NFL 2012 SEASON PREVIEW-AFC EAST: Buffalo Bills
Last season, the Buffalo Bills came out of the locker room like gang busters to start the 2011 season.
They won their first 3 games, one of which was against the eventual AFC Champion New England Patriots, and won 5 of their first 7 games overall.
Apparently, that was enough for a team that has been irrelevant in the football world for quite some time to shell out a 6 year, $59 million extension to barely proven starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. That move back fired in a big way.
After their week 8 win that put them at 5-2, the Buffalo Bills lost 7 in a row and 8 of their final 9. What appeared to be a return to their 90’s prominence, went down in disasterous flames.
Their offensive team stats for 2011 were middle of the road. The Bills were 15th overall in passing yards per game, and 13th overall in rushing yards per game. Fred Jackson, despite going down for the year after a week 11 loss, emerged as a go to running back that finished with nearly a 1,000 yards in only 10 games.
Their defensive stats were abysmal. 19th in passing yards per game allowed, and 28th and rushing yards per game allowed simply are not going to get it done, ESPECIALLY when you don’t have a top 5 offense.
In an attempt to make sure their return to prominence sticks this season, the Bills made a HUGE splash on the free agent market by shelling out a 6 year, $100 million deal to former Houston Texans linebacker Mario Williams. The move proves that the Bills front office is serious about returning the Bills to their glory days, and the Bills are clearly attempting to do the right things for their fan base.
So will the addition of Mario Williams win them an AFC East title? NO CHANCE. Not as long as Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick are still alive and representing the New England Patriots. But their days as AFC East cellar dwellars could very well be over.
So what will it take to help them climb the standings? An approved rush defense, for one thing. Mario Williams should CERTAINLY help there unless he all of the sudden morphs into an Albert Haynesworth like fat cat that gets his paper, switches cities, and stinks it up big time. I don’t see that happening. The Bills rush defense will be improved. What would also help in a big way is for CJ Spiller to finally realize the potential that lead the Bills to select him top 10 3 years ago. Spiller was a do it all kind of offensive juggernaut at Clemson University that impacted the game running between the tackles, catching passes, and returning punts and kicks. It’s year 3 for CJ. Time to put up or shut up. He could be a Reggie Bush type of player.
The Bills 2012 schedule is fairly easy for the most part, and I believe that the Bills wills improve upon their 6-10 2011 record, but Bills fans don’t need to start pre-ordering their Super Bowl championship memorabilia, just yet.
PREDICTION: 9-7, 2nd in the AFC East