ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — As has become the annual custom, the Bills have packed up their operation and shifted north. They'll be the anchor of the Toronto sports scene for a day. CJ Spiller noted fans up there are a little more excited this year - largely because of the NHL lockout.
This is the fifth and final regular season game of the inaugural Bills Toronto Series. It hasn't had quite the impact that the organization had hoped. But it has been a success, and is likely to be renewed - to play an important financial part in the Bills' long term viability as a small market team in the NFL. As for play on the field, the Bills are 1-and-3 so far in this game - they'll need more success to build a home field advantage for the future.
"Whenever you go and play somewhere else even if it is supposedly a home game-you cannot really say it is going to be that way," said defensive end Mario Williams. "You are going somewhere where some people might not even care much about football. So it is not really that big of a deal because they do not really care who wins. You do not know when they are going to be yelling and when they are not going to be yelling in my eyes."
"The atmosphere is different. I think everybody knows that," said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. "It’s much different than the Ralph in terms of the noise and the intensity. We have to be able to take advantage of we are going to have more fans there than they will. We have to be able to take advantage of that."
We will find out a bit about this Bills team over the final 3 games of the season. As the organization enters an important offseason, they'll be looking for the majority of players to prove that they should belong in the future plans.
Beginning with this Toronto matchup against the Seahawks, the Bills have a chance to show that they have some 'fight' left in them. Seattle is a tough team - currently holding down a wild card spot, and needing every win. They're coming off a 58-nothing thrashing of the Cardinals. So beginning with Seattle, Ryan Fitzpatrick noted the importance of these final games for the team's future.
"These last three games could go either way which I know are not going to be the case," said Fitzpatrick. "But if you quit then you start feeling sorry for yourself.
"You finish losing all three games and all of a sudden you are sitting at 5-11. That is not a good feeling. We have to make sure that we are professionals and are coming into work. I know that everybody talks about the playoff picture, but for us we are sitting at 5-8.
"There are a lot more things we have to worry about and do. That is not really in our minds right now. We are trying to finish at 8-8 and getting to the offseason on a much higher note than we are right now."