1. Analytics site assesses Buffalo's AFC East title odds
Popular statistics and analytics site TheFiveThirtyEight.com has determined that Buffalo's Week 8 win over New England has put the Bills firmly in the driver's seat for the AFC East title. Now at 6-2 with a perfect 4-0 record against division opponents, 'TheFiveThirtyEight' offered this assessment for Buffalo's division title hopes.
After beating the New England Patriots at home in Week 8, the Buffalo Bills now have an 85 percent chance of winning the AFC East. If it ends up happening, it would mark the first time the Bills took first place in their division since 1995, a 25-year gap that trails only the Browns and Lions among active droughts.
In order to improve those division title odds 'TheFiveThirtyEight' models point to Buffalo's final two games of the regular season.
To bump that 85 percent up to 100 percent, Buffalo still has some work to do. According to our Elo ratings, the Bills have the league's fifth-toughest set of remaining opponents over the rest of the season, with Sunday's contest versus Seattle (1626 Elo) and Week 14's game against the Steelers (1635) standing out as the most difficult matchups left. Those games are not necessarily the most consequential for Buffalo's division chances, however. In our simulations, the games that swing Buffalo's division odds the most come in Week 16 against the Patriots and (especially) Week 17 against the Miami Dolphins, who might be the biggest real obstacle left to the Bills' division-title hopes.
2. Stefon Diggs midseason take: Offense still has a 'to do' list
At the season's midway point, the Bills offense is noticeably more productive than they were at this time last season. Scoring is up, passing yards are up, third down conversion rate leads the league and their run game is rounding into form. Diggs, however, believes they must maintain a daily focus on improving all aspects of their game.
"We're not in a bad spot and we're not in a good spot," said Diggs. "I feel like we can do a lot of things well. We can be a lot better, as we all know, especially myself. As far as executing and attention to detail and we continue to work on our craft and make it an everyday job for us. We've got a long ways to go as far as reaching our potential. We've still got to perform better in the red zone and we've got to cut down on a lot of our penalties. So, just trying to work through the grind, kind of like get through the good and the bad. Just got to work through it."
Buffalo currently ranks 19th in the league in scoring, averaging almost 25 points per game (24.75), which is almost a touchdown better than last season (19.6).
3. The Bills reaction to DK Metcalf's chase down
Buffalo's defenders have already seen plenty of film this week on the exploits of Seattle receiver DK Metcalf as they prepare for their matchup with the Seahawks. The 6-4, 238-pound game-breaker is coming off a breakout performance last week when he had 12 receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns in their win over San Francisco.
But what about Metcalf's much publicized chase down of Arizona CB Budda Baker to prevent the Cardinals from posting a pick-six against his quarterback?
Metcalf, who runs in the 4.3s, chased down Baker despite the fact that he had about a 15-yard head start down the sideline. Baker runs in the low 4.4s, but it wasn't enough to reach the end zone.
"The dude's a freak man," said Jordan Poyer. "I'm glad I'm glad it wasn't me, I guess. I thought it was a nice play by Buddha, but it was a better play by DK right there. He kind of took away from Buddha's little thing. But it just shows you how bad he wants it, how hard he plays. And it shows how he's going to compete against us, so I don't expect nothing less. That's what we do, compete."
Bills receiver Stefon Diggs had a different perspective on Metcalf's play being a receiver himself.
"I was watching the game live," Diggs said. "When he took off running I was like, 'He's going to catch him.' He convinced me early that he was running with conviction and he knew he was going to catch him. Budda Baker isn't slow either, so it kind of gave you a sense that he was running for his quarterback and when things don't go as planned, trying to get the guy down and make a play for him."
The tackle by Metcalf proved significant at the time as the Cardinals failed to reach the end zone after the turnover as they had to settle for a field goal.