Bills fans have seen this before. Actually, twice before.
Start the season 5-2, but then get hammered by the Jets. It happened exactly that way for Buffalo football in 2008 and 2011.
And this year.
Not only did neither of those previous 5-2 starts end with a playoff bid, both Bills teams finished with a losing record.
Richie Incognito said Wednesday this 5-3 Bills team is completely different. He’s literally correct. No team in the NFL has more new players this season than any other in the league. Only Eric Wood and Kyle Williams remain from the last 5-3 team in 2011.
The figurative difference? Incognito thinks that is Sean McDermott.
“We’re trying to reshape this, remold this and make this about the 2017 Bills,” Incognito said. “Coach McDermott has done a good job with his messaging the entire offseason. During the season, the message has remained constant and consistent and I think guys respect that.”
The one side benefit from getting mauled at the Meadowlands is Buffalo can now settle back into the underdog role that seemed to fuel them the first seven games of the year.
“Everybody was high on us before the Jets game and now everybody is doubting us. That’s what we like,” Micah Hyde said. “That’s how it is in the NFL. No offense to you guys, but in the media whoever loses is the worst team in the league. Whoever wins is the next Super Bowl champions.”
Hyde may be wading into the waters of hyperbole, but there’s no doubt the loss to the Jets dampened the early season enthusiasm from Bills fans.
A win over the Saints could rebuild that enthusiasm just as quick. The Bills haven’t been anything better than 5-5 through ten games since 2000. They have two chances to change that.
It wouldn’t make the Bills the “next Super Bowl champions” as Hyde sarcastically theorized.
But, it would at least be something Bills fans haven’t seen in a long time.