Buffalo Bills: 4 Reasons Fans Should Not Fret About Shaky Start
After their Week 1 blowout loss to the New York Jets, many Buffalo Bills fans were already hitting the panic button. They were understandably pessimistic after such a shaky start to the season. So why should they not worry so much after that performance?
Despite that impressive victory, question marks still remain for Bills fans who aren't sure what 2012 may hold for the rest of the season.
Did the Jets game highlight a secondary that can't be trusted and is the weakest link on the defense?
Or did the Chiefs game showcase a running attack that is one of the most explosive in the NFL?
Let's take a look at four reasons Bills fans shouldn't fret about the rocky way the season has started after two games.
1. C.J. Spiller's Play
Buffalo is blessed with one of the best RB tandems in the NFL. When healthy, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller allow the Bills to keep opposing defenses off guard. However, health has been a major issue for Jackson lately. He missed the last six games of 2011 and got hurt in the opener against the Jets.
It has resulted in Spiller blossoming into a game-breaker.
As we prepare for Week 3, he sits atop the rushing leaders of the league. It's not even close. Reggie Bush is in second place, and he has 51 yards less.
When Jackson returns from his knee injury, the Bills are going to have a big decision on their hands. In a way, it's a good problem to have.
Spiller is knocking on the door of stardom after two weeks. The Bills need to realize this and not relegate him to a third-down back once Fred Jackson is ready.
2. The Defense Got Back on Track vs KC
Buffalo's D had nowhere to go but up after the no-show they pulled at the Meadowlands. Giving up 48 points to a mediocre Jets offense was not exactly what they had in mind to start the season.
Now, while the Chiefs aren't exactly the San Francisco 49ers of the '80s, they do have more talent on offense than the Jets. The Bills had their hands full with the likes of Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles.
They were up to the task, recording five sacks and forcing three turnovers. Buffalo held Kansas City to three points through three quarters. However, the Bills will need Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to contribute if they hope to win on the road in Cleveland this week.
The much-maligned secondary played better as well. Bowe didn't put up either of his TDs until the game had long been decided.
This unit will look to have another solid performance against the Browns—a team with one of the worst WR groups in the AFC.
3. Their Weak Schedule
Analyzing schedules, especially this early in the season, is problematic. According to their opponents' records in 2011, Buffalo has the third easiest strength-of-schedule in the NFL.
What isn't left up to interpretation, though, is that the Bills only have three games against top-20 QBs. Two of those are vs. Tom Brady (the other is Matt Schaub). What that should mean is that Buffalo is in every game.
Brady is the type that can get himself a 21-0 lead before the first quarter is over. But in 13 out of 16 games, in theory, the Bills shouldn't be in a situation where they're getting blown out.
Until Ryan Fitzpatrick performs better, the Bills are going to have to rely on their running game and defense. That again points towards closer, lower-scoring games.
4. More Talent Than in Previous Years
Everyone that plays in Buffalo knows this franchise hasn't had a playoff berth since 1999. That pressure alone seems daunting.
But, unlike in years past, Bills fans can take solace in the talent level of this team. Gone are the days where they seemed outmatched at every position.
Most of the talent Buffalo has is young too. So, with that inexperience, you're bound to have mental lapses and mistakes. Nothing some good coaching can't fix, though.
All in all, the Bills have difference-makers on both sides of the ball for the first time in over a decade. Talent can often overcome sloppy play.
In the NFL, the difference between good teams and elite teams is talent. What Buffalo needs, however, is for that talent to bring it every single week. That was clearly missing against the Jets.
So the question remains—can Buffalo put everything together this year to become one of those elite teams? If these four factors stay true, the answer to that is yes.