Bulldog: Of tree stands and deer urine

November 21, 2016

Deer hunting season opened Saturday at dawn. Bear season did too, according to the NYS DEC website. I've never known anyone who hunts for bear, but maybe that's the sort of thing that's more prevalent where there's a greater bear population. I don't really know. All I'm really doing at this point is wasting time and space avoiding the inevitable.

Are you ready to be 'In The Hunt'? By now you know this drill. The Bills win game 10 on their schedule and even their record. Or they lose the 10th game on their schedule and drop a couple of games under .500. It really doesn't matter. That's the wonderful thing about 'The Hunt'. It doesn't discern your worthiness for hunting based on how realistic it is that you'll actually kill anything. It's just simple math. You're not eliminated, therefore, you are 'In The Hunt'.

So the Bills did beat the Bengals on Sunday and did even their record at 5-5. You'll have to forgive some fans for not squirreling away money for playoff tickets. Like just about everything surrounding the Bills, any enthusiasm many fans have for a playoff run gets swallowed up whole by the 16 year playoff drought. 

You almost can't win for trying. Lay out the scenario it would take for the Bills to make the playoffs and a large portion of the fan base goes into attack mode reminding you about the unlikelihood of any such thing happening. Dwell on that unlikelihood and face the wrath of the fans who can't stand that you'd ever have the audacity to point out that the Bills playoff drought can legally drive in New York State.

So what's the right move? Well here's how I see it. Winning in Cincinnati buys some time to ponder whether or not they can manage the back end of the schedule with only one more loss. Jacksonville at home is next. Win that one and you get to take your 6-5 record out to Oakland to play a team you may have to beat out for a playoff spot. Your chances of catching the Raiders could come down to beating them.  Lose that game and your margin for error has pretty much evaporated. Win it and I think things would really get interesting around here.  

Such is the existence of a team firmly entrenched in the NFL's middle class come Thanksgiving. Wins mostly buy you the opportunity to prove something only if you can keep winning. Losses simply leave us feeling like it's all over.

So for now, put on the safety orange and camouflage gear, do whatever you think is right as it pertains to deer urine products, climb up in that tree stand and wait. Maybe you'll get a clean shot at a playoff spot. Or maybe you'll just sit there freezing, wondering why you got into all of this in the first place.