Buffalo made the playoffs last season and this year the Bills are expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. What gives?
The 2017 Bills made history
When the Bills traded away Tyrod Taylor, the feeling around NFL pundits was that it was the biggest offseason mistake.
The Bills went from making the playoffs to being projected as one of the worst teams in the NFL. Really. One predicted they’d only get two wins this season.
We’re talking about the 2018 Bills, who went 9-7 last regular season and finished second in the AFC East behind the 13-1 Patriots.
The 2018 Bills that ended an 18-year playoff drought (then the longest active drought in the NFL.)
The 2018 Bills who lost in the wild card playoff game to the Jacksonville Jaguars by a touchdown, 10-3, which extended Buffalo’s playoff victory drought to 22 years.
The 2018 Bills who were shining in their first year under new head coach Sean McDermott after the execs booted Rex Ryan from Buffalo.
Yes, those Bills are projected to have a losing season and according to Vegas, they share the same odds as the Jets and Dolphins at winning the Super Bowl. So there’s actually a chance Buffalo could still finish second in the division AND with one of the worst records in the league.
But why if the Bills made the playoffs are they projected to have such a poor year? Answer: one trade and a diminished offensive line.
The Issues of the Buffalo Bills’ Offense
So you’ve got it, last year the Bills were really good and this year they’re expected not to be. They traded away quarterback Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland. It can’t be that bad, right?
Well, the Bills signed former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron as a free agent after he spent four years as a backup in Cincinnati. But in a preseason game against the Browns, McCarron injured his shoulder and the Associated Press reported that it was a “potentially serious” injury. McCarron is competing for the starting spot with Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen.
Why if the Bills made the playoffs are they projected to have such a poor year?
Allen was the No. 7 pick overall in this year’s draft. So really, it can’t be all bad, right?
Well, Bills center Eric Wood retired, offensive tackle Cordy Glenn was traded and offensive guard Richie Incognito is making several, er, off-the-field headlines.
Boom or Bust
The former Wyoming quarterback is the one to keep an eye on. Allen looks like he may just be named the season starter after improving greatly during preseason.
Allen has a rocket for an arm and talent, but that doesn’t always translate into being a top-notch professional football player. He’s either going to be a boom or a bust.
See You Later, Playoff Gator
Don’t expect the Bills to be repeat playoff contenders. They may have ended the drought, but don’t overlook the fact that they made the postseason because Cincinnati upset Baltimore in the final 41 seconds of their Week 17 matchup that kept the Ravens from the postseason and gave Buffalo the nod.
It was the perfect series of events, but you can’t build a whole season on hopeful happenings. The Bills’ biggest event of the season will be creating some offensive production that leads to points, and maybe eventually victories.
Week 1: Sept. 9 at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens won’t start this season the way they ended last: in an upset.
Week 2: Sept. 16 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The Bills lost this one last year by 30 points. We don’t think it will be as bad this year, but it won’t be a victory for Buffalo.
Week 3: Sept. 23 at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are a preseason Super Bowl Contender. The Bills aren’t even close.
Week 4: Sept. 30 at Green Bay Packers
The Packers are also a preseason Super Bowl Contender. Buffalo isn’t even slated to make the playoffs.
Week 5: Oct. 7 vs. Tennessee Titans
Both teams have a lot of unanswered questions, but if Josh Allen gets his pro aerial game under control and the offensive line can block for LeSean McCoy, we’re taking the home team.
Week 6: Oct. 14 at Houston Texans
The Texans’ defense vs. the Bills possible offense?
Week 7: Oct. 21 at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts may have Andrew Luck back, but they don’t have a winning formula. This is a struggle fest of a game.
Week 8: Oct. 29 vs. New England Patriots*
No questions here.
Week 9: Nov. 4 vs. Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky vs. Josh Allen. We’re gonna go with Allen.
Week 10: Nov. 11 at New York Jets*
You’re now into the second week of the lighter part of the Bills’ schedule. But this is still “the rest of the AFC East”you’re talking about. Jets at home.
Week 11: Bye Week
Week 12: Nov. 25 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville made playoff history last year too. The difference? They aren’t looking at a total rebuild of their offense this year.
Week 13: Dec. 2 at Miami Dolphins*
In 2016, Miami went 10-6. In 2017, they went 6-10. We don’t think they’ll flip-flop for 2018.
Week 14: Dec. 9 vs. New York Jets*
Buffalo and New York split their home-and-homes last year and do it again this year.
Week 15: Dec. 16 vs. Detroit Lions
Detroit may have lost the preseason matchup in 2017, but not the regular season matchup in 2018.
Week 16: Dec. 23 at New England Patriots*
In the last 18 seasons, the Bills beat the Patriots only four times. But two have come at Gillette Stadium within the last four years. Here’s your holiday upset.
Week 17: Dec. 30 vs. Miami Dolphins*
Miami and Buffalo may have the same Vegas odds to win the Super Bowl, but Buffalo has more talent.
*denotes an AFC East game
TOTAL PREDICTED WINS: 7