The Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs two of the last three seasons, which hasn't happened in 20 years. Last year, the Bills looked like they were going to win their first playoff game since 1999 but lost to the Houston Texans in overtime. PopCulture.com had the chance to catch up with Bills defensive lineman Jerry Hughes, who revealed what the team needs to do to reach the Super Bowl.
"We just got to stay focused," Hughes said for our series PopCulture @ Home. "It's a long season. There's going to be some ups and downs and ebbs and flows. That’s what happens throughout the season. We've put in all this hard work dating back to April. Even in our training camp process, we had 100% participation, which is huge. The team bonding is there. Now it's just withstanding the ebbs and flows. We're going to have some good quarters. We're going to have some bad quarters. We’re trying to finish the game strong and then move on to next week."
In the Bills' first game of the 2020 season, they came away with a 27-17 win over the New York Jets. Buffalo is considered a team that could win the AFC East, as long as quarterback Josh Allen continues to improve. Hughes, who started his NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts in 2010, said he sees similarities between Allen and the legendary Peyton Manning.
"Both of those guys [are] big, tall, strong quarterbacks with tremendous arms," Hughes said. "You certainly see Josh getting that football IQ the way Peyton had it. Peyton was certainly a vet. But as Josh comes into his veteran years, by this being year three, you see just how fluid he moves with the offense and how much confidence he has now. It's going to be exciting to see."
Hughes will also play a big role in the team's success this season. He has been with the Bills since 2013 and has registered a team-high 46.5 sacks and 12 forced fumbles. Hughes ranks sixth on the Bills' all-time sack list and could move up to fourth by the end of the season. Because of his production and leadership, Hughes has been named one of the six team captains for the year.
"For me, it's a huge honor," Hughes said when talking about the players voting him captain. "It means throughout this offseason and as we were building up our team and building that team chemistry, the guys actually saw me as a leader figure in a leader role. That honestly for me is a huge honor that my teammates see me in such light. I hope to just continue to make them proud of their selection."