The Bills are 5-3 at the bye week coming at the midpoint of the season, which seems an ideal time to examine recent history to see how things could shake out in the second half of the season.
Buffalo had the same record in 2008, if you remember. In fact, they started out the season with a 5-1 mark before a four-game losing streak brought them back to reality. They were 2-6 over the final eight games and missed the playoffs. It was the same season in which the Steelers beat the Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh was 6-2, Arizona 5-3 that year at the midpoint.
The Bills started out 5-3 in 2011 before finishing 6-10. They lost their first six games in the second half of the season, starting with blowout losses to the Cowboys and Dolphins by a combined 79-15. All seven of their losses over the final eight games were decided by four points or more while the offense struggled with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing through broken ribs.
In Buffalo, there's always hope.
Of the last 10 teams to reach the Super Bowl, six had records of 6-2 or worse through eight games. The 2010 Packers were 5-3 at the midpoint, finished the regular season 10-6 before winning four straight playoff games en route to the title. Never mind the Super Bowl.
Here are some other tidbits regarding teams making the playoffs after pushing, or surviving, in the second half.
2009 -- The Jets and Baltimore were 4-4, but both made the postseason as wild-card teams.
2010 -- Seattle was 4-4 en route to finishing 7-9 and winning the division, plus a playoff game.
2011 -- Denver was 3-5 at the midpoint and won the division with an 8-8 record; Cincinnati was 3-5 over the final eight games en route to a wild card; the Giants won their division with a 9-7 mark after losing four straight and five of their last eight.
2012 -- Washington was 3-5 and won its division; Cincinnati was 5-3 and earned a wild card.
2013 -- Philadelphia was 3-5 before winning the division; San Diego was 4-4 and fell to 5-7 before winning its final four games and earning a wild card.
In the past five years, however, the Cardinals, Bears and Bucs had 10-6 records and missed the playoffs.
The Bills haven't won five games in the second half of the season since 2004, when they finished 9-7 and failed to make the postseason under Mike Mularkey. They're among 11 teams in the AFC that were over .500 or through Sunday. Their remaining opponents -- Kansas City, Miami, Jets, Cleveland, Denver, Green Bay, Oakland, New England -- are a combined 30-29.