I've been having a hard time getting my head around this Bills team all year. I am what you might call an "optimistic pessimist". I always hope for the best and can find reason to be encouraged, but constantly remind myself (and others) of the failures of the Bills and of some of the current players. So, call this a mea culpa, a brain dump, or whatever you want, but here are my thoughts on this team (notice me still hedging my bets at the end.).
- This team is for real. A real shot to be 4-0 next week against a Bengals team that lost their home opener to San Francisco and only managed to score 8 points. I hope the Bills manage to figure out how to cover tight ends by then b/c Gresham is a nice security blanket for a rookie QB. As a Bills fan, I don't want to get cocky, but this should be a win. Let's hope it's not a letdown game.
- The thing that makes the victory vs. the Pats all the more awesome: I now look at their schedule and say "That should be a win, that could be a win, they could win that game". At no point am I putting an L down. I'm putting down a W with a question mark. They should beat: They should beat the Bengals, the Dolphins twice, the Titans and the Broncos. I think they will split with the Jets. If I am correct, that takes them to nine wins. 10 wins probably makes the playoffs and 11 pretty much guarantees it (I hope). Will they win three of the following games: Eagles, Giants, Redskins (I think they win at least one of those games), the Chargers (who I am not impressed with...I see that being a game the Bills win b/c the Chargers don't respond well to adversity or getting punched in the mouth). That alone would be 11. Am I crazy? Am I now a pessimistic optimist instead of an optimistic pessimist. This will be a great week for me. Let's hope they come out ready to take the game away from the Bengals early.
- Could the day have gone any better? The Bills end up as the lone unbeaten in the AFC. They have what amounts to a 2 game lead on the Pats and a 1 game lead on the Jets. That week 16 game could be might important. The Patriots have to play the Raiders (who might be better than I gave them credit for) and the Jets have to play the Ravens. If the Bills can take care of business next week, they will be in the drivers seat (there is a sentence I never thought I'd type).
- Fred Jackson is the man. Sign him! Fitz is the man. Sign him! Stevie Johnson is the man. Sign him! They are the heart and soul of that offense. Lock them up and do it now. They've proven that they don't need stud tackles w/ their scheme, so use that money you are saving to lock those guys up. I don't care if you are paying Spiller starter money, he's not an every down back even if he develops to the fullest of his potential. Whenever Freddy has the ball, he gets the job done. Lock him up now.
- I love Bryan Scott. I just seems like there are plays he can make where he is the only one on the team capable of making them. He might get caught in a mismatch with a faster RB every once in a while, but the man can play.
- Kudos to Leodis for picking off that pass. I am one of his harshest critics. When he picked off that pass I said "I will not say anything bad about him for the rest of the game.....actually, I don't think I can do it b/c he will do something ridiculous" which he did with that lame tackle attempt on Welker that injured Williams. That said, the impact of that interception was huge.
- George Wilson - I don't know what to make of you. All day I was jonesing to come up with a big tackle or pass breakup and it seemed like you were just a step behind. Then, you pick off that pass. Great work. I still don't know what to make of you, but the D in general reminds me of what Pats fans said about their D in weeks 1 and 2. They get exploited, but when they need a big stop, they get it or force a turnover.
- I don't know if I want D. Bell to get paid big time left tackle money, but I know I don't want him to just walk away. Getting scared into thinking his starting spot was in jeopardy lit a fire under him. Hopefully they can lock him up for a reasonable price and bring in a young guy to push him a little in training camp. Real competition might be just what he needs.
- Chan Gailey - what can I say. I'd like your team to execute better in the 1st quarter. I hate that you defer kickoffs (especially to Brady), but you know your team. They come to play in the second half. They players and coaches learn from the 1st half and you know you want the ball to start the second half. And does anyone else here doubt that Dick Jauron would have had Fred Jackson run the ball into the end zone at the end of the game? Even before the penalty drove them back (Reinhart - what are you doing with a false start on a kneel down), he was determined to take time off the clock to increase the chance of victory. Also, the announcers never pointed out that the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on NE guaranteed the Bills a victory. I was yelling "the Bills just won the game" and the announcers were still blabbering on. I think the Bills might be earning a better announcing crew, no?
- I like Drayton Florence. It seems like I'm always annoyed with him b/c he bails on tackles, etc. but the man is always the one to look to when you want/need a game changing big play. Not just a pick, but taking it back a ways or all the way. Glad we resigned him.
- OK, now to start the things that still worry me (I am an optimistic pessimist after all). If Donnie Avery can pass a physical, I think the Bills should sign him. Roosevelt and Martin were invisible. This team is one WR injury away from serious trouble. Signing him is very much a win now move and if he's healthy, is a clear upgrade.
- Man. DJ drafted all those DBs and now I feel there is no depth there. How did that happen?
- The Bills use of the wildcat still disappoints me. It just seems like Smith is another toy that Chan is still trying to figure out how to use. If he can be seasons end, that's one more tool in the toolbox.
- Merriman, where art thou? He's helped against the run...but, we need a pass rush at some point. He's supposed to provide it and right now he's as good a pass rusher as Kelsay. He'll get there occasionally (hopefully) but....
- Barnett can't commit that roughness penalty. I, in general, didn't like the lack of discipline in the first half. That's something that needs to be fixed if they are looking to win the division.
- The Bills need to load up on pass rushers and secondary help in the draft. If they can do that and keep most of the pieces on D, they could very well be contenders.
- I am pissed about the Toronto game. Here the team is a playoff contender and they have a home game taken away. I'm usually pissed about it, but I'm more pissed now b/c the game will be really important. That needs to be fixed no matter how much money it makes. It's not like the team is unprofitable or anything.
So, there you have it. I'm loving this team right now, and while they are giving me a heart attack, I think I can finally say that I think this team will make the playoffs. Did I just say that? Did I just jinx the team?