By Anthony Sambrotto @asambrotto95
The Buffalo Bills’ season is on life support. After a crushing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday to send them to 5-6 on the season, the Bills need to win out to have a realistic chance at their first playoff berth in 15 years. The team is still in the hunt for an AFC wild card slot, but needs to leapfrog three other teams first.
The Bills head back to Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday, but will have the 6-5 Houston Texans waiting for them. The Texans defense, led by two-time Defensive Player of the Week J.J Watt, leads the league in least points allowed per game and sacks since week eight. They have held the high-powered New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals to six points each in recent games and will pose a tough task for Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is coming off one of the best games of his short starting career, throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions for 291 yards against the Chiefs.
The Bills were forced to perform a slew of transactions this week on the defensive side of the ball. Pro bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury, and his backup Alex Carrington is also done for the 2015 campaign with a torn quad. The Bills also released linebacker A.J Tarpley, who missed several key assignments on Sunday. Replacements for the Bills include the newly-signed DE Lavar Edwards, DT T.J. Barnes and LB Kevin Riddick. Also receiving a promotion is rookie linebacker Tony Steward, who will start for Nigel Bradham this week.
After Sunday’s game, the Bills hit the road for two straight against Philadelphia and Washington.
The other professional team in Buffalo has been playing much better over the past week. After losing six straight, the Sabres have points in three consecutive games.
Buffalo lost a thrilling 5-4 shootout decision to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night. Buffalo fell behind 2-0 early, but battled back behind two goals from Evander Kane and three assists from defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres had a great chance to end the game in overtime with a power play that saw Kane rip a shot off the post, but ultimately the game went to a shootout, where Detroit’s Brad Richards scored the only goal.
The Sabres get a few days off before hosting the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Despite this being termed a “rebuilding” year from the Sabres’ brass, they sit at 23 points through 25 games, better than three other teams in the Eastern Conference.
Center Ryan O’Reilly leads the Sabres in scoring with 20 points, but Ristolainen, who has four points over his last five games, is close behind with 17 on the season.