OPINION: Bills getting closer to winning first AFC East title in 25 years

The team needs to close it out over the final six games

I want you to think back to 1995 for a moment. Yes, it was a long time ago.

Some of you reading this maybe can’t think back that far. You might be thinking to yourself, “I wasn’t even born yet.” Some of you were alive but barely remember anything because you were still bouncing around in the crib and spitting up milk.

For me, it was my last year at Syracuse University. I was a cocky 22-year-old kid who thought I knew everything. Well, that was on the outside. On the inside, I was scared to death about going out into the real world and trying to find a job and become a real adult.

Let me tell you some other things that were happening in 1995.

The Academy Award for Best Picture that year was Forrest Gump. Some songs atop the music charts included "Gangsta’s Paradise" by Coolio, "Waterfalls" and "Creep" by TLC. On the rock side, it was "Lightning Crashes" by Live, Pearl Jam’s "Better Man", and Green Day's "When I Come Around".

Remember those? Good times.

Price of gas in 1995 was $1.09. Some notable newsworthy events? How about the O.J. Simpson verdict that came down in October. What about Michael Jordan's comeback to the Chicago Bulls after being retired for about a year-and-a-half.

It was a long time ago.

In fact, it was a quarter century ago. 25 years.

Why am I bringing it up?

That’s the last time the Buffalo Bills won the AFC East. It’s also the last time the Bills won a playoff game.

It was a good year to be a Bills fan, not a great year, considering they were just two years removed from going to their fourth straight Super Bowl. But this isn’t about winning a playoff game, yet. It’s about the division.

After Sunday‘s games and results, the Bills are in as good of a position to win their division this far into a season as they have been in a quarter century.

To use a movie analogy, this one from 1990 - the year of the Bills' first trip to the Super Bowl, it’s like Die Hard 2, when they were trying to land the planes as Bruce Willis was lighting the runway on fire to give the pilots a better look. Well, the runway’s been lit, the smoke is clearing, and now head coach Sean McDermott and his crew have to navigate the landing.

That landing is not going to be easy.

The next six games for this team present plenty of challenges, starting Sunday with a terrific young rookie quarterback in Justin Herbert and some sensational wide receivers with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Then it’s a Monday Night Football matchup in San Francisco against a 49ers team that we don’t know who will be healthy and who won’t. They’ve been Jekyll-and-Hyde this year. It’s also a long West Coast trip out there, too.

Then it’s back to Buffalo against, what’s currently, an undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers team on Sunday Night Football.

That's followed by another long trip left for a game against the Broncos in Denver that might be shown to the entire country on a Saturday.

Then it’s another Monday Night Football in Foxboro against the New England Patriots. How sweet would that be? A chance to clinch the division on the field of the team that’s owned it for the last two decades? And in prime time, on national television, no less.

If you’ve been listening to me for the last few weeks, or just following me on Twitter, you know I’ve never believed the Miami Dolphins could sustain winning the way they had been - with a struggling offense and relying on a defense and special teams to make big plays and even to score points. They aren’t as good as the Bills.

After Miami's 20-13 loss to the Broncos on Sunday, the Bills have a full one-game lead on them, plus have already beaten them head-to-head.

The Patriots started to get things together a little bit, but they just aren’t that good, either. The Bills now have a three-game lead on them in the standings, plus a head-to-head win.

This is on the Bills now. If they don’t win the AFC East, it won’t be because the Dolphins or Patriots suddenly found the magic formula to become invincible. It would have to be coupled with the Bills not taking care of their own business and finishing what they started.

Outside of the Steelers' 10-0 record, the combined record of the Bills' remaining five other opponents is 21-29.

They need to close this out.

25 years. A quarter century. It’s all right there.

We’re ready. Now we’ll see if they are.

Follow me on Twitter: @SalSports

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