ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Bills are heading to the playoffs for the third straight season, and this year, they clinched a playoff spot in front of their home crowd.
"You guys know how much our football team cares about them [Bills Mafia]," defensive tackle Harrison Phillips said. "Not only did we clinch today but we have a greater opportunity next week to clinch the Division in front of them."
The AFC East will be decided next week when the Bills host the New York Jets in their final regular season game. A win, and the Bills would be guaranteed a home playoff game and their second straight AFC East title.
"That's what we expect. That's what we've talked about since day one," McDermott said about the standard that's been set. "But I don't want to get too far ahead of us."
"That's our goal at the start of the year, to give yourself a chance to win a Super Bowl and you can't do that unless you make the playoffs," quarterback Josh Allen said. "A few weeks back it seemed pretty dull, but we've got guys in the locker room who want to help this team win and you see it pay off on the field. We've gotta keep things going."
It's the team's fourth trip to the playoffs in five seasons and some of the guys in that locker room were here when it all started back in 2017 after they ended a 17-year postseason drought.
It's pretty special," Poyer said, who joined them team in 2017. "To see where we came from and to go four out of five, it's truly special. Guys work hard and we definitely feel like we've earned it."
"It's remarkable to see where we were at when we first got here to where we are now," safety Micah Hyde added, who also joined the team in 2017. "There's still a bunch of goals in place that we want to accomplish this year and this was just one of them."
The 2017 season was Sean McDermott's first as head coach, and after Sunday's win, he joins Marv Levy as the only two coaches in franchise history to make it to the postseason in four of their first five full seasons. While the players and coaches have helped get the results on the field, there's a lot of work off the field that have helped this organization grown into what it is.
"The organization does a great job of bringing in the right people," Phillips said. "It's been a great success and with ownership that cares about winning. A lot of the pieces have fallen."
"You look at the culture we've got going on here and it shows that the groundwork and the foundation that was set over the last few years is paying off from the top, down," Allen added. "Kim and Terry, what they've been able to do and who they've hired, the camaraderie we've had over the last few years in the coaching staff too, that's all paid dividends."
As of Sunday evening, the Bills are the 4th seed in the AFC playoff picture and are set to host the Jets on January 9th at 1 p.m. A win guarantees the Bills the AFC East title and a home playoff game as they hold the division record tiebreaker over the New England Patriots, who play the Dolphins in Miami next weekend.