Bills showing positive signs despite mixed results

The Buffalo Bills are currently leading the league in consecutive years missing the playoffs. To put into perspective how long that’s been, the last time the Bills made the playoffs, the No.1 song in the country was “Believe” by Cher and The Matrix” was a box office hit.

For die-hard Bills fans, it’s been a miserable 13 years.

Teams throughout the last decade have been uninspired, poorly coached, and unwatchable. Many fans, including myself, have cancelled their season tickets due to pure frustration with the on-field product and poor drafting history.

But recently, the winds of change seem to be blowing over Ralph Wilson Stadium. There are many things to admire about this year’s team.

C.J. Spiller blossomed into an elite running back last year and he has a bright future. Kiko Alonso is among the league leaders in tackles and interceptions. Mario Williams is on pace to set the franchise’s single-season sack record. Buffalo finally drafted a quarterback — EJ Manuel — with its first pick in the draft, and the young coaching staff seems to have instilled a winning mentality.

Nevertheless, the Bills still need work on both sides of the football if they expect to make the playoffs.

Their defense is second in the league in team interceptions, trailing Denver by one, but they are allowing an average of 26.6 points a game.

On offense, Buffalo has scored 20 or more points in every game this season, except for last week in New Orleans.

To climb the standings, Buffalo’s offense will need to reduce the amount of three-and-outs and do a better job on third down.

Practice squad call-up Thad Lewis has been doing a decent job at quarterback. His effort in Miami was admirable. His performance in New Orleans, not so much.

Sure, it is unrealistic to except him to compete against a guy like Drew Brees on the road, but this past Sunday, Lewis clearly showed he isn’t ready to play with the big boys.

Lewis was hit hard and often. He coughed up the ball a number of times and struggled with accuracy at the end of the game.

Inconsistency riddled Buffalo’s offense once again and the run game (minus Spiller, who was out with an injury) was nonexistent.

But besides last week, the Bills have been solid overall.

Uncharacteristically, the Bills are competing in every game. Six of Buffalo’s eight games have been decided by one score or less.

Looking ahead, December’s schedule is in Buffalo’s favor. It plays Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Miami before traveling to New England for the season finale. All are winnable games.

The playoffs are still within reach and this week, the Bills have a favorable matchup, as well.

The Chiefs sit at 8-0 on the year but have struggled the last two weeks, nearly losing to Houston and Cleveland, and the Bills have won five of the last six meetings between the two teams.

Buffalo can hand Kansas City its first loss of the season and spark a flame that could ignite a playoff push.

If the coaching staff can refine some of the recent errors and be more effective on offense, Buffalo will be capable of beating any team in the league.