When you think of the Buffalo Bills, you think of a team that just acquired Terrell Owens in the offseason. You think of a team that has finished 7-9 in each of the last three years. You think of a team that has never won a Super Bowl. But you also think of a team that is never written off, as far as the playoffs are concerned, at the beginning of the season.
However, if there ever were a year that they have been unanimously, with the exception of the fanatics that often lurk around Orchard Park on Sunday afternoons, as playoff contenders. Why have they been written off? It certainly isn't because they lack potential and talent, they have that. What they lack is consistency and, above all, leadership.
Now Aaron Schobel is a tough-nosed guy and certainly a leader for the defense. Trent Edwards seems to have the backing of his teammates. Terrell Owens will lead by example on the field, maybe. However, they lack the leadership on the part of the coaches.
Old Skeletor Dick Jauron enters every press conference, and leaves it, as he does every game on the sidelines, with a monotonous tone and expressionless face. He lacks fire, or even a low watt heating lamp.
Not to mention he, according to Turk Schonert after Jauron cleared up Schonert's schedule for some time, demands a "pop warner offense," and one of the reasons he fired Schonert was because he wanted too many different packages and plays (Imagine that, giving the opposing defenses multiple looks is a bad thing. Who knew?).
With this lack of adequate coaching how can the Bills be expected to make the playoffs? Well, they really can't.
So it has become obvious that the task of getting fired up before a game will be up to the players as there will most likely be no enthusiastic Vince Lombardi-esque speech being made by Coach Bonejangles. So don't be surprise if on Monday night, in front of a national audience, the Bills come out revving their engines, going full force and playing hard against the Patriots.
In any likelihood the Bills defense will come out and come up with so big stops in the first half. Who knows, maybe the offense may even score a point here or there? I don't think it would surprise any Bills fans to see a team that has grown in potential over the years to come out and play a solid first half. Perhaps they won't have a lead, but they could play close. They have that ability.
However, its those twelve minutes between halves. The twelve minutes when Anubis Jauron has the floor. Those twelve minutes the players get to rest up for the second half. However, the Bills have the tendency to not only rest their bodies, but their spirits as well. You have to play all four quarters of the game.
And against the Patriots, you have to play all four of those quarters well. Strike that, you have to play those quarters very well. Don't expect the Patriots to capitalize on all of your mistakes, if you're the Buffalo Bills, but expect them to capitalize on most of them.
The Patriots are a team that can take the slightest opening and turn it into an offensive explosion. The Bills are a team that often offers more than a slight opening.
Bills fans tuning in will probably see a team excited to be playing the real thing. They'll see their team fired up and some may even think their beloved Bills can pull it off. However, it will not be so.
The Bills have not won a game against the Patriots since 2003, the only game they have won against the Pats this millennium. Trent Edwards might get the offense going to move the chains a few times and Fred Jackson, as Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch will sit out the first three games on suspension, is one great guy to have in the backfield.
Terrell Owens will draw some attention away from deep threat Lee Evans and Josh Reed is a good slot receiver. The defense has the ability to hold its own for a few series, but not all.
In the end, the Patriots are still one of the most talented, stacked teams in the National Football League and the Bills are a team that has underachieved for quite some time and has yet to prove it can hold its own against the upper echelon of the NFL. Look for the Bills to play tough for a little bit, but not long enough. New England wins it 27-13.