Is it Time to Bet on The Buffalo Bills?

John Hugar@@johnhugarContributor IIIJuly 21, 2009

ORCHARD PARK - NOVEMBER 17:  Lee Evans #83 of the Buffalo Bills stands in the tunnel before the game against the Cleveland Browns on November 17, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Bills have to be the most perpetually disappointing franchise in the NFL.

Every year, they look like they might be able to make a playoff run, but something always trips them up. Whether it was their inability to beat the Steelers’ third stringers in 2004, or their 8-0 loss to the Browns in 2007, something always seems to get in the way.

After three-straight 7-9 finishes, it seems useless to go out on a limb for the Bills. Hey, they're bound to get better at some point, but who wants to risk looking foolish and say it'll happen this year?

Allow me.

Bills fans have every reason to be optimistic going into the 2009 season.

The team is full of young talents who will only improve over the next few years. Players like Marshawn Lynch, Donte Whitner, and Paul Posluzny are the future of this franchise, and they all could be among the league's best this season.

Add to that the addition of Terrell Owens, who, in addition to his own skills, will finally free Lee Evans from the double coverages he's faced ever since Eric Moulds left. Evans and Owens provide Trent Edwards with one of the most talented receiving corps in the league, probably third after Arizona and New England.

Make no mistake, the biggest key to this team’s success is Edwards. He's shown loads of potential over the past two years, but he has yet to put it together for a full season. Bills fans are understandably impatient, and this might be Edwards’ last chance to break out before they lose faith in him. If he plays like the man who led the bills to a four-game winning streak last sesaon, the Bills should be pretty scary this year. If he plays like the a man who led the Bills on a four-game losing streak, the team will be its usual mediocre self.

When looking at the AFC East, it's not hard to picture the Bills doing well.

While the Pats are the clear favorites, the Dolphins and Jets are both major question marks. Sure, the Dolphins were great last year, but a lot of that was due to a weak schedule, and the introduction of the “Wildcat.” Now that other teams are preparing for it, I'd be surprised if the Dolphins win another 11 games. As for the Jets, they have a huge question mark at quarterback, and while Mark Sanchez could be the next Matt Ryan, I wouldn't bet on it.

If Edwards can step his game up, and T.O. can have the desired impact, a second-place finish in the East and a wild-card birth are very realistic for this year’s Bills.