The Buffalo Bills have undoubtedly been the NFL's biggest surprise through week 4, being one of only 3 remaining undefeated teams. It's still very early in the season, but thus far the Bills have shown everything you want to see from a young team on the rise, things that were absent last year, like leadership, determination, focus, and chemistry. On last year's team, being down 23-14 with 6 minutes to go would have meant a "pack it in and prepare for next week" loss. On this year's team, it has turned into a "we're not letting this one get away" 4th quarter rally, and a last second win.
That has been the common theme this year. Fourth-quarter-comebacks have been the reason for the Bills' 4-0 record, winning 3 of 4 games by erasing fourth quarter defecits. The question, now, is how long can the Bills continue this streak until the defecit becomes too much?
The toughest test for the Bills this season has been Jacksonville. They are a good team, who started poorly, and have since improved. Buffalo played fairly well in that game, but due to poor tackling early, had to come from behind in the 4th quarter to win. The Bills have yet to play a completely sound 60 minute football game. Dropped passes, weather conditions, poor offensive line play, dumb penalties, and lack of chemistry have plagued the first 45 minutes of almost every game this season. The Bills did get off to a fast start against Jacksonville, but then toned down from there until the fourth.
So let's look at the records of the teams the Bills have beaten:
That puts the total at 4-11.
Can the Bills stay undefeated after playing the Cardinals' explosive offense? Yes, they can. Not to sound like a certain sports announcer we all love, but if the Bills start out strong on offense and strong on defense, they'll have a good shot at 5-0. Factor in the variables, like Terrence McGee's injury making it MUCH harder to defend against Arizona's talented receiving corps. Factor out Anquan Boldin, who is Warner's favorite endzone target. McGee's absence undoubtedly makes it much harder (ESPECIALLY if Boldin plays), but it is possible. Marshawn Lynch and the offensive line are more determined than ever to improve their 20th-ranked Rushing yards per game average of 102. This will take pressure off of the passing game of the Bills and allow them to have ball control.
To stay 5-0, the Bills need to keep their offense on the field, and the Cardinals' offense off the field. Time of Possession will be the key. If the Bills run the ball well early, give Trent Edwards time to find his targets (EARLY), and produce multiple long scoring drives, the 7th-ranked Bills defense should be able to comfortably beat the talented Cardinals. If they are inconsistent, inaccurate, commit penalties, etc. for three quarters, watch out, Bills. The defecit might be out of reach. Should the Bills win and move to 5-0, they will definitely be for real. They will definitely establish themselves as contenders. The BYE Week couldn't come at a better time as well, as they close out their 2-week road trip, come back and rest and get healthy for a week, then face arguably the biggest challenge of the schedule in the San Diego Chargers. If the Bills can pull off a win in Arizona, rest up, and actually pull off a major upset over the extremely talented San Diego Chargers, there will be 0 doubt whatsoever that the Bills can hang with the best, any time, any place. Just think, if the Bills take a 6-0 record into their slew of division matchups...Man, it's scary even thinking about it.
I'm never going to be one to predict the outcome of any game. Upsets are a regular part of football. Anybody can beat anybody. I will never predict a guaranteed win for the Bills, neither will they. I also though, will never predict a guaranteed loss. And you can bet your last dollar that the 2008 "never-say-die" 4-0 Bills won't as well.