As it has become painfully clear, the Bills are not going to be making a post-season appearance again. Yet, a fair number of players have played at a high level throughout the season and may find a trip to Hawaii on their western horizon. So who are these guys and can we help vote them in? Despite all the woes offensively and defensively the Bills have several names that warrant serious consideration. Here's who they are, but why...Tom Brady, can have off days. While Fitz has had some pretty decent outings. This is atop injuries to receivers, running-backs and parts of the offensive line. Fitz has fair numbers having completed62% of his passes for 3,013 yards, 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions (81.6 passing rating). As of right now, the first two spots are clinched by Brady and Big Ben. With Schaub's IR status the third spot will likely go to Philip Rivers, who despite early struggles is starting to go back to his old reliable self. Both the Steelers and Patriots stand a fair chance at making the super bowl and with the pro-bowl before, one of these quarterbacks will have to bow out. Fitz may be the first alternate.
Fred Jackson was posting the best numbers in the league for a running-back including highest rushing and all-purpose yardage before fracturing his fibula. In one of the greater injustices, despite the fact that Jackson would be healthy in February, Goodell decided not to allow Jackson to play in the pro-bowl despite having the skills and votes to do so. Despite the fact that Matt Schaub is still on the ballots even though he went on the IR at the same time as Freddy. (see Injustice Article for further detail in this matter)
Likewise Eric Wood was dominating at the center position, totally justifying Gailey's decision to have him replace Hang as the starting center this off-season. Solid in run support and pass protection, Wood seems to have a pro-bowl on the horizon just not this year due to being on the IR and his injury will require more time as well.
When Andy Levitre comes to mind, people sometimes forget that he is a left tackle, I mean guard. Levitre has been one of the most consistently good linemen on the field at guard in both pass and run protection. Additionally, Levitre brings additional value with his ability to play most positions on the line which coaches love. As a left tackle, Levitre struggled more, but ultimately held his own helping to keep the sack total below 20 on the year so far.
T Erik Pears similarly is a reason why the offensive line has given up a league low 17 sacks. Pears is by no means has the best speed or agility, but he constantly is able to use his size to great advantage in the run game and fend off pass rushers most of the time.
WR Stevie Johnson may not have Welker receiving stats and has at times struggled in his role as the #1 receiver for the Bills. Johnson is good at being a physical wide-out as shown by his amazing performances against pro-bowler Darelle Revis over the years. Johnson may drop the big pass once in a while, but he is a play-maker and fan favorite. Crossing fingers that the Bills re-sign him before free agency.
Rookie DL Marcell Dareus meanwhile has made a strong bid as a defensive tackle (pro-bowl relies on 4-3 defense). With 4.5 sacks so far, Dareus not only is the Bills biggest pass rusher, but is also towards the top of interior linemen having split time inside following Kyle Williams injury. Dareus has great agility and speed for his size and has good penetration ability.
LB Nick Barnett jumped right in as the leading tackler of the Buffalo defense with 105 tackles (tied tenth in the league). Additionally, Barnett is second on the Bills with 3 sacks and also has two interceptions. Well versed against the run and pass, Barnett bounced back from injuries in the year past to regain a top interior threat in the NFL.
SS George Wilson has had a really strong year in his first bid as a starter. Despite missing a few games, Wilson has shown great instinct in pass and run defense. Wilson so far has 6 passes defended, 85 tackles and a team high 4 interceptions (tied for third highest in the league). Wilson has strong competition from Polamalu.
FS Jairus Byrd likewise has been a top notch pass and run defender in spite of a disappointing corner back corps. He and Wilson make up the strongest safety duo in the league (in terms of tackles) as both have been forced up into plays to make the stop. Byrd hasn't had many picks (just 2), but has deflected 6 passes, forced 3 fumbles and has made 85 tackles. Byrd's biggest opponent is Colt Bethea.
P Brian Moorman as always has been strong. It's a pity that he always has to square off against Shane Lechler. Moorman has a really strong leg that boots the ball deep (48.5 yard average) with typically good accuracy. A worse coverage unit though has undermined some of his better punts and he has had one blocked this year as well.
Remember to vote on the NFL pro-bowl ballots!!
Of the Eligible* Players Mentioned, Who Has the Best Chance at Making the Pro-Bowl? *Fred Jackson and Eric Woods are not allowed due to their IR status...
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (9 votes)
G Andy Levitre (31 votes)
T Erik Pears (2 votes)
WR Stevie Johnson (7 votes)
DL Marcell Dareus (10 votes)
LB Nick Barnett (18 votes)
SS George Wilson (38 votes)
FS Jairus Byrd (11 votes)
P Brian Moorman (2 votes)
Other (who) (5 votes)
133 total votes