Share this article

print logo


Fresh off one of the biggest victories in franchise history, the Buffalo Bills seemed to be concentrating Monday on the fact they have bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

Considering they just had clinched their third straight AFC East title, the Bills were a relatively subdued lot by the time the press moved into the locker room after Sunday's 24-14 thumping of the Miami Dolphins.

Numerous Bills said Monday they realize it was only one step toward the team's goal -- the Super Bowl.

"It's nice, but it's not our ultimate goal, so we aren't celebrating too hard just yet," linebacker Ray Bentley said.

"A couple of years ago, we won the title and it was really crazy," kicker Scott Norwood said. "Not that it wasn't crazy yesterday, but expectations are higher and higher each year."

"I think this team is more focused on what it wants to accomplish, and we're going at it with a businesslike attitude," said linebacker Darryl Talley.

"The thing is, I think we're going to see this team (Miami) again."

Sunday's victory, of course, gave the Bills a first-round bye in the playoffs and ensured the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will go through Buffalo.

But just which teams may be coming down that road?

The Bills will have to wait until after the first round of the AFC playoffs Jan. 5-6 to find out, but Miami might be the first one.

The top two division winners in the AFC get a first-round bye. It's already assured the Central Division champion will be the third-best division winner and will not get a bye.

Thus, in the first playoff round, the Central Division champion will meet the wild-card team with the third-best record.

The other first-round game will pit the top two wild-card teams, meaning Miami against the runner-up in the AFC West (the Los Angeles Raiders or Kansas City).

If the Central Division champion wins its game, the Bills will play host to the winner of the game between Miami and the AFC West runner-up (L.A. or Kansas City) in the second round Jan. 12 or 13 at Rich Stadium.

If the Central Division champion gets upset by the No. 3 wild-card team, the Bills will play host to that No. 3 wild-card team.

The Central Division crown still is up for grabs among Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Houston.

There are no restrictions on intradivision playoff games this year.

Meanwhile, the Bills have one more regular-season game to play -- at Washington Sunday.

Several Bills say they aren't treating it casually.

"It's not meaningless," Talley said, "because you're playing for your pride and you're playing for everything that you value.

"Believe me, you better approach them (the Redskins) to be physical, because if you don't you'll get hurt. They're extremely large up front and they love to run. They beat up on people."

Coach Marv Levy said he has not decided how much rest, if any, starters will get in the game.

"I don't know if we're going to do anything different," he said. "I haven't really discussed with our coaches how we'll use our players in the game, so I hesitate to say. If we have some guys that are hurting a bit or have been playing hurt, we might rest them."

Like the Bills, the game might mean nothing to the Redskins as far as the playoffs are concerned.

Washington already has clinched a wild-card berth. But if Philadelphia defeats Phoenix Saturday, the 'Skins will be assured of playing their first-round playoff game on the road. If Philly loses, the Redskins must win to open the playoffs at home.

Oddsmakers apparently think the Bills (13-2) will be taking the game lightly. The Redskins (9-6) are 5 1/2 -point favorites.

There are no comments - be the first to comment