So the Bills are 4-1 at the bye week and are in first place in the AFC East.
If you lived outside of Upstate New York and had said at the beginning of the season that the Bills would be a half game ahead of the Patriots in the AFC East by week six, you most likely would've been scoffed at. Your doubter may have gone as far as to say "Yeah right, and Norwood's kick was good, JP Losman and Mike Williams are Hall of Famers and Ralph Wilson is under the age of 70".
It is in fact true, however, the Bills look good, real good. At the beginning of the season, I would have been happy if the Bills were 3-2 or even 2-3 going into their bye.
I had high expectations for the Bills this season, but I thought that there was a good chance that these expectations wouldn't be met. I thought it was just the life-long fan in me that was coming out and saying, "Yeah, the Bills will go 10-6 and make the playoffs," but the Bills are in position to do even better than that and maybe even make some noise late into the postseason.
Now, after five weeks what do we know about the Bills?
1. Trent Edwards is the real deal.
The late Bill Walsh wasn't just blowing smoke when he said that Edwards was something special coming out of Stanford. Trent Edwards played almost mistake-free football for the first four weeks and three plays of the season before being knocked out of the Arizona game.
It was game where everyone was reminded how bad JP Losman is and that he will most likely never be a good NFL QB. See: Every play where Losman held the ball five seconds longer than he should have.
But back to Edwards, he has a 93.9 passer rating for the season, which is in the top five among AFC QBs. More importantly, Edwards has shown that he can win games when it counts. Trent looks so poised in the fourth quarter, having led Buffalo to three come-from-behind fourth quarter victories this season. He has all the makings of an elite QB and I believe, as do many others, that he will be just that at seasons end.
2. Lee Got Paid
...and rightfully so. Last week wide receiver Lee Evans signed a four-year 37.75-million dollar contract extension that keeps him with the Bills through the 2012 season. Evans deserved every penny of it. He went about his contract situation with class (unlike Jason Peters who still is not playing at the level he did last season) and got paid.
He ranks fifth in the NFL in receiving yards and is a constant deep threat due to his speed and beautiful route running. See: 87 yard TD reception last week vs. Arizona.
Evans will be an important part of Bills offense for a long time. He and Trent Edwards are developing some great chemistry and once rookie James Hardy develops more Evans will see even more balls thrown his way.
3. Marshawn Still Has Some Yards To Rack Up
It is way too early to say that Lynch has fallen into a sophomore slump, but it is safe to say that there are certainly some yards out there for Marshawn to rack up. Lynch has 43 less yards than he had at this point last season but has shown that he is still a constant running threat out of the backfield.
With the emergence of RB Fred Jackson, Lynch and Jackson combine to create a potent 1-2 punch out of Buffalo's backfield. The important thing about Lynch is that he almost NEVER goes down on first contact and looks as if his first 100-yard rushing game of the season is right around the corner.
4. Defense Is Better, Special Teams Is Still Great
It isn't hard to be better than the Bills defense that took the field last season. That Bills defense was ranked second to last in many categories and was decimated by injuries.
The Bills have a top 10 defense this year that has been revamped and looks fantastic. Reasons for this include (but are not limited to): The addition of Marcus Stroud and Kawika Mitchell, the fact that Paul Posluszny has played in more than three games this season and Terrence McGee (and solid depth at the CB position).
Buffalo's special teams are something that can never be looked over when talking about the Bills. For years, the Bills have had one of the best special teams units in the NFL and this year is no different.
Special teams coach Bobby April has the Special Teams unit playing at an extremely high level. Pro Bowl punter Brian Moorman is fourth in the NFL with 10 punts inside the 20, a stat that says a lot about a punter and the Special Teams unit in general.
After 5 weeks what do we not know?
There are many things that we don't know this early in the season: Who is a serious Super Bowl contender? Who will win the election? How many more coaches will get fired mid-season?
The most important thing that is unknown about the Bills thus far is how they will respond to the beating they took in Arizona last weekend. The Bills haven't come off a loss since last season and it will be interesting to see how they respond to their first loss.
The fact that Trent Edwards was knocked out on the third play of the game could be a large part of why the Bills lost Sunday, but Trent Edwards doesn't play defense...and the Bills defense allowed the Cards to put up 41 points. 41 points...that's the most the Bills defense has allowed since their embarrassing 52-10 loss to the Patriots in week 11 of last season.
If the Bills can band together and put this loss behind them as just a little hiccup in the desert they should be fine. The Bills are very much in line to win the AFC East and I know I might be getting crazy, but having a HOME GAME in the playoffs? It's still a bit early but if this young team continues to play like they did the first four weeks of the season and not so much like they did week five, a home playoff game could be a definite possibility.