Going in Buffalo's players knew the stakes. The Jacksonville Jaguars were in the driver's seat for the top Wild Card spot in the AFC. Two games back of the Jaguars, Buffalo knew they had to have Sunday's game. Coming up short has left them in a very desperate situation where the margin for error is just about zero.
"It makes it tougher," said Lee Evans of the effect their most recent loss has on their playoff aspirations. "We know what it takes to get into the playoffs and that's 10 wins. We've got five games left and we need five wins. So it kind of puts us in a playoff situation from here on out. It makes it tougher."
In all likelihood Evans is right. At 5-6, Buffalo essentially has to win their last five games to give themselves their best shot at a Wild Card playoff berth. Even going 4-1 to finish the season with a record of 9-7 will likely require help from other AFC teams for Buffalo to qualify for the postseason.
One of the problems is the Bills have lost head-to-head matchups with two of the clubs with which they're competing in Jacksonville and Denver, though the Broncos lost to also fall to 5-6 like the Bills.
Tennessee lost its third game in a row and is just a game better than Buffalo at 6-5 and Houston now 5-6 fell to Cleveland which improved to 7-4.
Catching the Jaguars appears unlikely as they are now three games up on Buffalo with just five game to play and they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
"Time is winding down and the games are winding down," said J.P. Losman. "We knew this was a big one going into it and we wanted it really bad. Battling back and overcoming adversity is what we have to do. Our back is against the wall and we have to come through. We have some big games coming up."
Buffalo's schedule isn't as daunting down the stretch as it was in the season's first half. Up next is a Washington team that has lost three straight, followed by the winless Dolphins. Then it's off to Cleveland for their biggest remaining AFC game followed by NFC East tilts with the Giants and Eagles.
The combined record of those opponents is 24-29, but if you take out the Dolphins 0-10 mark the other four opponents are a combined 24-19. Still the Bills have faith they can make it happen down the stretch.
"There's a lot of football to be played," said Donte Whitner. "We have five more games and we feel like they're all winnable games. Guys can come together and we can go 10-6 or we face a couple of more losses. We don't want that. We don't want any more losses. We want to come together and win football games."