Though the Buffalo Bills appear ready to take the step forward and reach the playoffs in 2012, there is a lot of work to do and football to play before January rolls around.
Win or lose, blame or praise will fall onto quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's shoulders.
Ask Fitzpatrick, and he'll tell you the Bills are ready to reach the promise land this season.
Ask ESPN's Ron Jaworski, and he'll tell you there are 23 quarterbacks better than Fitzpatrick in the NFL.
Jaworski is in the process of ranking the top 30 quarterbacks going into the season. And he has Fitzpatrick rated at No. 24. If Jaworski is correct, and that Fitzpatrick really is in the bottom fourth of the league's elite, the Bills can pretty much give up on their playoff pursuit.
However, Fitzpatrick has out-dueled some of the game's elite quarterbacks, such as Michael Vick and Tom Brady. But Jaworski doesn't even have Fitzpatrick better than the Jets' Mark Sanchez. He at least has some justification for his rating, but come on Jaworski, get real.
Before rib injuries limited Fitzpatrick in the final nine games, in which Buffalo lost eight, Fitzpatrick had the Bills at 5-2 and playing good football. He was gutsy and clutch with fourth quarter comebacks against the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots. But injuries kicked in and interceptions came out of his fingers.
He managed to throw for 3,832 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011. He also threw 23 interceptions. Though Fitzpatrick can play like a top 10 quarterback at times, Jaworski was correct to put all phases of Fitzpatrick's game together and give him a lower ranking. But No. 24 was just too low.
Here are my top 30 quarterbacks heading into the 2012 NFL season.
|24||Robert Griffin III||Redskins|
My list has Fitzpatrick six spots better than Jaworski's.
Don't agree with my list? Did I have somebody too high? Too low? Did I include or leave out somebody who should/shouldn't be there? Give me your list and where Fitzpatrick belongs in the comments below.