Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Gone are the days when the Buffalo Bills played the role of George McFly to the Patriots' Biff Tannen.
The Bills of the last decade were a shadow of the franchise that went to four straight Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993. They haven't made the playoffs since 1999, and had an ignominious streak of 15 straight losses to the Patriots that lasted up through last season.
This offseason, the Bills decided to take drastic measures to reverse their organizational fortunes. They made a huge splash by signing the best defensive player available in free agency, DE Mario Williams, to a six-year, $100 million contract with an astounding $50 million in guaranteed money.
They also added the second-best defensive lineman available after Williams when they inked Pats' DE Mark Anderson to a three-year deal, a move which weakened the Pats in addition to strengthening the Bills' line.
Now, with Williams and Anderson rushing off the outside and stout tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus manning the inside gaps, the Bills D-line looks to be the best in football.
The Bills beat the Pats last season in a 34-31 scoring bout, so they clearly have weapons on offense.
If QB Ryan Fitzpatrick recovers from a rib injury that affected his performance in the second half of last season, the Bills will have both the offensive firepower (with Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller covering rushing duties and burner Stevie Johnson supposedly recovered from his groin injury) to keep up with the Pats, and the defensive presence to suppress New England's high-flying offense.
The Bills? We can safely say they're no longer AFC East pushovers.