Frank Doyle looks ahead to what the coming season has in store for Buffalo. Heartache seems high on the menu.
Buffalo went 4-12 last season. If the Bills can find four wins again this year, they’ll be doing well.
The NFL Betting, as ever, tells no lies. Buffalo is a huge +3300 longshot to win the AFC East, +6600 to get to the Super Bowl and +125000 to win it, the same chance Conan the Barbarian has of winning the Oscar for Best Picture next year. The over/under on team wins is set at 5.5, but under is the clear favorite.
Buffalo is a team in big trouble. It’s one of those NFL teams, like Jacksonville or Oakland, that always seems to be less than the sum of its parts, year after year.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a veteran going into his seventh year, threw for 3000 yards last year. But Fitzpatrick didn’t have a running game to back him up and the Bills couldn’t deliver once they reached the red zone.
The defense was a disaster. It couldn’t stop the run, so opponents crushed the Bills for points and time. One of the reasons why Fitzpatrick had so many passing yards is because the Bills were playing catch up so often.
The Bills defense has to improve this year. Head coach Chan Gailey has hired former Bears and Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt to coach the linebackers but by the time the rusher has got to the linebackers, the defense is already in deep trouble.
The Bills have drafted Alabama’s defensive lineman Marcell Dareus with their first round pick and he’s going to have to start his work straightaway to stop opposing teams cutting into the Bills for easy rushing yardage.
Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick enjoy a good relationship and that’s important between a head coach and the quarterback, but the Bills have a huge mountain to climb. There are questions also to do with the team’s ownership, with different consortia hovering should an opportunity to buy the team arise.
It’s not a situation that makes for stability, but maybe the Bills could get to a good start. It’s possible that they could go 2-2 in the first four weeks, but it’s also entirely possible they’d be 1-5 or 0-6 by their bye week on October 23rd. When you root for the Bills, you have to hope for the best.