The Buffalo Bills lost every single game of the 2012 preseason, finishing with a record of 0-4. The good news is that the season begins for real tomorrow afternoon when the Bills take on the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium in New York. The Bills started off last season on fire scoring over 30 points in their first three games, including a 41-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in the season opener, a place where they rarely ever win. It was the second half of the season that proved to be disastrous as the Bills only managed to win one out of their last nine games. A big reason for that second-half showing was the loss of running back Fred Jackson who broke his leg in week 11 against the Miami Dolphins. Amid speculation that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played injured for most of the second half of the season as well, it seems as if the Bill’s fate was written in stone during that second-half slide.
With Jackson and Fitzpatrick ready to go for the opener tomorrow and the additions of guys like Mario Williams on the defensive side of the football, look for the Buffalo Bills to improve drastically on their 6-10 record last season. They will have the chance to establish themselves in the AFC East right off the bat tomorrow and prove that they now have a slight edge over the Jets in the division. Given that the Jets have had a quarterback controversy on their hands since acquiring Tim Tebow in the off-season from the Denver Broncos, it is only a matter of time before their starting quarterback Mark Sanchez starts to feel the heat and cave in to the pressure of having Mr. Tebowmania himself ready to take over at the drop of a football. The Bills have the obvious advantage in terms of the running game and Ryan Fitzpatrick is a much more reliable pivot in the pocket than any option the Jets have . They will finish higher than the New York Jets in the division this coming season.
Moving further down south to Miami, the Dolphins traded one of the best receivers in the NFL Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears and the best offensive player still on the team, Reggie Bush, is an injury prone running back who may or may not build on the progress he made with the team last season. The Dolphins look to start rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Bills possess a superior defense in comparison to the Dolphins and their prospects defensively look much better. They should have finished ahead of the Dolphins last season but they will make up for lost time this year and get the job done right.
In terms of the New England Patriots, the more things change, the more they stay the same. With offense coordinator Josh McDaniels and former Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd now with the team, the Patriots offense is going to be even more of a juggernaut in terms of throwing the ball down the field. With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez providing the best one-two punch in the league at the tight end position, Wes Welker signed to the team for at least one more year as their possession receiver, and one of the games greatest quarterbacks in Tom Brady at the helm, the Pats should easily stand atop the division.
The best chance for Buffalo to make up ground in the race to the playoffs comes between weeks 11 and 16 as they only play one team that made the post-season a year ago, the Seattle Seahawks, who for now are starting rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. After facing the Jets to kickoff the season tomorrow, the Bills play the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns respectively, meaning that they will have a chance to start the season 3-0 again.
Given that the Bills only play five games the entire season against playoff teams from last year, they will experience quite a reversal of fortune in 2012 and make the playoffs for the first time since falling victim to the Music City Miracle at the hands of the Tennessee Titans back in the 1999-2000 season. Since Jacks and receiver Stevie Johnson, and Fitzpatrick was inconsistent in the weeks after signing his long term extension with the club, there might be a week or two where the team is shorthanded and drops a game to a lesser team. However, they should be able to ride out those tough times and finish the season at 10-6, leaving them second in the division behind the New England Patriots.