Beating New England on Monday Night would certainly tell us something highly encouraging about this year's team, but losing in my view indicates nothing. The Bills at the moment are a team filled with young talent that probably needs one more year before it starts to perform at peak potential. That's especially true of the o-line, TE's and the QB (who won't reach his full potential until the o-line does). So if they lose at Foxboro it will be entirely expected and basically irrelevant.
The pivotal game this season will come in week four against Miami. The Bills should be able to beat Tampa Bay in the home opener (if they don't that WILL be a sign of big trouble), and since prevailing over New Orleans in week three will require them to do the one thing they have trouble doing -- scoring a lot of points -- that game can essentially be written off. But they should be competitive with the Fins. It will be a genuine test of where they stand in a way that the first three games are not. By then the offense will have had three weeks of real game experience playing together and Marshawn will be back. If they are capable of doing anything this year they should leave South Florida with a victory, which will make them 2-2. The next week they play Cleveland at home, and the momentum of a win over Miami would likely carry them to another W and 3-2.
From that point there are some encouraging possibilities. Beating the Jets in the Meadowlands might be a tough assignment, but prevailing over Carolina and Houston this year looks doable. If so, they will be 5-3 at the bye week. And the backside of the schedule has at least four games they could win -- assuming they have built up confidence from a strong first half of the season. Jacksonville, Miami at home, the Jets at home (well, in Toronto) and Kansas City would be within their range. If Indianapolis rests its starters for the Jan. 3 game in Buffalo that means a 10-6 record is actually possible.
I'm NOT predicting that this year's schedule will play out this way (who can make any predictions with this team?); what I am saying is that this is a plausible scenario IF we win at Miami in week four. A win there will suggest that we do in fact have a competitive team that is capable of producing a very interesting season with the promise of a real playoff run next year. On the other hand, a loss at Miami will probably drop us to 1-3 and, if that happens, the momentum will roll the other way (with heads rolling on the coaching staff perhaps as early as the bye week).
Back to my bottom line: a loss tonight does not provide any significant indicator of how 2009 will unwind for the Bills. What happens in week four will tell us a great deal.
Does this make sense?