ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 24: C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Denver Broncos at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Spiller had his first 100 yard rushing game in the NFL. Buffalo won 40-14. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
C.J. Spiller has played on two Buffalo Bills teams that have gone a combined 10-22 under head coach Chan Gailey. He has 884 rushing yards and eight career touchdowns, but that's not stopping him from talking up the team's prospects heading into the 2012 season.
"We split with New England. We had the Giants on the ropes. We are close to being a Super Bowl team," Spiller told NFL Sirius XM Radio on Thursday, reports Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com. "We have to protect the ball."
The Bills beat New England for the first time in 16 tries during Week 3 of the 2011 season in the midst of an impressive 5-2 start. They fell apart down the stretch, going 1-8, and got smoked by the Patriots 49-21 to finish out the year. As Spiller notes, both games were decided by which team won the turnover battle.Against the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants in Week 6, Buffalo was tied with New York in the fourth quarter, but costly interceptions by Ryan Fitzpatrick allowed the Giants to close out the win. Both interceptions were thrown off Fitzpatrick's back foot - something new quarterbacks coach David Lee is working to correct.
Buffalo faced off five times against playoff teams in 2011, going 2-3. Their biggest win was a Week 16 trouncing of the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve. The Bills' only win in their last nine games was over a team that would advance to the Divisional playoffs with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The other match-up was a last-second loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4.
If Spiller has anything going for him, the NFL is a league where you can go from worst to first in one season. The Broncos picked second in the 2011 NFL draft and won their division. The San Francisco 49ers went 13-3 and were a few plays from the Super Bowl a year after posting a 6-10 record. It could happen.