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Three thoughts for the Bills schedule

September 5, 2012

In an attempt to offer some thoughts on where I see the Bills season going, I will offer three thoughts for each game of the year. Rather than giving a firm prediction for each game I will simply say what should be expected from the Bills.  Hopefully this offers a little different take as compared to your typical season preview.

Week 1 @ New York Jets – The Jets seem to be awfully dysfunctional at this point, especially compared to the Bills as each team enters the regular season. New York still has an imposing defense that the Bills will need to contend with. Buffalo’s linebackers will be tested with WildJesus and the assumed running attack the Jets will need to lean on. How will they fare: They should win, but I can see the Jets defense giving them fits. Loss (0-1)

Week 2 vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Last year the Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles and then served for the coming out party for Buffalo’s offense. I gather Charles will be healthy and serve as a legitimate weapon that Buffalo will need to contain. If the Bills offense clicks in week one, this game could serve to create continued momentum for Buffalo. How will they fare: While KC will have far more weapons on both sides of the ball compared to last season, I still think the Bills roll. Win (1-1)

Week 3 @ Cleveland Browns – The Chiefs and Jets could both serve as more of a darkhorse than the Browns in terms of presenting the Bills with difficult matchups. Brandon Weeden could face a long day of pressure in the pocket and the Bills might just be able to stack against the run. Offensively, the Bills shouldn’t have too much trouble here. How will they fare: Cleveland is still finding their way out of the woods, this shouldn’t be too tough of a game. Win (2-1)

Week 4 vs. New England Patriots – New England remains New England for yet another season; this means both games will be shitty. Buffalo created havoc last year and pulled the upset at home and will need a similarly effective performance this fall. I think the key to this game will be in the trenches, whoever wins the battle at the line likely wins the game. How will they fare: I’m thinking loss. The Pats just have too many wrinkles on offense for the Bills to contain. (2-2)

Week 5 @ San Francisco 49ers – San Fran has a phenomenal defense and a couple of gamebreakers on offense, namely Frank Gore. Any run-heavy team could gash the Bills based on their linebackers, but the front four could potentially tip the scales the other way. For me, the key will be to control possession and move the ball effectively. How will they fare: Probably another loss, which doesn’t look good at this point. But the schedule gets easier after this week. (2-3)

Week 6 @ Arizona Cardinals – Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells certainly provide the Birds with a few weapons, sadly they don’t have a quarterback. This could be a game in which the Bills pass rush establishes pure dominance. A balanced offensive attack will likely grind the Cards into submission. How will they fare: Depending on health, this could be a big victory. (3-3)

Week 7 vs. Tennessee Titans – There are some lingering questions about Jake Locker and how he will run the Titans offense as the season opens. From the top down, the Bills would appear to have the edge in most categories. I would assume more will be known about how the Bills will make out as the game approaches. How will they fare: Unless Locker turns into Montana, the Bills should be in pretty good shape here. Win. (4-3)

Week 8 – Bye – Enjoy your time off

Week 9 @ Houston Texans – Houston is scary because of Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. This is basically a fantasy owner’s dream team at a number of positions. Mario Williams’ homecoming will be fun to watch simply because I feel the Bills matchup with Houston quite well. Like against San Fran, Buffalo’s offense will be counted on to play consistent, but this time the defense will have much more to handle. How will they fare: While I think the Texans are a tougher match than the 49ers and if the Bills will struggle in San Fran they will likely struggle in the Lone Star State. (4-4)

Week 10 @ New England Patriots – The one thing I like about this year’s schedule is that there are a number of division games prior to the final five weeks; this gives the Bills a little more time to sort things out. Coming in here with a record above .500 will be key. Injuries at this point will be a factor for both sides as this could have implications in the division and wild card race. How will they fare: I’m guessing a new losing streak against the Pats begins this year. Loss. (4-5)

Week 11 vs. Miami Dolphins – The good news is the remainder of the schedule is very light from this point on, moreso than after the 49ers game. Miami looks pretty pathetic but could certainly see a turnaround if Ryan Tannehill becomes a revelation. Buffalo needs to take a pair from the Fins and shouldn’t struggle too much if they bear down in each matchup. How will they fare: Injuries will be a real factor from week ten and on, however I think the Bills have far more talent from top to bottom. Win. (5-5)

Week 12 @ Indianapolis Colts – Here’s a tidbit: the Bills play seven teams with either a rookie or second-year QB as their starter this season – they play eight games against these signal callers (Miami twice). While Andrew Luck could certainly go Manning on the league and be a total prodigy, there are plenty of holes on the Indy roster that haven’t been plugged as of yet. This is expected to be a victory for the Bills and I’d expect them to pull it off. How will they fare: I’m not thinking blowout, but it shouldn’t be a difficult victory. (6-5)

Week 13 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags appear to be quite the tire fire this season. They have some nice pieces but I don’t think those pieces have been put together as of yet. Their issues at QB being the most glaring, I think the Bills could prey on Blaine Gabbert and have a very successful afternoon on the defensive side of  the ball. How will they fare: This needs to be a win, no matter where they stand at this point in the year. (7-5)

Week 14 vs. St. Louis Rams – Of all the questionable teams on the Buffalo schedule, I think St. Louis might be the best option to surprise people this season. So long as Sam Bradford is healthy and the defense shows up, the Rams could be a tough team to face. I’m not sure if I see them as a loss for the Bills, but I do see them being a difficult matchup if they get rolling this year. How will they fare: On paper the Bills should win this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams beat them, but I’ll say win for now. (8-5)

Week 15 vs. Seattle Seahawks (in Toronto) – Seattle has a rookie quarterback who is extremely mobile; they also have a back-up free agent QB who has shown potential as a deadly pocket passer. While Russell Wilson is starting the year, who knows which will take the snaps at Skydome? I think the Seahawks could be set up for a let down this season, but that’s just me. How will they fare: I think this ends up as a win, but could certainly go either way. (9-5)
Week 16 @ Miami Dolphins – I have little doubt that the Bills will be capable of beating the Dolphins twice this season. I also have little doubt that there will be at least one hiccup against some of the weaker opponents on the schedule. This game could be qualified as a trap, especially if the Bills are staring at a home date to lock up a playoff berth against the Jets. How will they fare: Mark it as a loss just to balance the record, this loss very well could occur elsewhere. (9-6)
Week 17 vs. New York Jets – I’m operating under the assumption that the Bills will split with the Jets this season. I’m also operating under the assumption that this game will likely be a must win for the Bills. Here’s hoping the home crowd gets the job done. How will they fare: This will need to be a win if there is any hope for playoffs. Make the final record 10-6 this season.

 

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