Can the Buffalo Bills exceed their 13-win total from a year ago? Even though they've already lost two games through the first six weeks, their schedule suggests they can.
First of all, they have an extra game, thanks to the NFL's expanded regular season. Second of all, only two of their remaining 11 games will be against teams who will take winning records into this weekend, in which the Bills (4-2) are idle.
Last but not least, barring injury or some radical change, five of their games will come against rookie quarterbacks, including two each against AFC East rivals New England (Mac Jones) and New York (Zach Wilson).
Their strength of schedule is the easiest in the league from this point, according to an analysis by ESPN's Mike Clay, based on his evaluation of each team.
So what does this mean for their chances of finishing with the best record in the conference to earn a first-round playoff bye?
Just that if they take care of business in the games in which they'll be favored, it should happen.
Of course, that will depend on variables like injuries that they can't control.
But so far, so good for the Bills in that area through Week 6. Their only major injury has been the broken bone in tight end Dawson Knox's hand, and he's not expected to miss much time after undergoing surgery this week.
The timing couldn't have been better, either, since the Bills don't even play this weekend.
The toughest stretch (on paper) of the Bills' schedule begins with a short-week road game at New Orleans on Thanksgiving night. Then they host New England, which despite its record is going to be a tough out for everyone the rest of the way, on Dec. 6. That will be followed by a trip to Tampa Bay the following weekend.
But the best way to handle it is by getting there with some momentum, and that process needs to begin with their next game, which happens at home against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 31.
Getting homefield advantage for the playoffs would be huge, as history tells us. Although the Bills Mafia doesn't need to be reminded how tough its team is at home in the playoffs, perhaps others do. So here goes: Since 1967, the Bills are 12-1 at home and 3-11 in games played outside their building in the playoffs. That includes their four straight Super Bowl losses in the 1990s.
If that's not motivation enough, nothing is.
Here's how their schedule shapes up the rest of the way:
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31 vs Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7 at Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14 at Jets, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21 vs Colts, 1 p.m.
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 25 at Saints, 8:20 p.m
Week 13: Monday, Dec. 6 vs Patriots, 8:15 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12 at Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.
Week 15: Sat./Sun, Dec. 18-19 vs Panthers, TBD.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26 at Patriots, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2 vs Falcons, 1 p.m.
Week 18: Sunday, Jan. 9 vs Jets, 1 p.m.