Photo By: Adrian Curiel from Unsplash

Panic button Bills

After last week’s embarrassing home loss to the New England Patriots, the Bills took a trip down to Raymond James Stadium this week for a face-off against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. In what should have been a clash of two dominant teams, the Bills came out flatter than one of Brady’s footballs circa 2015, and got trounced 24-3 in the first half. A late push in the fourth quarter afforded the Bills new life in overtime, only to see the Bucs close the door with a walk-off touchdown, a 58 yard strike from Brady to Breshad Perriman. 

After finishing 13-3 atop the AFC East last year, Buffalo has struggled to regain their old form, even with minimal roster changes. QB Josh Allen, despite still being in the upper echelon of signal callers, has once again shown his struggles with pass accuracy, and has already eclipsed his interception total from last year. Part of this is because Allen has been pressured much more frequently by opposing defenses. The almost complete lack of a run game has also severely limited the Bills on offense. 

The Bills now carry a two game losing streak into their week 15 matchup with the Carolina Panthers, and are in legitimate danger of missing the playoffs in a conference loaded with above average teams. Based on their remaining schedule (Panthers, Pats, Falcons, Jets), Buffalo should be favored to pick up at least three more wins, but if this season has proven anything, it’s that nothing can be guaranteed. 

Watch out for the Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs pummeled the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, delivering a 48-9 beatdown on their division rivals. KC has now ripped off six wins in a row after starting the season at a shaky 3-4. Patrick Mahomes looked steady in the blowout win, finishing with an 83.3 completion percentage and two touchdowns. Mahomes found pass-catching back Darrel Williams for a TD, and the newly added Josh Gordon for another, while running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Derrick Gore added three rushing touchdowns. It’s impressive that the Chiefs were able to put up almost 50 points without having to rely too heavily on Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, or even Mecole Hardman for that matter. 

The defensive side of the ball has been a bright spot for the Chiefs during this winning streak, as they haven’t allowed more than 20 points from an opponent since week eight’s blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans. In fact, it really has been a tale of two seasons for the Chiefs. In weeks one through eight, they gave up an average of 25 points per game, and since then have only been allowing 11 per game. 

The Chiefs now sit at 9-4 and are climbing to the top of the AFC standings. Kansas City, along with the Patriots, have been the most consistent teams in the conference over the last month and a half, and their exclusively in-conference schedule for the rest of the year (Chargers, Steelers, Bengals, Broncos) will be an interesting test. All four of their remaining opponents are fighting for playoff positions, but if the Chiefs can dispatch of them relatively easily and ride that momentum into January, they could be looking at a third straight Super Bowl appearance. Also, the Raiders are terrible and it doesn’t look like they have any kind of game plan any week. They drop to 6-7 on the year and likely won’t be a factor in the playoff push. 

Tom Brady’s resumé grows longer

Tom Brady is the greatest of all time, at this point there shouldn’t be any debate of that. The 43 year old QB added to his list of statistical milestones this week, passing Drew Brees for the all-time record for passing completions. This adds to his list of all-time records for passing touchdowns and passing yards, forming what looks like an untouchable triple crown.

Brady is showing no signs of slowing down, and has been quoted as saying he’d happily play into his late 40s if he is able. Brady’s critics and haters, similar to LeBron James’ detractors, need to consider that average retirement ages will likely continue to climb in all major sports as athlete supports and technology continue to advance. 

All this being said, Brady right now appears to be the de facto favorite for this season’s MVP award. Through 13 games, Brady has thrown for 4134 passing yards (on pace to break his personal single season record) and 36 touchdowns, compared to only 10 interceptions. What’s more is that Brady’s Bucs have now moved into a first-place tie in the NFC at 10-3. Brady has been the best QB in the league this year, and the other would-be contenders have significant holes in their MVP cases. 

Kyler Murray looked like the runaway favorite early on, but then missed extended time due to injury. Josh Allen may have been the pre-season pick, but the Bills are floundering to a record barely over .500. Derrick Henry was acting as the RB representative in MVP talks for most of the year, but now he’s likely to miss the whole second half of the season. Jonathan Taylor took his place, but has a handful of inconsistencies going against him. Other fringe candidates such as Mahomes, Dak Prescott or Justin Herbert would need herculean efforts to wrap up the season in MVP contention.

It’s really just Brady and Aaron Rodgers at the top, and Rodgers doesn’t have quite the yardage or TD numbers that Brady boasts. So in a year “without an MVP” why not just give it to who everyone knows is still the best QB in the league?