OPINION: Is it okay to want more?

How much more should we expect out of this Bills team heading into the second half of the season?

The level of enjoyment you can take out of the Buffalo Bills' 24-21 win over the helpless New England Patriots on Sunday really depends on your preseason expectations of the 2020 version of this team.

If you started the season thinking you’d be pretty happy with a playoff win, maybe a division title with Tom Brady heading south and a clearer picture of who Josh Allen is as a quarterback, you’re probably reminding folks on Twitter that, “it’s very hard to win football games in the NFL.” That, or you’re calling in to radio shows to remind listeners of an old Bill Parcells or Vince Lombardi quote.

But what if you raised the bar after 2019? What if you watched their unraveling against the Houston Texans – a game in which they should have won – and decided that you wouldn’t get overly excited about games the Bills should win any longer?

Beating that Patriots team on Sunday to finally bury them for good was an important moment for the Bills. In the grand scheme, it didn’t matter how they did it. They just needed a find a way to win and they did. For that, I’m thankful.

But do not confuse my gratitude for confidence.

Needing a last-second play from a fringe roster player to beat a team without their two best offensive weapons and the best corner in football, coming off the biggest loss in the Bellichick era simply didn’t strike the chord I’d hoped finally beating the Patriots would do.

No, I wasn’t looking for a blowout on Sunday, so we can just get that out of the way now.

Cam Newton had looked completely cooked since his hot start to the season. The Patriots dressed one tight end and their injury report was longer than their defensive playbook. Yet, it really felt like the Bills got lucky on Sunday. That the fate of that game rested in the hands of Newton and the Patriots, and the Bills finally found themselves on the other side of a lucky bounce.

Maybe that’s what I should focus on this week – the tides turning in the direction of the Bills.

They finally seem to have lifted the curse that reigned over Bills Stadium for two decades. So many seasons ended in heartbreak, and in years past, Newton and that offense score and walk off the field victorious while Bills fans pick up the pieces of what they thought could be a division title run.

I guess where I’m struggling the most is it feels like the team this year is no better or worse than they were in 2019. They’ve taken a noticeably clear step forward on offense, but maybe three steps back on defense. There’s a good chance that by season's end, all of that will be meaningless if they win enough football games, but it’s not going to be easy.

They won’t have the luxury of playing Duck Hodges, Dwayne Haskins or Brandon Allen in the final stretch this season like they did in 2019. In fact, the Bills have one of the most difficult remaining schedules in football.

Luckily, that means they’re going to have an opportunity to prove people, like me, wrong, and I welcome that idea with open arms. But forgive me for not having the confidence that this team will be able to stay on the field with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks next week after what we watched on Sunday. Frankly, after what we’ve watched for the past month, not just last week.

So, regardless of how you feel after Sunday’s lucky win, it feels like there’s almost no time to celebrate.

The Miami Dolphins appear to have turned a corner and find themselves two games back of the Bills with a notably easier remaining schedule. For those of you assuming they’re walking away with a division title, even with a game at hand, you’re in for a rude awakening.

I’m not sure how to evaluate the 2020 Bills. I know they win the games they’re supposed to, but can they beat good football teams in games that matter? After losing to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills are now 3-17 against playoff teams in the Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane era.

Over the next nine weeks, the Bills will, maybe, play three teams they should beat, which gets them only to nine wins. After watching the Dolphins on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, I’m not totally convinced that’s enough to take the AFC East.

But the great news is, the NFL is a week-to-week league and the Bills have several matchups on the horizon to prove to the league that they’re a team to be feared.

It starts this upcoming Sunday against the likely MVP favorite in Wilson and the Seahawks. If they’re able to go head-to-head with Seattle and come out victorious, I’m singing a notably different tune.

Until then, I’ll cautiously enjoy this two-game lead in the division because the last time they held at least a three-game lead over the Patriots in the division, I wasn’t even in kindergarten yet.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Jamie Germano - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle via USA TODAY Sports