Sunday, August 28, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: Buffalo Bills

Ever since a little something called the Music City Miracle in the 1999 playoffs, it's been pretty tough to be a Bills fan. No playoff appearances since that fateful day in Nashville, and they have not had a better record than 9-7, but that was 7 years ago. This is the second year of the Chan Gailey era, so will it be better than the first one?

What's New: Not a whole lot. The major acquisition this offseason was in the draft, where they picked DT Marcell Dareus from Alabama. He should become a major force in the middle of that defensive line, or even at the ends. In free agency, they picked up WR/QB/Utility Brad Smith from the Jets, and he is a jack-of-all-trades and should open up the offense a little bit. On defense, they picked up 2 decent veteran linebacker in Nick Barnett from Green Bay and Kirk Morrison from Jacksonville. They did lose their former starting MLB Paul Posluszny to Jacksonville, as well as two good players from their secondary in Ashton Youboty and Donte Whitner. They did also get new uniforms (which look awesome by the way).

Biggest Strength: They have a very decent running game with their tandem of Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller. They are both unique and provide a change of pace when they are in the game. Also on offense, they have Steve Johnson at wideout, who had a breakout year last season, and he is going to possibly be better this year. On defense, LB Shawne Merriman has seen a resurgence in play in camp, and he looks to return to his form when he was one of the leagues best in San Diego.

Biggest Weakness: Well, everything else. Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven to be an adequate QB, but they do need to find a franchise QB soon, as he is not the long-term answer. Behind Steve Johnson and Brad Smith, there is not much depth at wideout. The offensive line has many question marks, and only a few stalwarts. On defense, they have a suspect front line and linebacking corps, aside from the players mentioned above, and their secondary was pretty bad last season, and it got worse with the loss of some key pieces. In short, there are a lot more questions than there are answers.

Outlook: Not good. It may take a miracle for them to get to .500 this season. They play in a tough division, with a tough schedule, and they have a few too many questions to be considered a legitimate playoff contender. On the bright side though, if it all goes wrong, Andrew Luck is waiting in the draft.

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