The Buffalo Bills can clinch the AFC East division for the first time since 1995 with a road win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday at Empower Field at Mile High. Yes, it’s that simple. Beat the Broncos, and the Bills earn their first division title in a quarter-century.
Because winning a division title would mean that much more in Buffalo, after having to look up at the New England Patriots in the standings for the last two decades, head coach Sean McDermott’s message echoes the simplicity of clinching the division, just beat the Broncos.
Buffalo doesn’t need any outside help to clinch this week. No team needs to beat the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots don’t have to lose one more time. There’s no discussion of tiebreakers; no Bills’ logo included in the "in the hunt" graphics on game broadcasts, no race with other AFC teams for a wild card spot.
Stay focused on the current opponent and win. That’s always been McDermott’s message. While the game has a bit higher of stakes this week, that message remains the same.
The Bills have looked like a rejuvenated group since coming out of the bye week. Buffalo has won three-consecutive games since the week off, including back-to-back victories on prime-time television. Defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football last weekend (for the second year in a row), could be a huge boost for the Bills heading into the final weeks, but they can’t afford to overlook a Denver team that is believed to be better than its 5-8 record says.
With the game on Saturday changing the Bills routine this week, McDermott joined Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Thursday morning for his weekly appearance on WGR. He touched on the upcoming matchup with Denver, John Brown’s eventual return from injured reserve, and more.
Here is some of what he had to say:
McDermott on Josh Allen and the offense’s strong second half against Pittsburgh:
“That was good to see. You don’t always have your fastball and we didn’t have ours early in the game. But, adjustments were made, mindset was reset, and the guys came out and executed at a high level.”
McDermott on keeping the players focused on Denver and not clinching the division:
“Let’s acknowledge the truth, I think it’s pretty cool we have that opportunity, and what an honor it is. That said we have to focus on a good Denver Broncos team. They have to win to make the playoffs, so they’ll be urgent in their approach. It’s a good team. Records don’t matter in the NFL as I’ve said before. So, we’ve got to prepare ourselves to play at a high level.”
McDermott on the defense building chemistry and improving throughout the season:
“If you know each other off the field, it makes playing on the field that much easier; but you still need time together on the field, it’s not a direct substitute. Both combined, having that continuity, being around one another, spending time together, knowing how ‘you’re going to play this’ or how ‘I’m going to play that,’ just going through those experiences together I think bodes well.”
McDermott on Broncos’ quarterback Drew Lock:
“He’s got a strong arm and he’s been very hot as of late. He had, I think, his career-best game last week against Carolina. I think he sees the field well. He’s mobile and can extend plays and throw the ball down the field, so we’ll have our hands full.”
You can listen to the entire interview below: