While the AFC East still focuses on the dominant Patriots and now-surging Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills (5-5) remain somewhat in playoff contention. Their razor-thin postseason hopes were kept alive thanks to a 16-12 win over the Bengals on Sunday and their spirits were lifted by a veteran sensing perhaps his last chance to reach the next level.
According to the Buffalo News, 33-year-old defensive end Kyle Williams reminded the team of their long playoff drought -- now 24 seasons since their last playoff win and 16 years since their last appearance -- and how much it hurts to watch the years slip away.
"As a Buffalo Bill, I've had opportunities to make the playoffs, they've passed me by," Williams said, via The News. "We have the opportunity right now. We need to seize the moment."
After the game, he added: "I just think we're in a desperate position," Williams said. "You look at it, I think we were two teams kind of teetering on the brink."
The Bills are currently in a long line for the sixth seed behind the Dolphins, Steelers and Colts -- all teams that are starting to play their best football of the season. With three very winnable games -- Jacksonville, Cleveland and the Jets -- remaining on their schedule and three toss-ups -- Oakland, Pittsburgh and Miami, at the least, Buffalo cannot complain that destiny is out of their hands.
Rex Ryan teams thrive on motivation and veteran leadership. During his best years with the Jets, he could lean on the likes of fullback Tony Richardson, guard Brandon Moore and safety Jim Leonhard to lift the team down the stretch. After gutting the roster of non-believers this offseason, Ryan now has only those who want to be there (or are paid handsomely to) left in the locker room.
Williams seems to be taking on that player liaison role well. Should Buffalo run the table, he'll be first in line for Ryan to thank.