The Buffalo Bills kick off the regular season versus Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (Thanks for Jerry Hughes) at Ralph Wilson stadium. The Colts will come into the Ralph with Super Bowl aspirations after losing to The New England Patriots in the forgettable Deflategate debacle. Will it be far-fetched for the Bills to enter the game with the same aspirations after not reaching the playoffs the past 15 years? As this post is near completion the Bills have gotten under the mandated 53 man roster and will possibly send the most talented team on the field since the glory years. Let’s explore the reasons for optimism that’s throughout Western New York and see if the Buffalo Bills are ready to accept the challenge that’s before them.
Arguably the 2 most important pieces fielding a football team the Head Coach and Quarterback. Typically these 2 are attached by the hip as the QB goes typically does a successful coaching career for the Head Coach. This year the Bills employ both a new Head Coach and Quarterback. Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor will look to do what no duo in the past 15 years has been able to do, reach the postseason. Rex Ryan resume is well documented through his stint as a coordinator for the Super Bowl winning Ravens in 2000, and Head Coach of the New York Jets. Taylor is more of the unknown unless you followed college football in the mid 2000’s when Taylor last played on a regular basis with Virginia Tech. Throughout this preseason Taylor has shown flashes of speed and pocket presence which allowed him to win the tightly contested QB battle.
Taylor has the attributes that can have Defensive Coordinator sleepless before game days. To his advantage at least for the early part of the season he’ll have very little tape to have opposing coaches’ game plan for, aside from what’s available from the preseason snaps. Many suspect Taylor is a one read and then take off and run QB, granted the QB’s which possess the same speed and similar physique have been but Taylor showed in the preseason he’ll stand in the pocket and go through his read before using his legs. The preseason was a sample size of the potential that Taylor adds and it’ll remain to be seen if it can be done through a full 16 game schedule and hopefully a playoff game. Taylor has many play-makers on offense that should make his transition to the starting QB successful. Sammy Watkins returns for his second pro season, his rookie season seen him fall just 18 yards shy of a 1,000 yard season. Watkins was the only one of the famed 2014 WR class (OBJ, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin) not to crack 1,000 yards, however stability under center should have Watkins rise back to the top of the class. LeSean “Shady” McCoy comes from Philadelphia after a down season, he’ll likely have a chip [pun intended] driving him to regain his status of a premier back in the league. Percy Harvin have also been added to the team, though we’ve yet to see him suit up in game action he brings speed and versatility to an already explosive team on paper.
Little needs to be said about the Defensive unit of the Buffalo Bills. For the past 2 seasons the unit has been the backbone of the team. In back to back games last season the defense held both Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning to their worst games that season. The Bills replace the free agency departure of Da’Norris Searcy with switching WNY own Corey Graham to safety to offset the loss. Questions will lay with rookie Cornerback Ron Darby who will start at CB as Leodis McKelvin recover from ankle surgery. Darby has been picked on in the preseason but in his defense has shown a short memory. Week 1 of the preseason the Carolina Panthers torched Darby however he strongly bounced back against the Cleveland Browns with 2 interceptions the following week. The front 4 remains intact with the resigning of Jerry Hughes this past off-season we shall see if the same may be said this off-season when Dareus is due for a new contract. Rex Ryan forte is defense so as he inherits this unit it should only rise from its number 4 defense ranking to something much higher with his experience and expertise.
The talent and coaching is there for the Buffalo Bills to contend for a playoff spot in the AFC. Typically in the AFC it’ll take around 9 to 10 wins to reach the postseason, I believe the Bills will hover right at that total. The Bills start the season with several games that can go either way in the win loss column with Indy, NE, Dolphins, and NYG. The first 4 games are all very much win-able games, QB play I’m sure will come into play in deciding one of the 1st 4. The 2nd quarter of the season have the Bills playing the Titans, Bengals and across the country to play the Jaguars and the final regular season match up versus the Dolphins. After the 1st 8 games we should be able to see the type of team we’re dealing with and see if a playoff run is attainable. The second half of the season pits the Bills in 2 primetime games one vs NE and then Rex Ryan going back to Jersey to play the Jets. The Bills will also see the Chiefs who have been let off the hook the past 2 years the 2 have met. The Bills go the home stretch facing the Texans and the NFC East (Eagles, Redskins, and Cowboys). I won’t place an exact numbers on the wins and losses for this upcoming season however I do anticipate the playoff drought to end soon. This season should be exciting for all and give us all something to cheer about! Our wagons are ready to circled!!
I’ll look to blog weekly and I hope that you’ll take a glance and provide feedback. Thanks for reading!!