Most of you are at least peripherally aware of the outstanding, exhaustive, intricate work put together by the folks over at Football Outsiders (FO). They've just released the Football Outsiders Almanac for the 2010 season as of last week; if you've got a dozen bucks to spare and enough time to get through 575 pages of stats and analysis before September 12, you won't spend better money to feed your geekery.
As our headline alludes to, the preview section dedicated to the Buffalo Bills - penned by Aaron Schatz, FO's Editor-in-Chief who also does work for ESPN - begins with a less-than-enthusiastic phrase.
Without giving too much away (and I'm going to assume that a very small percentage of you will register shock that the full breakdown isn't very optimistic), FO is projecting the Bills for 5.2 mean wins, four fewer than Miami and a very distinct last place in the AFC East. The projection is, of course, based on DVOA, rather than being based off of gut feelings, glitzy off-season moves and hype, as you get with most other pre-season NFL publications. FO projects New England to win the division, followed closely by both New York and Miami.
FO does, however, offer some glimmers of hope, with the most prominent of those being health. Yes - health. FO mentions that there's no possible way that the Bills incur as many injuries as they did in 2009, which flies in the face of the idea that Buffalo may or may not be cursed when it comes to the game-day health of its players. Still, the point is a good one - not every team that's gotten significantly healthier following an injury-riddled season has drastically improved, but it's happened often enough to spark at least a little optimism - not to mention highlight the importance of men like John Gamble and Eric Ciano with this organization.
We'll leave you with a question this morning - will Buffalo fall short of, meet, or exceed that 5.2-win projection?