I guess it depends on how many games played you consider "still early" as to whether the Flyers record is a matter of concern.

After 13 games or 15.9 percent of the NHL season, the Flyers will take a 6-6-1 record into St. Louis when they play the Blues at 8 tonight (TV: NBCSP; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic).

That's about as average as a team can be.

OK, so it has been there since the first game, but NHL.com has a listing for the wild-card standings, and if the playoffs started now, the Flyers would be tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Injuries on defense had the Flyers starting three rookies in Wednesday's loss at Chicago, and defenseman Radko Gudas was injured in the first period.

Over the last five games, the Flyers are 1-3-1 and have surrendered 20 goals combined.

In the last two games, the Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes have snapped, respectively, three- and 11-game losing streaks against the Flyers.

It might still be early, but at the end of the season, a bad spell of play has the same effect on the point total whether it occurs during the first 13 games or in the stretch run.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) is tackled by Oakland Raiders middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) during the second half Sunday.
Adrian Kraus / AP
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) is tackled by Oakland Raiders middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) during the second half Sunday.

Bills looking for first playoffs in the 21st century

Saying the Buffalo Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999 sounds much better than saying they have not qualified for the playoffs since the last century. Both, however, mean the Bills own the longest streak of any team for not making the postseason – 17 seasons.

When Buffalo plays the New York Jets at 8 tonight on the NFL Network, the Bills will take a 5-2 record into MetLife Stadium. In his first head-coaching job, former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has the Bills in contention for their first AFC East title since Bill Clinton was president.

Buffalo showed it takes seriously this playoff opportunity by giving up two draft picks to acquire receiver Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor isn't going to beat many teams, but he has just two interceptions and has been a quality game manager.

Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket as the Hawks’ John Collins defends during the second half Wednesday night.
MICHAEL PEREZ / AP
Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket as the Hawks’ John Collins defends during the second half Wednesday night.

What I’m reading

Until Ben Simmons develops a consistent jump shot, the bulk of his scoring will come from attacking the rim. Staff writer Sarah Todd says the Sixers rookie is getting better at protecting the ball when he drives.

Brock Osweiler is back again as the starting quarterback for the Broncos, and Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla says it could be a righteous move, dude.

Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart isn't bowing to pressure from many disappointing fans. Staff writer Jonathan Tannenwald reports Jim Curtin will be back as manager for 2018.

The NFL analysts at CBS sports gave their midseason awards and a certain quarterback who wears midnight green was the consensus, but not unanimous, pick for MVP.

After two years out of football because of repeated drug suspensions, Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon was reinstated by the NFL. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com gives an extensive look into Gordon's past, present and potential future with the Browns.

Every NFL owner knows that Jerry Jones doesn't mind dealing from the bottom of the deck to get his way. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that some think Jones is behind the recent complaints about NFL player protests by corporate sponsor Papa John's pizza.

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma once did not want to let Elena Delle Donne transfer, citing NCAA rules, but he tells ESPN.com he would hire disgraced former Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who is implicated in one of the biggest NCAA rules-violations scandals ever.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gestures during the second half against the Miami Heat on Oct. 25.
WILFREDO LEE / AP
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gestures during the second half against the Miami Heat on Oct. 25.

The riff

The Golden State Warriors wanted nothing to do with visiting President Donald Trump in the White House, but if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was the POTUS, well, that would be different.

"I truly would vote for Pop," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who won two NBA titles as a player for Popovich. "He would make a great president. All jokes aside. I would vote for him. Honesty and integrity would be fantastic to see [in the president]. He would provide that."

Warriors star Stephen Curry said Popovich has been "great for the NBA and would be even better for the country, probably."

Popovich, who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served six years of active duty, has been a strong and open critic of Trump's words and policies. He has used colorful and derogatory comments to blast Trump on everything from comments concerning white supremacists to inflammatory remarks about North Korea.

"The childishness and the gratuitous fear-mongering and race-baiting have been so consistent that it is almost expected," Popovich has said of the Trump administration.

Tonight’s schedule

TV/Radio

NFL
Bills at Jets, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network)

NHL
Flyers at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSP; WPEN-FM 97.5)

NBA
Warriors at Spurs, 8 p.m. (TNT)
Lakers at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

College Football
Ball State at Eastern Michigan, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
Northern Illinois at Toledo, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Navy at Temple, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WTEL-AM 610)
Idaho at Troy, 9:15 p.m. (ESPNU)

Golf on Golf Channel
PGA: Shriners Hospitals Open, 4:30 p.m.
LPGA: Japan Classic, 11 p.m.
European PGA: Turkish Airlines Open, 5 a.m. Friday

Boxing
Jesus Soto Karass vs. Juan Carlos Abreu, welterweights, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

Soccer
Europa League: Arsenal vs. FK Crvena Zvezda, 4 p.m. (FS1)
MLS playoffs: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m. (FS1)

Local Events

College Football
Temple vs. Navy, 8 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field