Friday, August 26, 2005

The Buffalo Bills aka The Barbarian

There really wasn’t much of a difference between the Warlord and the Barbarian. Both were powerful wrestlers who delivered beatings in the ring. They teamed up to form the Powers of Pain. As a tag team, they were involved in many great matches with Demolition but they never did anything significant. They never won the tag titles. They were just a good, solid tag team. The NFL’s versions of the Powers of Pain are the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. I really have no idea which team is better. I think they could play 100 times and each team would win 50. So, I’ll save time and look at both teams.

The Bills made a mistake in getting rid of Drew Bledsoe. I can’t believe I actually wrote that sentence but Buffalo was one of the hottest teams in the league last year. They went 8-2 in their last ten games and scored over 33 points six games in a row. After staring the season 1-5, the Bills missed the playoffs by six points on the last game of the season. Instead of capitalizing on that momentum, the Bills promptly handed their starting qb job to J.P. Losman. When I think of Losman, I think of Patrick Ramsey. When I think of Patrick Ramsey, I think of “Doink the Clown”. When I think of “Doink the Clown”, I think of no playoffs.

There’s no question that the offense has talent. The offense really didn’t get going until Willis McGahee took over as the starter. Lee Evans was better than anyone expected last season. Eric Moulds is still a dependable wide receiver. They drafted Roscoe Parish in the second round and Josh Reed is also a decent receiver. As good as this team can be on offense, they also can be dreadful. The Bills didn’t score more than 20 points in their first six games of the season last year. The offensive gelled as the season progressed. I don’t believe that changing the most important position on the team is the best approach to maintaining the momentum.

The defense was up and down last season. In the ten games when they made their push to the playoffs, the Bills allowed 14, 17, 29, 17, 9, 32, 7, 17, 7, 29. There are some impressive numbers in there but they benefited from a very weak schedule. The Bills allowed 17 points or less in seven out of ten of those games. On the other hand, they allowed 29 or more points in three of those games. If the Bills are going to make some noise this year, they’ll need more consistency from the defense. Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher are good, solid linebackers. Nate Clements and Lawyer Milloy anchor the secondary. Sam Adams is a one-man run stopper on the defensive line. The Bills have the potential to be stingy on defense which is a must since the offense will probably struggle under Losman.

The Bills have to play New England (2) and the NY (2) Jets. That could easily be three losses and possibly four. They also have the unenviable task of being matched up with the NFC South which means four games against Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. The Bills probably won’t do any better than 2-2 and could easily go 1-3 in those games. The Bills get some easier games against Miami (2), Houston, and Oakland. The Bills should probably go 2-2 in those games. The rest of the schedule has the Bills playing KC, San Diego and Denver. 1-2 is the best outcome the Bills could hope for. I don’t think Buffalo is necessarily bad but a Ramsey-esque quarterback combined with a brutal schedule is a lot to overcome.

Predicted record: 6-10

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