The Buffalo Bills and why They’re Poised to Take Over the AFC East

Posted: October 17, 2011 in NFL
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It’s been over a decade since the lowly Bills have played a meaningful game in January.  But it won’t be too long before we start seeing Buffalo in the playoffs again.  They may have lost yesterday to the Giants, but they are still the best up and coming team in the AFC.

To start, you always have to look at the quarterback.  And they don’t get too much better than the Amish Rifle, Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Fitzy has the 5th best QBR (ESPN’s wonderful new statistic), the 5th


Ryan Fitzpatrick

most touchdown passes, and the 6th most passing yards.  Oh and he got a 48 on the Wonderlic Test.  That’s 15 points higher than Tom Brady and 20 points higher than Peyton Manning.  Last but not least, Fitzpatrick is the first Bills quarterback since Drew Bledsoe to give fans real hope.  J.P. Losman was never truly embraced by people in Western New York and neither was Trent Edwards.  But the Amish Rifle gives out the Ivy League, blue-collar football vibe that every fan wants out of their leader.

Next comes the man that he hands the ball off too: Fred Jackson.  Jackson has been under the radar for his entire career.  He played college ball at Division III Coe College, a school in Iowa with 1,300 undergraduates.  After spending four spectacular seasons there, he went undrafted and spent a season in the National Indoor Football League, one in the United Indoor Football League, and one in NFL Europe.  It wasn’t until 2006 that Marv Levy invited Jackson to Pittsford, NY for the Bills’ Training Camp.  This season, he’s leading the NFL in yards per attempt and he’s second in rushing touchdowns.  He might be 30 years old, but the Bills still have a few years to groom former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller into an every down back.

Last but not least, the defense.  Over the past decade of sub-par football, the Bills have had an untalented, undersized group.  But this year, the Bills weigh an average of over 310 lbs on the defensive line.  Last year they only weighed about 285 lbs.  They’re also moving up on the skill

Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus en route to a touchdown in the BCS National Championship Game

side.  Nearly one-third of their defensive players come from SEC schools, including their 2011 first round pick Marcell Dareus.  At the end of the day, the Bills may not be on the defensive level of the Ravens, but they’re moving up the NFL ranks.

Despite this, the Bills still aren’t getting the love that the Lions are getting.  One reason is that they have the Patriots and the Fighting Rex Ryans in their division.  But the Patriots aren’t what they were in 2004.  Tom Brady is 34 now.  That’s old enough for him to join the NFL version of the AARP whenever he chooses.  But he’s also getting more distracted.  He’s starting to focus on his super-model wife and his Uggs as opposed to football.  Also, his favorite target, Wes Welker, will be 31 after this season.  With that age combination, the Patriots’ years of dominance are numbered.  As for the Jets, they really aren’t all they’re hyped up to be.  They may have reached the AFC Championship the past two seasons, but this season they are a mediocre 2-3 (pending tonight’s game against the Dolphins).  And the Sanchize has never completed more than 60% of his passes in a season.  He may be a great game manager, but unless he can rise above the Mendoza Line of quarterbacks, he won’t be considered an elite passer.

All of these factors come together to form a new era of Bills dominance.  Ralph Wilson is getting more and more hungry for a Super Bowl and he’s finally putting the pieces together to make it happen.  Hopefully the Bills take a page from Al Davis’ book and JUST WIN BABY.


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