalo to win at least 5 of their last 7 games to keep even a mathematical hope alive for the playoffs. Not to mention it would be a blow to the psyche of a coach and team that has yet to find consistency 10 weeks into this season.
While last week's game against the Dolphins was enjoyable, it didn't exactly leave anyone brimming with confidence. The offense put together their best game of the season, but the defense allowed Ryan Tannehill (who botched a snap for a safety for the second straight week) to throw over 300 yards while also giving up 100 yards on the ground. Lord knows we'll take a win every way we can get it, but the team faces much stiffer competition this week against the New York Jets. Their running game has been lacking lately, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is arguably a better quarterback than Tannehill and Brandon Marshall is indisputably one of the best wide receivers the Bills will face this season. If the defense continues to give quarterbacks enough time to read a book and find an open man, there is no season-scenario involving a trip to the playoffs.
Of course, none of the above is what anyone's talking about this week. All anyone can talk about is Rex Ryan. And that is totally by his design. While fans of any team he coaches for will have to put up with bad flags and questionable strategies, we don't lack for entertainment along the way. This week has been no different. From wearing a Clemson helmet to a Q&A to naming IK"Oed Geno's Jaw" Enemkpali a captain, Rex is doing everything in his power to take the weight of this game and put it all on himself. And that's exactly why guys like playing for him. The players know if they win, he'll let them steal the headlines for the rest of this week. If they lose, he'll keep all of the blame on his shoulders. It might not always be effective, but at least it's fun.