There's no debating that Buffalo's last two losses to AFC opponents including division rival Miami were damaging to the Bills' playoff hopes. As troubling as their situation might look to Bills fans, the players know they can't be concerned with what the rest of the AFC clubs jockeying for postseason position are doing down the stretch. They know their sole focus has to be on winning their next game.
"It's probably one of those things in the back of your head. You're hoping that this team loses here, but at the end of the day, we control what we can control," said Chris Hogan. "Every single week we still have to come out and prepare to win a football game. That's the biggest thing for us right now. Don't worry about what's going to happen in the long run. Worry about what's going to happen in the next game, and the next game and the next game, and control what we can control."
Head coach Doug Marrone isn't happy with a .500 record either, but he's far from accepting that his team won't be able to make up the ground they need to reach the postseason.
"We can't count ourselves out. Especially me, I'm never going to count us out, especially this team, because I think we keep getting better every single week," he said. "Obviously we have a lot of stuff to work on. There's still a lot of football to be played and a lot of games to be won. We just have to keep preparing and try to keep getting better."
Veteran Corey Graham, who has been on playoff teams and Super Bowl winning teams, doesn't dismiss the detrimental effect their last two outings have had on their playoff goals. Lamenting the missed opportunities in the games that have been played however, pale in importance to the next game on Buffalo's schedule.
"It (stinks) especially when you lose two games you feel you should win," Graham said. "To lose to Kansas City and go to Miami and lose to Miami it (stinks). Obviously we're mad about that, but we can't get that back. All we can worry about is what we have next and go out there and ball and find a way to get victories."
Graham, who will be taking on a starting cornerback role in the wake of Leodis McKelvin's fractured ankle, believes paper shooting and banking on other teams to help them in the standings is fool's gold.
"If it falls into place, it falls into place," he said. "All we can do is go out there and try to win the games that we play. We can't control what other teams do. It'd be pretty foolish to sit and think about it and try to see what has to happen and all those things. If it works out great then it is what it is and we'll be happy. Hopefully it works out smooth for us, but we've just got to win. That's the most important thing. If we don't win games it doesn't really matter what anybody else does."
Jerry Hughes admitted that the latest defeat at the hands of the Dolphins hurt, but his belief that the Bills are a playoff caliber team is unchanged.
"We have a lot of fight in us," he said. "We're very resilient. We've got to bounce back and can't let it affect the rest of the season."
The Bills know their formula for the postseason is pretty straightforward. At 5-5 the Bills have to start winning and then keep winning. But Mario Williams had a simple answer for the ground the Bills have to make up in the last month and a half of the season.
"Go make it up," he said.