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Bills Today | What does Buffalo's toxic differential ranking mean for the playoffs?

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1. Buffalo finishes third in toxic differential

Former NFL head coach Brian Billick is often credited with the advanced metric. Toxic differential, which is a correlation of a team's ability to create turnovers and explosive plays, was used by Billick while he was still coaching the Baltimore Ravens as an indicator for his team's success.

To calculate the metric you add big plays (20 yards or more used) for and against to acquire a big play differential figure. You then add that to a team's turnover differential to get a team's toxic differential.

Buffalo finished the 2020 regular season ranked third in this category with a mark of plus-25. Only Green Bay (plus-34) and Tampa Bay (plus-30) had higher marks in this metric.

The Bills opponent in Saturday's Wild Card playoff game, Indianapolis, finished a respectable sixth with a toxic differential of plus-21.

In fact, 2020 playoff clubs hold each of the top nine positions in this category and 10 of the top 12.

The only NFL playoff clubs that did not finish above the middle of the pack were Washington at minus-four and Chicago at minus-13.

2. Players balancing magnitude of game with weekly routine

Head coach Sean McDermott's mantra of 'Trust the Process' was instrumental in getting the team to adopt a daily growth mindset that has turned the club into a winner. Now that it has experienced success the players know that same process must be adhered to if their success is to continue in the postseason.

"We're happy to be in a position that we're in," said Dion Dawkins. "We're in the playoffs and because we've worked hard, we did things right. And we kicked that door down instead of being blessed and granted wishes. This is all on us. So, what comes with doing well during the season is it just builds a natural confidence around the Buffalo Bills, which has given us that that positive energy."

This week the players have worked to channel that energy into their preparations for a Colts team that won 11 games and came close to a division title themselves. And although a playoff game carries a lot more weight, they are trying to stick to the weekly routine that got them to 13-3 in the regular season.

"It's really no different. We understand that it's a playoff game, but we also understand that it's just the next game," Dawkins said. "It's a one game season now and we're confident with the guys that we have here, that we're just going to focus on ourselves and keep all of the energy on us.

"We understand what is at stake and we understand where we want to go, and if we want to do it, if you want to speak about it, we have to put our cleats on and our helmets on and duke it out."

Scroll through to see the best photos from Buffalo's practice in Bills Stadium as the team prepares for this Saturday's wild card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, presented by Pepsi.

3. Why Stefon Diggs teammates are eager to take pressure off their No. 1 WR

There's no debating who Buffalo's number one receiving threat is as they enter their AFC Wild Card playoff game Saturday against the Colts. It's Stefon Diggs, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards this season.

That league-best production means he'll be a primary focus of the Indianapolis defense assuming he starts on Saturday. He has a questionable designation for the game due to an oblique muscle injury.

That's why John Brown, in an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio this week, said he's determined to pull attention off Diggs on Saturday.

"I know now that the playoffs are here, teams will try different things to try to double him or take him out of the game," said Brown. "So me and the other receivers have to be ready to take a big role to take a lot of pressure off of him."

Brown, who missed a total of seven games due mainly to injury, feels good now. After re-acclimating himself to the game setting last week in the win over Miami, the receiver teammates refer to as 'Smoke' is ready to help deliver a victory over the Colts.

"I'm going to let the game come to me," he said. "Every time the ball comes my way, make a play and let these guys know that I'm still here and I'm ready for the long ride. I'm not ready to go home early."

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