Sunday, September 18, 2011

Buffalo Bills 2-0; A Look Back and A Look Ahead

In week one the Bills picked up a blowout 41-7 win against a Kansas City Chiefs team that looked like it had never played together before.  To prove this wasn't a fluke, the Lions destroyed the Chiefs 48-3 the following (this) week.  The Bills had some fortunate things happen in this game, (it probably should have been a two touchdown win, not a five touchdown one) but they were clearly a better team. 

In week two the Bills couldn't tackle, couldn't cover, and couldn't call plays for shit on either side of the ball...and still picked up a 38-35 win against a travel-weary Raiders team that (so far as we can tell) is somewhere around 'okay.'  This game looked like two 8-8 teams going head to head that might see a 2-3 win swing in either direction depending on how their luck falls.

So what do we have?  Good teams beat bad teams handily, and they win games against mediocre to good teams when it's crunch-time.  The Bills have done both, but it's hard to get too excited.  For one thing, the run defense is still a huge question mark.  Even though their yardage was low, the Chiefs averaged nearly five yards a carry.  And the Raiders were gashing the Bills on the ground before they realized they could gash the Bills through the air at a quicker pace.  What else?

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback Bills fans have been waiting for.  He's got 100% of the intangibles to win games and 75% of the skills.  That's a pretty decent combo.
  • Fred Jackson is unbelievable.  It's clear he sees the field better than any other player on the team.  They guy ALWAYS hits the right lane, ALWAYS makes the right cut.
  • We're seeing flashes of what we thought we had in C.J. Spiller.  He might never be a Chris Johnson (it's still too early to tell), but he's showing signs that he can be a big asset.
  • Lee who?  12 catches for 162 yards and 2 TDs in two games for Stevie Johnson.  That's a ballpark 96 catch, 1200 yard, 16 TD pace.  Rumors of his imminent demise in increased coverage have been greatly exaggerated.
  • With David Nelson, Donald Jones, and Scott Chandler all snagging their fair share of balls, it's pretty evident that the Bills WR corps are at the very least pleasantly effective.  They haven't been that as a unit since...?
  • The defense still sucks...but it causes turnovers and on occasion looks pretty good.  Didn't have that last season.
Let's look ahead:

Week 3 - New England
There are very few things that can happen that will keep the Patriots from putting up big numbers.  They are, the D-line having the game of their life and getting tons of pressure, a shit ton of horrible weather, and Tom Brady getting hit by a bus.  I see this game ending in the 40-20 ranger in New England's favor.

Week 4 - @ Cincinnati
This feels like a perfect time to play the Bengals, who ditched a few ineffective big money wide receivers of their own.  There will be plenty of film on Andy Dalton by week four and his effectiveness should start to decrease a bit.  Control Cedric Benson; I don't think Dalton can win a game on his own.  Bills 24-10.

Week 5 - Philadelphia
Hard to judge only seeing Philadelphia play one game against a St. Louis team that probably isn't very good.  Michael Vick looked ordinary stats-wise, but continues to have big play ability.  That's how Philly's seems to operate: crap, crap, crap, 80 yard TD, crap, 40 yard TD, etc.  Big question is will Philly's pieces have gelled into a team by then?  I say yes: 30-13 Eagles.

Week 6 - @ New York
Another difficult game to gauge with New York losing to a Redskins team that is probably about as good as the Bills are.  They'll probably beat St. Louis, but it'll probably be ugly.  This is one I can either see Eli Manning having one of his random ridiculous games, or the Bills just shutting him down and grinding out a win.  20-10 Bills, or a blowout Giants win.

Week 7 - Bye
Bills head to the break with four wins and two losses (or at least two wins and four losses) and no doubt a few gimpy players.  It's kind of a tough place to have a bye as the rest of their season is brutal.

Week 8 - Washington
Should be a very close game, most likely decided by a field goal.  I don't trust Rex Grossman one bit, so you better believe I'm taking the Bills in this one.  27-24.

Week 9 - New York
Regardless of the skill of either team, the Bills always seem to split with the Jets.  Taking the win at home and the loss in three weeks on the road.  24-17 Bills.  At this point the Bills are an overachieving 6-2.  Wow.

Week 10 - @ Dallas
We'll see how Tony Romo is doing.  If he's in, this game is a lot closer, if not, I think the Bills win in a laugher, avenging that atrocious Monday night game a few years back.  30-14 Bills.

Week 11 - @ Miami
Taking a split with the Dolphins as well.  24-21 Miami.

Week 12 - @ New York
Doesn't seem like the team has much of a shot in this game.  The Jets by a comfortable 24-13 score.

Week 13 - Tennessee
Jake Locker, 400 yards passing, 4 INTs, sacked 4 times.  34-14 Bills.

Week 14 - @ San Diego
Norv Turner will probably make this game closer than it should be.  21-10 Chargers.

Week 15 - Miami
Don't think the Dolphins are good anywhere, and very rarely are they good in Buffalo.  21-3 Bills.  Staring down the last two games with a 9-5 record and probably in the drivers seat of a wildcard spot.

Week 16 - Denver
I think Denver is terrible.  Coathangers in full force against Tim Tebow.  Bills - 50, Hate Monger Tebo - -32.  Fuck Tim Tebow.

Week 17 - @ New England
Will New England be resting their starters?  Probably not.  That's not really part of Belichick's MO.  Plus the Patriots aren't good enough to run away with the AFC.  New England is just flat out better than Buffalo and they'll show it again.  31-10 New England.

So based on what we've seen so far, 10-6 doesn't seem too far-fetched.  We'll know a lot more when the Bills go up against a decent team in New England next week.

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