Category Archives: Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots: Don’t Piss Off Tom Brady

Can Rex Ryan Back-Up His Bluster

That question was answered with a resounding NO Sunday afternoon as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and a host of others destroyed the Buffalo Bills “vaunted” defense, 40-32.  Don’t be deceived by the final score, this wasn’t that close. The Bills scored 19 points in the 4th quarter, long after the winner had already been determined.

Rex-Ryan - Who me? What bluster! (Photo meetthematts.com)
Who me? What bluster! (Photo meetthematts.com)

The Bills scored on their first possession and the Buffalo fans were in heaven. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and many had left the stadium before they got a chance to get loud again. They may have pulled the comeback off if they were playing the NY Giants (sorry Giants fans. I hate to kick you when you’re down…) but nope, they were up against an angry (although they’ll never admit it) Tom Brady & Bill Belichick. Only one team in NFL history has come back from a 24 point fourth quarter deficit.

New England: What Went Right

I’m not sure where to start, but how about this…

  • Tom Brady was so good even ESPN had to admit it. No snide remarks about deflated footballs by anyone after this one was over.

If that wasn’t enough, how about this from Sports Center

Nuff said! Lesson learned? Don’t piss-off Tom Brady! He’s playing like he has something to prove after all the off-season slander he put up with. Bet it will be a little tense if Commissioner Roger Goodell is forced to actually attend a Patriot game this year…or, better yet, give Brady another MVP Trophy.

  • Rob Gronkowski was, once again, unstoppable. It’s hard to believe, but so far he’s been better than ever. Check this out from old friend Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal

  • The question of who will replace Shane Vereen (who?) has been answered with an unknown running back who no one wanted…and he isn’t named Gray. I know it’s only two games, and he has fumbled twice (lost one), but Dion Lewis (remember that name Rex Ryan) has been outstanding. Belichick had enough confidence in him that he put him right back in the offense after his fumble. That doesn’t happen very often, just ask former Patriot Stevan Ridley.
New England Patriots' Dion Lewis, right, celebrates with Rob Gronkowski (87) after rushing for a touchdown during the first half against the Bills, (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
New England Patriots’ Dion Lewis, right, celebrates with Rob Gronkowski (87) after rushing for a touchdown during the first half against the Bills  (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

Lewis (that’s L-E-W-I-S Mr. Ryan) had 40 yards rushing and a TD on just 7 carries. You’re right, that’s OK, but nothing to rave about. How about this then, 6 receptions for 98 yards. Combine the two and you get 13 touches for 138 total yards. If you aren’t good at math Rex, that’s 10.6 yards per touch. Anyone think Ryan will remember his name when the two teams meet again in November at Gillette Stadium on Thursday Night Football (ESPN)?

I could go on and on about the offense, including the emergence of Aaron Dobson (7 receptions for 87 yards, one drop), THE catch of the day by Danny Amendola to seal the victory and the continued success of Julian Edelman (11 reception, 97 yards, 2 TDs), but the biggest surprise of the game was (drum roll please):

  • The Offensive Line. People needlessly worried about Tom Brady’s life/health coming into this game against Buffalo’s feared pass rush. Brady’s quick release certainly helped, but the youngsters held up just fine, allowing only two sacks…and that was without Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell.  Can we all please stop holding our breath every time TB drops back to pass?

Yes, the defense gave up 32 points, but it actually was very good. Remember, 19 of those points were in garbage time, just as the 7 they gave up to Pittsburgh in the final seconds of game one.  As is usually the case, when you give up that many points, people will point out your deficiencies. Well, how about these positives:

  • 8 sacks against a very mobile Tyrod Taylor, who, fortunately, escaped without injury

    Taylor sacked again by Chandler Jones (photo: Keith Nordstrom NewEnglandPatriots.com)
    Taylor sacked again by Chandler Jones (photo: Keith Nordstrom NewEnglandPatriots.com)
  • 3 Interceptions (Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon)
  • Held Buffalo to 3 for 13 (30%) on 3rd down
  • 3 sacks from an unstoppable Chandler Jones & 2.5 for Jamie Collins
  • Kept Sammy Watkins to 6 receptions for 60 yards and 1 TD

New England: What Went Wrong

  • Patriots’ had 4th and 1 from the Buffalo 41 yard line in the 4th quarter and went for it. Going for it actually wasn’t a bad decision, but getting greedy and throwing an incomplete long pass to a covered Dion Lewis was not among the smartest things to do.
  • Brady was strip-sacked and the Bills scored in 15 seconds to make it 37-32 late in the game
  • The run defense continues to be soft. Despite trailing, Buffalo ran the ball 27 times for 160 net yards (almost 6 yards per carry).
  • Yes, they sacked and pressured Taylor the whole game, but he completed 23 of 30 passes and 3 TDs. Big lead or not, garbage time or not…that’s not very good. They did contain his scrambles (5 for 43 yds, 1 TD) fairly well, but still need the secondary to step up. Three int’s was nice, completion percentage was not.

Moving On

It’s still a long season and, with 14 regular season games to go, anything can happen. The AFC East came back to earth with Buffalo’s loss and Miami falling to Jacksonville (you know that hurt). The Jets (2-0) kept pace with New England by beating the highly overrated Colts (0-2) Monday night.

The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium against the surprising (1-1) Jaguars Sunday. Bill Belichick doesn’t allow his players to enjoy wins for very long, but it will be hard for his team to “get-up” for Jacksonville after their dominance in Buffalo.  It’s still the NFL and On Any Sunday…..”

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills: It Will Be A Game of Gronk

image: bostonglobe.com
image: bostonglobe.com

The Buffalo Bills thrashed, embarrassed and eviscerated the Indianapolis Colts on September 13th, 2015. Andrew Luck looked like a shell of the potential Hall Of Famer so many in the media have anointed him as. Luck tried desperately to turn the tide but his last ditch efforts in the latter part of the game were to no avail. The Buffalo Bills are no longer a joke and if they have their way, the Indianapolis Colts will be just one of many to fall by their sword.

Rex Ryan is exactly the hero Buffalo needs right now. After years of being a bottom dweller in the often considered weakest division in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills have a swagger about them that some say is necessary if undeserved.  With the likes of Percy Harvin, Lesean McCoy and a top rated defense, the Bills look to be a legitimate force. Rex Ryan, an outcast in his own right, is doing all he can to build his team up and allow them to echo his sentiments. Rex wants revenge for being ousted by New York and embarrassed year in and year out by not just his division, but many teams in the league. Next step on Ryan’s agenda, the decimation of his chief rival, the “hated” New England Patriots.

The New England Patriots have never particularly shown any weakness in regards to Rex Ryan or the Buffalo Bills for that matter. The Belichick/ Brady era of New England has shown that they are fully capable of taking down whatever Buffalo has thrown their way. Rex Ryan and at the time The New York Jets, showed that when a bag of tricks is used properly success can be had but ultimately the victories were few and far between. In his glory, Rex finally has the assets to combine with his defensive expertise. Are the New England Patriots truly in trouble of losing to this abomination of talent?

There is a popular television show on HBO called “Game of Thrones”. On the program, royalty often appoints a champion, someone to stand in their place in order to uphold their wishes during a fight. The royal family on “Game of Thrones” often employs a giant man known as “The Mountain” to defeat their adversaries. The New England Patriots have such a champion, a man who could be considered a mountain in his own right. His name is Rob Gronkowski, but around these parts we simply call him Gronk.

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Gronk is an unstoppable pass catching tight end that excels at blocking as well, a rare beast in today’s NFL.  Gronk is such a mismatch for most offensive coordinators that even when a team attempts double coverage Gronk often eludes his opposition. Future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady, as talented as he is, cannot be in two places at once, nor should he need to be in order to have success.  Gronk is like a time bomb which allows Brady the opportunity to keep the defense guessing when exactly he will blow up. Such an intricate piece to the New England Patriot puzzle is Gronk, that during past seasons when he was out of action due to injury, the Patriots just were not the same dominant team.

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Now, to give the devil his due, Rex Ryan has been one of the few head coaches to have slowed down the Brady/Gronk tandem. Ryan knows the Patriots like no other coach which is what makes him such a dangerous competitor when armed properly. By rushing Tom Brady often and knocking him around a bit, it causes the four-time Super Bowl Champion to feel exceedingly pressured to release the football as quick as possible. Gronk is strong, Gronk is fast but at 6-foot-6, and 265 pounds you can only get so far down the field so fast.  It takes many men to make an offense run at optimal level, the young offensive line need to do their part in keeping Tom Brady safe. If Brady is kept on his feet, the Quarterback can find Gronkowski with ease.

Rex Ryan answered comically but truthfully when asked how he planned to cover Gronk. “We’re not going to ask one guy to cover him,” Ryan said “Yeah, he’d have to look like King Kong.” Rest easy though Pats fans, if Rex does in fact double team Gronkowski, New England has another Tight End that can hopefully fill in admirably in the red zone, Scott Chandler. In no uncertain terms should wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola be over looked in this offense, but let’s be realistic, without Rob Gronkowski, their jobs become that much harder to perform.

Sunday will of course be a very interesting tale of football. Will Rex Ryan finally put forth a dominant display of offensive/defensive strategy against the New England Patriots, echoing his week one victory and cementing the Buffalo Bills as a legitimate AFC rival? Or will Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots continue to ride Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to AFC domination?

2015 NFL Season: Week 2 Picks

We are now out of the least meaningful week in the NFL season. Hurray! I went 9-6-1 against the spread last week, and admittedly botched a couple games badly. My biggest advice to you is this: don’t be that guy that overreacts to Week 1. Remember, the Patriots, Packers, Colts, Cowboys, and Ravens all lost in Week 1 last year, and all five of those teams made the playoffs. There are a few things I was very wrong on though, and I will go into those. Let’s start with last night.

Last week I wrote to pick the Broncos in every game the first half of the season and pick against them in every game the second half of the season. I went against my own rule last night, picking the Chiefs (-3), and of course got burned. But I stand by that pick. Look, everybody is going to make all the excuses they possibly can for Peyton Manning. I applaud Jim Nantz and Phil Simms for figuring out a way to blame everything possible for Peyton Manning’s struggles besides Peyton Manning. It’s his new offense, it’s the offensive line, it’s the play calling, it’s the blitzes by the Chiefs, blah, blah, blah. I love Peyton, I think he’s a great dude and a top 3 quarterback of all time. But it’s done. He can’t put a whole game together right now, let alone a whole season. Yes, give him credit for getting through that game last night. But let’s be honest, he had two good drives. When his first read was open, and he got rid of the ball in two seconds or less, he was fine. He looked a little bit like the old Peyton. But if the pass rush was able to even get close to him, he missed the throw, usually badly. Sometimes he had time, and still floated a throw five yards away from his receiver. His arm has never been great, now it’s below average.

Give credit to an incredible Bronco defense, and say thank you to the Chiefs for playing so terribly. It’s not just that they had five turnovers, it’s that every one of those turnovers seemed to come at the worst time. Jamaal Charles fumbled inside the ten, costing them a field goal. Alex Smith’s first interception pretty much gave Denver a touchdown. His second interception came when they were driving down the field. And then of course there was the Charles fumble returned for the winning touchdown with under a minute left. The only non-costly turnover was the fumbled punt, which gave the Broncos the ball around the 30, and they missed a 4th and 1 instead of kicking a field goal. I’m going to hurt my head if I keep writing about this, so let’s just go to this week’s picks. Home teams are in all caps.

Houston (+3) over PANTHERS

The Panthers won last week because they played the Jaguars. The Jaguars scored nine points, because that’s what they do. The Texans certainly have some huge quarterback issues right now, and I think eventually they’ll settle on the more talented Ryan Mallett. They need to get that quarterback situation figured out, because J.J. Watt looks a little less terrifying when he’s down by 20 points. The Panthers offense struggled last week, they will again against a great Texans defense. This one’s easy.

STEELERS (-6) over 49ers

Can there be a less impressive 20-3 win than what the 49ers had late Monday night? I’ll be honest, that second Monday night game on opening weekend is always one of the worst games of the year. The Vikings offense was horrible, and San Francisco couldn’t move the ball consistently. I still think the Steelers are going to be really good. They didn’t play well against the Patriots, but a lot of people don’t. Big Ben still won’t have Bryant or Bell this week, but he’ll have a lot more success against the 49ers than Teddy Bridgewater did. Don’t forget, Pittsburgh moved the ball pretty well between the 20s in New England, they just couldn’t finish drives. They will this week.

Buccaneers (+10) over SAINTS

I know Jameis Winston and his offense looked terrible last week, and the Tampa defense gave up 4 touchdowns to Mariota in his first career game, but a 10 point spread is too much for me in an NFL game. The Bucs should get Mike Evans back this week, and that’s huge for a rookie quarterback. The Saints will move the ball well, but they weren’t great against the Cardinals, and I don’t expect them to cover.

Lions (+2.5) over VIKINGS

Forget everything I said about the Vikings last week. They still have a lot to improve on. Carlos Hyde ran all over them. Bridgewater was horrible against what was essentially a brand new defense. They couldn’t move the ball at all. The Lions had a pretty big collapse in San Diego, look for them to be motivated playing a Vikings team on a short week and I expect them to win rather handily.

Cardinals (-2) over BEARS

I’m really only giving the Bears two points in this game? Ok. The Packers beat them by eight and they didn’t play well. Arizona always flies under the radar, and if their spreads are going to be this low all year, keep betting on them. Other than a running game, they have all the pieces. Give me the Cardinals going away in this one.

Patriots (-1) over BILLS

Do not, I repeat, do not overreact to week 1 from the Bills. Remember, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. I repeat, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. Now, give them some credit. They probably have the best defensive personnel in the NFL, and now they have one of the best defensive coaches in the league. But seriously, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see what Rex comes up with to cover Gronk, that’ll be the big difference between the Pats and Colts. Also, Rex probably has them thinking they’re going to win the Super Bowl after one week, so they’ll be in for a let down. Once again, don’t be that guy that overreacts to week 1.

Chargers (+3) over BENGALS

I feel a little weird picking all of these road teams, but I’m not going to put a ton of stock into what the Bengals did last week. The Chargers were impressive in their comeback last week. Like I said, I’m expecting Philip Rivers to have a big year, he’s extremely motivated after all the rumors that swirled around him this offseason. Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are rising stars. Give me San Diego in this one.

BROWNS (+1) over Titans

Mariota is definitely due for a letdown this week. After being that good in his debut, he can only go down from here. Give him a full season, maybe two or three before we crown him as the savior. Yes, I’m picking the Browns this week. What am I doing? I’ll take the home team getting points, yes, even if it’s the Browns.

GIANTS (-2.5) over Falcons

Despite how horribly they botched the 1st and goal from the one last Sunday, I think the Giants showed some good things. That defense can be good, they have a very good tandem of corners in DRC and Prince Amukamara. The Falcons were good, but they still were a missed field goal from blowing that game. I’ll take the Giants at home with Atlanta coming off a short week.

Rams (-3.5) over REDSKINS

I’m pretty nervous with this one, it seems way too obvious. I feel like a lot of people are going to jump on the Ram’s bandwagon after last week, and I don’t feel good about putting a lot of faith in Nick Foles. But the Redskins are not good. a 17-10 home loss was impressive for them. Their quarterback situation is a mess, the RG3 soap opera is still hanging around them, and I don’t think Jay Gruden is going to be a very good coach. I’ll take the Rams to cover, but expect it to be low scoring.

Dolphins (-6) over JAGUARS

I might end up picking against the Jaguars every game this year. Seriously, what is there to like? Blake Bortles is not good. Julius Thomas is already wasting away in this offense. There’s no offensive line or running game to speak of. The defense is nothing special. What am I supposed to like? The Dolphins should bounce back after struggling with the Redskins. And might I point out that despite struggling, they still covered. They’ll cover easily in this one.

RAIDERS (+6.5) over Ravens

I’m crazy for picking this, but I’m not going to jump ship on the Raiders after one week. The Ravens offensive line is horrible right now. I know they were facing a terrific pass rush in Denver, and an underrated defensive tackle in Malik Jackson, but they couldn’t run the ball to save their lives. The only time they moved the ball down field at all was their final drive running the two-minute drill. The Raiders will be ok. They still have a ways to go, but give them some time before you say they are as bad as they usually are. I’ll give them this one at home with the Ravens making the cross-country flight.

EAGLES (-5) over Cowboys

This line is a little big for me, but I really like the Eagles in this one. Their offense will be explosive. I think after reviewing the film Chip Kelly will realize he needs to run the ball more, and they’ll do really well with that. Sam Bradford found his groove in the 2nd half and looked really good when he did. Their secondary looked bad, but should gain some confidence against a depleted Dallas receiving core. As much as I love the Cowboy’s offensive line, their running game was not good last Sunday. I’ll take the Eagles to cover at home here.

PACKERS (-3.5) over Seahawks

This is a tough one to pick, but Green Bay is playing really well right now. The Seahawks’ offensive line didn’t look very good against St. Louis. Russell Wilson had no time to let deep routes develop. The absence of Kam Chancellor matters, don’t kid yourself. Aaron Rodgers walked right into Seattle in the NFC Championship last year and should’ve beat them on one leg. I’ll take the Packers right now in Lambeau.

COLTS (-7) over Jets

Yes the Jets were good on Sunday, but yes it was against the Browns. This Colts offense should get right back on track. Remember, they were playing at Buffalo, against the best defense in the league. That’s right Seattle, the Bills are the best defense in the league, at the moment. I expect Andrew Luck to get back on track, and I don’t see any reason the Jets should score enough points to cover.

If you’re a college football fan or just a degenerate gambler who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. My picks for this week are: Louisiana Tech (+9), Ole Miss (+6.5), Purdue (+6), Cal (-6), TCU (-37.5), Colorado State, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska straight up.

For more useless sports banter, follow me on Twitter @rory_maccallum

NFL Record: 9-7-1

College Football Record: 5-3-0

New England vs Buffalo: Tyrod Taylor could be a headache in the making

The Patriots will be facing off against the Buffalo Bills this week after both teams won in their week one matchups. A key factor in the Bills win against the Colts was due to the strong play of quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

profootballtalk.nbcsports.com
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

In the past the Patriots have tended to struggle defensively against mobile, speedy quarterbacks and Taylor is just that. Against the Colts Taylor was 14 of 19 passing with 195 yards and a touchdown, adding 41 yards on the ground. Taylor’s mobility helped him move around the pocket and extend plays. His speed and mobility also opened things up for the offense because of his ability to run the option and draw defenders off his offensive weapons.

New Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan knows from his tenure with the Jets that the Patriots have struggled against mobile quarterbacks and has had some success because of it. In the Patriots-Jets first meeting last season, Jets quarterback Geno Smith ran for 37 yards on seven carries and Smiths running ability almost lead to a New York Jets come from behind victory, before Chris Jones blocked a field goal to end the game. In 2013 against the Patriots Smith ran for a combined 50 yards on nine carries, and added a touchdown on the ground. The team also struggled in the Super Bowl with Russell Wilson rushing for 39 yards on three attempts. Rex Ryan has had some success against the Patriots’ defense in the past and knows the team’s weakness and where to attack, especially with the speed and skill set that Tyrod Taylor possesses.

bostonglobe.com
bostonglobe.com

Another reason why Taylor could give New England problems on Sunday is because of his lack of experience. Yes I know this sounds odd but with Taylor’s only career start coming last week against Indianapolis and with limited playing time during the Bills quarterback battle this preseason, there is not much film on Taylor which can make it hard to game plan against. With no film it can be hard to pinpoint weaknesses in Taylor’s game, especially coming off a strong performance last week. I expect the Patriots defense to be better prepared for Taylor than Indianapolis was and for Taylor to not have as good a performance this week that he did last. With that being said, Taylor’s skill set is something Patriots fans should still be worried about with all the different ways that he could beat a team.

I would expect the team to use a quarterback spy on Taylor such as Jamie Collins or Rob Ninkovich. Collins or Ninkovich do not possess the pure speed and quickness that Taylor does but they are both extremely smart, athletic players who could follow Taylor around the field and stop him from breaking off long runs. This would also allow defenders to stay on their man to eliminate potential targets. Ninkovich played a spy role in the Super Bowl against Russell Wilson at times and proved to stop him from scrambling as much and made one of the biggest plays in the game when he sacked Wilson late in the fourth quarter when spying Wilson.

via gazettenet.com
via gazettenet.com

This weekends game between the Patriots and the Bills could shape up to be one of the best games of the regular season. A huge key to victory for the Patriots is slowing down this Tyrod Taylor led Bills offense.

NFL Recap: 5 Things We Learned from Week 1

NFL football season is underway with week one’s slate of games finishing up on Monday Night Football, and the viewers got a good chunk of entertainment, surprises, and sloppiness. With it all, NFL fans everywhere learned more about teams, players and possible season outlooks.

1. The New England Patriots came out with a vengeance.

The New England Patriots are winning, no new news there. But we’re going to be seeing the Patriots use a mantra we have not heard since Spygate, “It’s us versus the world.” Off the heals of Deflategate and Tom Brady’s suspension, we saw the Patriots play with such ferocity and intensity in their season opener versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though the final score was 28-21, the game was very much dominated by the Patriots. Tom Brady went 25/32 for 288 yards and four touchdown passes. The narrative of the Patriots dominating their opponents could be commonly heard throughout the season, and the “us versus the world” mantra could very well give them even more motivation to make another Super Bowl run. Also, don’t mess with an angry Tom Brady.

2Marcus Mariota is the real deal

Marcus Mariota, the number two pick in the draft, impressed in his first career start. In fact, impressed was an understatement. Mariota was historic and near-perfect in his debut as the Tennessee Titans squandered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-14. Mariota threw for 13/16 for 209 yards and four touchdown passes. What’s significant about the four touchdown passes is that they all came in the first half. The feat of a rookie throwing four touchdowns in his opener has not been done since Fran Tarkenton in 1965. With the impressive debut, it has essentially eliminated the talk of Mariota only being a system quarterback under Oregon’s fast-paced spread offense, and also eliminated the questions of Mariota possibly struggling to adjust to a pro-style offense.

3. Jameis Winston on the other hand, needs more improvement

Number one pick Jameis Winston, however, struggled and at times looked inept in his debut. His debut went south quickly when his first career past was intercepted and returned for a pick-six. Winston completed lest than 50% percent of his passes as he went 16/33 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. But with those two touchdowns, Winston threw two interceptions. However, it is too early to be hitting the panic button on Jameis yet. Winston is playing behind a shaky offensive line, and was also missing key receiver Mike Evans. However, that is not an excuse for having trouble in finding rhythm with throwing to them. As the season progresses, hopefully he should improve.

4. Maybe Johnny Manziel does have a chance.

After a disastrous rookie season, many began to write off Johnny Manziel as a bust. After checking into rehab, and a successful off-season of growth, a spark of hope was ignited when the Cleveland Browns opened up the season in New York against the Jets. After starter Josh McCown got lit up and sent out of the game with a concussion, Johnny football stepped in. Immediately, he made an impact by throwing a 54 yard bomb for a touchdown. However, the positives would shy away as the Jets force an interception and a couple of fumbles from Manziel during a 31-10 rout. Manziel finished 13/24 for 182 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Though they may not seem like big stats, it is a vast improvement over his rookie season. If he does start week two in place of a concussed Josh McCown, expect him to put up bigger numbers and seize the opportunity. Johnny Manziel has changed, and has improved.

5. It’s going to be a season of chaos

The Buffalo Bills beat the Indianapolis Colts. The St. Louis Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks. Those results should not have happened. But yet the underdog came out on top. And it is only a sign of things to come. This NFL season is going to be a season of twists, turns, and most importantly chaos. Teams that we thought were juggernauts, will stumble and fall and get upset. Peyton Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass, Marshawn Lynch couldn’t run one yard to convert a first down, the San Francisco 49ers won despite being cast off due to the tumultuous off-season. Everyone better buckle up, because of what happened in week one, this season is going to be the year of chaos.

Billseye: Is Rex Ryan Buffalo’s White Knight?

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Since 2001, the Buffalo Bills have a long history of being the New England Patriots’ two additional Bi-weeks in the AFC East. Occasionally the Bills give The Patriots a challenge and on five separate occasions have actually beaten the Super Bowl Champions during the Tom Brady era. The Bills were even seen celebrating as though they had won the Super Bowl last year when they were able to defeat the Patriots practice squad during the meaningless season finale of 2014. Yes, its typically a safe bet that the Buffalo Bills will always struggle to compete with New England’s gridiron gang.

Last season head coach of the New York Jet’s, Rex Ryan, was finally driven out of Gotham in favor of Todd Bowles.  Ryan had been a fixture in New York for six years with his brash and often boisterous demeanor winning over the Jet’s fan base and the players alike. Rex initially excited many Jet’s fans with his cocky attitude because after the long forgotten Super Bowl winning year of “Broadway” Joe Namath, the Jets never really had anything to ever get excited about. Immediately taking aim at the king pins of the AFC East, Rex was quick to point out that “I am not here to kiss anybody’s rings” when discussing Bill Belichick and the dominant New England Patriots.

Initially, Ryan had quite a bit of success with the New York Jets. Led by an all star defense with the likes of linebacker Bart Scott, center Nick Mangold and superstar cornerback, Darrelle Revis and an offense led by rookie sensation Mark Sanchez, the Jets defeated the Patriots in their first meeting 16-9. What was most impressive by that victory is that the Patriots did not even score a touchdown.
The New York Jets made it all the way to the 2009 AFC Championship that year losing to the Peyton Manning led Indianapolis Colts. In 2010 The New York Jets continued their winning ways splitting wins with Patriots during the season and in the playoffs defeating both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on their home turf to once again make it to the AFC Championship. Although the Jets once again looked poised to make a run at the Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers promptly put a stop to those plans. With two straight AFC championship appearances, it looked as those New York had finally had its hero that could end the reign of the New England Patriot dominance of the AFC East.

For the New York Jets and Rex Ryan this story would of course not have a happy ending. After 2010, the Jets were never able to make it back to playoff contention and amidst injuries, Butt Fumbles and Quarterback controversies became the joke of the NFL. Meanwhile, their lowly brethren in Buffalo were slowly stock piling defensive pieces like Defensive end Mario Williams and Defensive tackle Kyle Williams. After drafting promising rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins in 2014, the Bills were a decent quarterback and coach combo away from being a legitimate threat to the AFC east.
In a perfect storm of convenience, Rex Ryan found himself in need of a team just as Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone vacated his position. At first it was widely believed that Rex was holding out for the Atlanta Falcons head coaching job, but the defensive guru swerved us all and ended up as head coach for the offensively impotent Buffalo Bills.

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With the offensive additions of the always disgruntled wide receiver Percy Harvin and star running back LeSean McCoy, the once languishing Buffalo Bills have begun to look like a formidable opponent for the first time in many years. What about a quarterback? Currently Buffalo boasts three; five year NFL journeyman, Tyrod Taylor, 2013 first round draft pick, EJ Manuel and one time Tom Brady back up, Matt Cassel. Let’s be clear, none of these men are in the same category as a Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers but it would be foolish to dismiss the victory Buffalo scored on Sunday by decimating early Super Bowl favorite, Indianapolis Colts, 27 – 14.

With the help of possibly the best defense in the NFL, Tyrod Taylor proved capable during his Buffalo debut under center. With the impressive showing Rex Ryan’s defense displayed it is quite possible he may finally have the Patriots number come this Sunday. Is a stellar defense, a coach with proven past success and and a serviceable quarterback enough to stop the reigning, defending Super Bowl champions? Nobody can say for certain , but let’s just say it is not 2009 anymore.

New England Patriots: An Early Look At The Buffalo Bills For Patriots Fans

New England Patriots fans had the luxury of having their team play the first game of the NFL season on Thursday night, where their team won fairly easy over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-21. Fans of the team had the entire weekend to enjoy the victory, and watch the rest of the league all day on Sunday. Now, the page has turned and it is, “On to Buffalo.” With Tom Brady starting under center, the Patriots are 23-3 against the Buffalo Bills. However, don’t let the statistics fool you, the Buffalo Bills are always a very formidable opponent, especially when the game is in Western New York.

On Sunday, the Bills took down the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 27-14, and it really wasn’t even that close. The Bills proved that they have a stout front seven, along with a power running game, and solid quarterback play from Tyrod Taylor. Rex Ryan took advantage of the softness of the Colts and kept Andrew Luck on his heels, forcing him to make bad decisions. In addition, his team played with a real swagger and toughness, not afraid to lay the boom.

In the ground game, Karlos Williams ran for fifty-five yards on six carries, with a touchdown. New addition Lesean McCoy ran for forty-one yards on seventeen attempts. Expect to see a better McCoy this weekend as he is still recovering from an injury. That is nerve-racking for a Patriots fan, due to the fact that the Steelers and DeAngelo Williams ran the ball all over their team in week one for 127 yards.

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Tyrod Taylor did not have much expectation going into the week one matchup, but he showed some of the skills that made him effective at Virginia Tech. He finished the day, fourteen of nineteen, for one-hundred ninety-five yards, and one beautiful long touchdown pass to Percy Harvin. Harvin finished with five receptions, for seventy-nine yards and that one touchdown.

The Patriots will need to have all their pieces aligned this weekend when they travel to the always raucous Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. The one thing that fans should be most worry-some about heading into this match up is the rotation of the offensive line. Against the Steelers, Bill Belichick rotated Nate Solder in and out along with Tre’ Jackson, Josh Kline and others.

Last September when the Patriots offensive line was at an all-time low of the Belichick era, one of the main causes was the rotation. The team struggled to get any groove and continuity going until week six. The offensive line held up in week one, against an average at best Pittsburgh front seven that is no longer a, “Steel Curtain.” Now they are going up against possibly the best defensive front in the National Football League. Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, and Kyle Williams will be some of the players looking to make Tom Brady familiar with the turf.

buffalobills.com
buffalobills.com

The Buffalo secondary is decent at best, and Rex Ryan will be focusing on getting his defensive lineman into the backfield. The Patriots and Tom Brady need to thrive in the short passing game. Therefore, use Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis to your advantage moving the ball up and down the field gradually. Of course, in the red zone spread the two tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler out wide and simply out size the Bill defense.

It will certainly be a very tough match up for the Patriots this coming Sunday. It has to be one of the three toughest games on the schedule. There will for sure be more analysis on the Bills throughout this week as we get the chance to break down their film from their week one match up. For now though, know that their front seven is elite, they will try to run it down the Patriots throat, and it will be one of the most hostile environments the Patriots will play in all season.

2015 AFC Regular Season And Playoff Predictions

With the preseason now in the rear view mirror, as well as deflate gate and the seven month circus that it was, we can now shift our focus from courtrooms and un-drafted players, to what really matters. Regular season games, and the road to Santa Clara for Super Bowl 50. Many are under the impression that there is no clear favorite in the AFC right now. There are a few teams that look to be contenders, but not one sure fire team like in years past. Here is my full prediction for each division and playoff matchup.

AFC East:                                                                                                                                                                                             New England Patriots (12-4): Overall I have been underwhelmed by the Patriots this preseason. With the entire team and region ready to run through a brick wall for Tom Brady on Thursday, I believe they will take that game. After that they have two tough games in Buffalo and in Dallas two weeks later. With the secondary and offensive line going through significant changes, don’t be surprised if they get off to another two and two start, like they did last year. Nevertheless, the Patriots under Bill Belichick have always been dominant in the second half of the season, so expect them to bounce back and win the division.

Buffalo Bills (10-6): The Buffalo defense was already stacked as it was, and now add a defensive guru such as Rex Ryan to the mix, they can give any quarterback major headaches. Also, the Buffalo offense is full of offensive fire power and speed. Lesean McCoy in the backfield, Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin at receiver, and a speedy quarterback like Tyrod Taylor will keep any defense on their heels. However, Rex Ryan has never been a quarterback whisperer and starting an unproven player such as Taylor could be risky.

New York Jets (7-9): On paper, the Jets have an outstandingly talented roster. Their cornerback depth chart headed by Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie may be the best in the league. Brandon Marshall is also a big addition on offense. The Jets have a very similar problem as the Bills, they don’t have a quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been average to sub par in his career, and Geno Smith put himself out for the first ten weeks by getting himself punched in the face. With a first year head coach in Todd Bowles, the personalities on that roster could take over and not allow the team to capitalize on their potential.

Miami Dolphins (7-9): The Miami Dolphins were not shy in spending money this offseason, giving out mega contracts to Ryan Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh. It is great to sustain and add talent, however when you give out those deals it can leave you vulnerable at other positions. For example, their offensive line has been below average for the past few seasons, and how good is a twenty-million dollar quarterback when you can’t protect him. In addition, Joe Philipin may be on his last leg with the team.

cbssports.com
cbssports.com

AFC North:

Baltimore Ravens (11-5): If there is one team in the National Football League, besides the Patriots, that you can always count on being in at least the divisional round, it would be the Ravens. Say what you want about John Harbaugh’s personality, he is a great coach and his team fears no opponent. They will continue to have a stout defensive front and a run heavy offense, along with the always postseason reliable Joe Flacco. Count on them playing late in January.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7): The Steelers have been a very difficult team to predict the past couple of seasons. It looked as if they finally turned the corner last season when they won the division with a fantastic offensive year. However, they came out flat and lost in the wild card round at home against arch rival Baltimore. This season, they are facing a lot of turnaround on defense with long-time veterans in the secondary, Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu retiring. Also, key pieces on offense Le’veon Bell and Martavius Bryant are suspended early on. It will be a bit of a set back year in Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Over the past four seasons, the Bengals have been almost identical to the team the year before. They are a tough team up front on defense, with an average offense with a fragile superstar in AJ Green, and an inconsistent quarterback with Andy Dalton. Nevertheless, in the playoffs they never cease to amaze when they upset fans in the wild card round with their lack luster performance. I find it hard to believe that they will make it to the playoffs this season due to the increase in talent around them.

Cleveland Browns (6-10): Last year at this time I was all in on the Browns. Now they are just viewed as a bottom dweller once again. The Johnny Manziel hype has died out very quickly, and besides him there isn’t much on that team that is interesting. The defense has some young talent in Barkevious Mingo and Joe Haden along with others, but it has yet to translate to the field.

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 21: at Heinz Field on December 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

AFC South:

Indianapolis Colts (12-4): The Colts have been the talk of the town in the AFC over this past offseason. With the additions of veterans such as Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, many are claiming them as Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. Although, not much has been made about their lack of defense. Their past two seasons have ended in Foxborough in January because they can’t stop the run. They did not address that need this offseason, and one of their best run stoppers, Arthur Jones, is out for the season with a torn ligament in his ankle. The offense will be among the tops in the league, but it will be tough for their defense to hold up in the key situations in the playoffs.

Houston Texans (10-6): The Texans flew under the radar last season going 9-7 and just barely missing the playoffs. This year Bill O’Brien will have them as one of the forces in the AFC, and defensive coordinator Romeo Crenell may have the best unit in the league. JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Vince Wilfork, and Brian Cushing are just a few names on a defense that will be a force to be reckoned with. They certainly will give Andrew Luck headaches. The quarterback position is a question mark with Brian Hoyer as the starter, but Bill O’Brien is a very good offensive mind and can put things together.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Blake Bortles is a promising young quarterback, however he does not have much if not anything around him. The team added tight end Julius Thomas in the offseason, but he will be out for the first few weeks of the season due to injury. Also, his numbers may have been inflated because of the offense he was on in Denver. Jacksonville has a good young roster, they might just be a year or two away.

Tennessee Titans (4-12): The Tennessee Titans selected Marcus Mariota with the second pick in the 2015 draft, and they want him to be the quarterback that will take them to the top. Well, they need to begin to add pieces around him before they can truly be a relevant team in the AFC. His character and toughness will be tested early in his career as his team will struggle.

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AFC West: 

Denver Broncos (11-5): Most media members are counting the Denver Broncos out of the AFC championship race. That is the wrong move. Peyton Manning may be a terrible postseason quarterback, but he is more than likely the best ever when it comes to the regular season. Manning has a plethora of targets that include elite receivers such as Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Also, Peyton has help in the running game now with CJ Anderson and Montee Ball. In addition, the defense is stacked and should be in the top five overall. It won’t be like the late 90’s Broncos with Elway, Sharper, and Davis, but it will be enough to get them a home playoff game.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7): The Chiefs are a sleeper team right now in the AFC. The addition of Jeremy Maclin will compliment the speed of Jamaal Charles very nicely. Their defense is also very good up front lead by Justin Houston and Dontarie Poe. Also, Eric Berry returning will be an emotional lift and on field. He is one of, if not the best safety in the game. The Chiefs also have one of the best coaches in the game with Andy Reid, that can never go unmentioned.

San Diego Chargers (9-7): When you have an elite quarterback such as Philip Rivers as your starter, you will be able to compete for a playoff chance almost every season. The Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon in the first round of this year’s draft and many believe that he can be the next Jamaal Charles. The defense does not have a ton of talent, but they played very hard and physical last season. That will be essential when going up against divisional opponents such as Kansas City and Denver.

Oakland Raiders (6-10): Last season, the Raiders lost their first ten games of the season. They finished with three wins, and fought hard against almost every team they faced in the last half of the season. They now have Jack Del Rio as a head coach. He has always been known to be able to put together a solid defense. The Oakland defense is swimming with young talent. Offensively, the Derek Carr to Amari Cooper connection is one to keep an eye on in the coming years. Again, another team that may be just a year away.

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AFC Playoffs:

Wild Card Round: 6. Houston over 3. Denver, 4. Baltimore over 5. Buffalo

Divisional Round: 1. New England over 6. Houston, 4. Baltimore over 2. Indianapolis.

AFC Championship: 4. Baltimore over 1. New England

As a diehard New Englander, this pains me to write. The Patriots somehow managed to stay very healthy, (with the exception of Jerod Mayo) last season. No serious injuries were suffered to Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, or a defensive stars such as Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, or Devin McCourty. It is hard to think that nothing will happen to any of those players this upcoming season. Furthermore, the losses of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington, and Vince Wilfork will be greatly missed in the postseason. In addition, the Ravens have no fear going into Gillette, and this rivalry tends to be back and forth. I hope I am wrong, but as of right now I see the Baltimore Ravens representing the AFC in Super Bowl 50.

AFC East Breakdown and Predictions: Will The Patriots Success Continue?

The AFC East for a long stretch of time has been ragged on for not being very relevant, outside of the New England Patriots. Some followers have discounted the Patriots reign of success because of the lack of competitors in the division. However, this past offseason there was a great amount of turnaround on all four teams within the division, which should make things a lot more interesting this upcoming season. So without further a due, here is my full breakdown of each team in the AFC East, with with a prediction of their final record and playoff standing.

New England Patriots: Once again the New England Patriots enter the season as the favorites to win the AFC East. Nevertheless, with the departures of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington the secondary is now a work-in-progress that could cost the team some games early on in the season. In addition, with Vince Wilfork signing with the Houston Texans and Dan Connolly retiring, both sides of the line of scrimmage are in a transition period with a lot of young players that are still a bit unknown.

If the Patriots offensive line can figure out some early struggles, like they did very well last year, the offense as a whole should be very explosive. With weapons such as Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon LaFell all with at least a year or more in the Patriots system under their belt, the offense should be able to move the ball up and down the field very effectively.

Also, the offense should not have to pick up the slack for the defense constantly if the front seven of the defense lives up to their potential. With young talented players on the rise like Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Jabaal Sheard, along with unproven players such as Dominique Easley and Chandler Jones with potentially high ceilings the front could carry the defense and allow Bill Belichick to, “turn the dogs loose.” Something they haven’t been able to do for a long stretch of time.

Prediction: 12-4, second spot in AFC Playoffs.

Buffalo Bills: Certainly one of the most talked about teams in the offseason, the Buffalo Bills are now filled with all sorts of bravado with new head coach Rex Ryan. Buffalo added tons of fire power on offense, with continued additions to their already strong defense. With Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus plugging up the interior, with an extremely talented player such as Jerry Hughes coming off the edge, the Bills should cause all sorts of headaches for opposing quarterbacks. The secondary still has some question marks in Buffalo, but Rex Ryan has been known to make up for a weak secondary with his phenomenal pass rush.

The Bills offense can be described with in one word, speed. With speedy wide receivers such as olympic track star Marquise Goodwin, along with Percy Harvin, and future superstar Sammy Watkins the passing game has some burners that can really stretch the field. To add to the insanely fast wide receivers, the Bills added Lesean McCoy via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. McCoy along with grizzled veteran Fred Jackson will contribute greatly to Rex Ryan’s run heavy offense. Also, McCoy can come out of the backfield and be effective in the passing game.

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The biggest question for the Bills this season is the quarterback position. A three-way competition has spurred throughout training camp between Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, and Tyrod Taylor. None of those three will strike great fear in any opposing team, especially the New England Patriots who are their biggest competition in the division. Unfortunately, their lack of quarterback talent will lead to their offense not reaching their full potential.

Prediction: 10-6, sixth spot in AFC Playoffs.

New York Jets: Much like the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets have added a lot of new talent to the roster along with some old friends. The biggest additions of course being Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Brandon Marshall. In addition, the Jets now have a Todd Bowles as head coach who was the architect of the defense in Arizona that is now one of the league’s best.

On offense, the Jets have a plethora of weapons starting with an elite wide receiver such as Brandon Marshall whom they acquired through a trade with the Chicago Bears this past offseason. Marshall is a freakish athlete that is a threat to score anytime he is on the field. The only problem is keeping his head on straight.

nypost.com
nypost.com

To compliment Marshall the Jets have a solid veteran in Eric Decker and promising rookie Devin Smith, who was a great player on Ohio State’s national championship team last year. Again, the Jets biggest question mark will come at the quarterback position. With Geno Smith now out for a long stretch of time, the team will have to rely on veteran cast off Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead them. That is something that fans of the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans will tell you not to be over confident about.

On defense, the Jets have possibly more all around talent than any team in the National Football League. When you have the best cornerback in the game in Darrelle Revis on your roster, you can do all sorts of things because he essentially takes away the opposing offenses number one target. On the other side of Revis, the Jets have Pro-Bowler Antonio Cromartie who is also a menace for quarterbacks and wide receivers to deal with.

Based off of those two players alone the Jets should have a top three secondary. In addition to their secondary, the front seven of the Jets will be one that can get to the quarterback. With Muhammed Wilkerson coming off the edge, and first-round pick Leonard Williams who was considered to be the best overall player in the draft.

In the end however, the Jets will probably not live up to there potential simply because they are the Jets and their locker room is already starting to collapse. With Sheldon Richardson likely out for the season because of his antics, and Geno Smith not commanding the respect of his teammates, Todd Bowles already seems to be letting the inmates run the asylum. That is something that has not bode well for former head coaches of the NYJ.

Prediction: 7-9, Miss playoffs.

Miami Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins have given the New England Patriots the biggest run for their money over the past couple of seasons. Head coach Joe Philibin has been able to keep his team in the playoff race until mid December, and then his squad falls apart. This was never more evident than last December when they had a chance to make a statement against the Patriots in Foxborough. The Dolphins came out with zero energy and fell flat on their face getting walloped by a score of 41-13.

This past March, Miami made arguably the biggest move of the offseason by signing perennial Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a six-year, 114 million dollar contract. Their defensive line should be able to get in the backfield with ease with Cameron Wake coming off the edge, and Suh up the middle.

cbssports.com
cbssports.com

Furthermore, the Phins extended fourth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a six-year 97 million dollar contract extension. Therefore, the Dolphins are spending big cash to protect their most valuable assets.

However, when you spend big money like that you can be left vulnerable at other positions. For example, Miami continues to have a weak offensive line, in a division with three stout defensive fronts. What good is your expensive quarterback if you cannot keep him upright. Also, the Dolphins offense is not exactly filled with offensive power, and Tannehill is not the type of player that can make players around him exceedingly better.

Overall, the Miami Dolphins on paper seem to have a very talented roster, but they just don’t have the coaching. That will be proven this year once again when Miami fans are disappointed that their team is golfing in January once again.

Prediction: 7-9, Miss Playoffs.

Deconstructing the AFC East: The Buffalo Bills

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The Bills are looking for their first playoff appearance since the Music City Miracle in January 2000 (Think about that for a second) and the optimism is high in Western New York. They have a coach with enough gumption and bravado in Rex Ryan that wants to return Buffalo to the Jim Kelly/Thurman Thomas/Andre Reed days. After having the 5th ranked defense last year, the Bills will move to a 3-4 and try to create a “bully”. Should the Patriots be scared?

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Reasons why they should be:

The Bills defensive line is a scary quartet. Mario Williams is an incredible edge defender and is a very good pass rusher (14.5 sacks in 2014), Marcel Dareus is a dominant tackle is who is just as good at rushing the passer (10 sacks) as stopping the run. Kyle Williams is quietly a dominant run defender and a leader on the team and Jerry Hughes has come into his own as one of the most dangerous edge rushers in football. Stephon Gilmore is one the best shut down corners in football. On offense, Sammy Watkins had almost a 1000 yards as a rookie with shoddy QB play and the additions of RB LeSean McCoy and TE Charles Clay has gave the Bills more weapons than they’ve had in recent years. WR Robert Woods is a competent #2 wide out and Percy Harvin is one of the most dangerous gadget players in the game. He automatically gives them a dangerous returner and is a threat every time he touches the ball. If they get at least somewhat competent QB play, they should be one of the best teams not only in the AFC East, but in football.

Reasons why they shouldn’t:

The QB play. The trio of Matt Cassell, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor leaves a lot to be desired. Like the old adage says: if you have 2 QB’s, you have no QB’s. Well, the Bills have 3, so the adage still applies. Ryan has boasted a playbook that is 75% run. No team can survive doing that, no matter who is their running back. Even if you could do that, you have to have a great offensive line…which the Bills don’t have. With only one really good starter (LT Cordy Glenn is a stud) and an average/above average C in Eric Wood, the Bills are still trying to find the other 3 starters. They are banking on 32 year old Richie Incognito, who has been out of football for a year, to be their anchor inside (which is telling) and 5th year pro Kraig Urbik and rookie John Miller battling out for the RG spot. Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio are battling out for the RT spot and Henderson was one of the worst RT’s in league last year. Unless they can fix the offensive line, it won’t matter who’s at running back, quarterback or wide receiver, the team isn’t going anywhere.

It’s perplexing to change a defense that was so dominant last year, yet Buffalo has fallen for Ryan’s hubris and arrogance and is changing their defense. Their line backing corps leaves a lot to be desired. Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown will be their ILB’s and are solid, yet unspectacular. I don’t think that will be the problem more than the secondary. Aaron Williams is an average starter at SS and they moved Corey Graham, who was solid at CB to FS, which should make them competent, but who is starting opposite Gilmore? Leodis McKelvin is more of a nickel back at this point and rookie CB Ronald Darby/2nd year CB Ross Cockrell will battle for the other CB spot.

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What does all this mean? It means that for as much optimism there is, there are so plenty of concerns. Will they get a competent QB? Will the offensive line play better? Will the defense move to a 3-4 well enough? Can the defense carry the team to the playoffs? All these are viable questions that aren’t really going to be answered until the season starts. I think that the Pats have nothing to worry about when it comes to Buffalo as long as they are unsettled at QB and Rex Ryan continues to insist that running the ball is going to be what takes them to the next level. Could it work? Sure, but technically, it didn’t work with the Jets and it’s foolish to think that the Bills can do it with a lesser team than the Jets had when Rex took them to two back to back AFC Championship games. Initially, like in New York, the players will buy in early and then his personality will start rubbing guys the wrong way. Until they can prove that they not just run the ball, but throw it consistently, they will be an 8-8/9-7 team.