Many experts had tipped the Bills as to have a season to remember. With the likes of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs in their ranks, it’s easy to see why. However, it hasn’t been plain sailing. In game week three, the New York state-based franchise fell to a surprising 21-19 defeat to Tua Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins.
Since then, however, they have gone from strength to strength. So much so, in fact, that OddsChecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on the NFL, has made Sean McDermott’s side the outright favorites to lift the Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LVII. And in game week six, they showed the world why.
Their trip to Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs was expected to be a difficult hurdle to clear. The Bills entered the fixture as slight favorites, but many thought the experience in the Chiefs’ ranks, as well as the 75,000-strong crowd at the Arrowhead Stadium, would be too much for the visitors to handle. And it looked as though those doubters would be proved right when JuJu Smith-Schuster raced into the end zone to give the hosts an early lead.
But this Bills side is made of sterner stuff. The visitors roared back with Gabe Davis and Diggs receiving touchdowns before the Chiefs once again took the lead late on thanks to a touchdown from Mecole Hardman and Harrison Butker’s field goal early in the fourth. The Chiefs know how to see out big games. They have reached the conference championships in each of the last four seasons, and nobody would have been surprised to see them hold on for a narrow victory. Not on Adams’ watch, though.
The brilliant quarterback – who threw for 318 yards as well as numerous rushes that we have become accustomed to – found Dawson Knox in the end zone with just 64 seconds remaining on the clock. That gave the Bills the lead, and an uncharacteristic mistake from Mahomes resulted in an interception on the Chiefs’ final play, allowing the visitors to see out the game and secure a priceless victory.
Putting to rest the ghosts of the 90s
For years, fans of the Bills have only known heartbreak. And in recent years, no one has inflicted more pain on them than the Kansas City Chiefs. Last season, it was Mahomes and the Chiefs that consigned them to an overtime defeat in the divisional round of the playoffs. The year before, it was once again the Kansas-based franchise that defeated them in the conference championship, stopping the Bills from reaching their first Super Bowl since 1993.
But those recent heartbreaks are nothing compared to those of the early 90s. Between 1990 and 1993, the Bills lost FOUR consecutive Super Bowls. Some two decades ago, they were defeated by the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, and twice by the Dallas Cowboys. No franchise has ever matched that unwanted record and they remain the team to have lost the most world championship games without lifting the Lombardi Trophy. They will be hoping that they can put that right next February.
Could the Philadelphia Eagles stop the Bills in their tracks?
One franchise that may offer up some competition to the Bills is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Pennsylvania-based side is currently the only perfect team remaining in the NFL following their victory at home to the Dallas Cowboys. They are currently 6-0 and look as though they will take some stopping. And it’s a run that has taken many by surprise.
The Eagles haven’t been particularly impressive in recent years. In two of the last three seasons, they have fallen in the playoffs’ wildcard round. They were defeated 31-15 by Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and in 2019 it was Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks that put them to the sword. They did go all the way to glory the year prior to that, however, defeating the New England Patriots in Minneapolis to secure their maiden world championship. In 2023, they are looking to add another Lombardi to their collection, and it looks as though the Bills may be the only ones able to stop them.
At 6-0, the Eagles currently have the best chance of completing a perfect regular season for the first time since the New England Patriots back in 2008. 14 years ago, Tom Brady and co. went 16-0 en route to the playoffs. They defeated all who stood before them until they ran into Eli Manning and his New York Giants, who stunned their more illustrious opponents 17-14 at Super Bowl XLII.
Funnily enough, the Super Bowl that year was held in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona – the same stadium that hosts February’s championship game. Could history be about to repeat itself? Could we see the Eagles remain perfect up until the big game, only to fall at the hands of the Bills? Only time will tell.
Who are the other contenders?
Right now, the Bills and the Eagles appear to be head and shoulders above the rest. Last season’s Super Bowl contestants – the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals – appear to be lagging behind the lofty standards they set for themselves last season. Both franchises currently have records of 3-3, and they need to find further victories in order to send a message to the rest of the league.
In recent years, it has been the Bucs and the Chiefs that have dominated the playoffs landscape. And the pair can never be ruled out. Mahomes and co. proved in their battling – albeit losing – effort against the Bills that they aren’t too far off the pace. They may still come into their stride as the season progresses. The same can be said for Tom Brady’s side. Tampa Bay also has a record of 3-3, and it has been at the Raymond James Stadium where they have struggled the most, losing in two of their three home ties against the Chiefs and Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers.