Buffalo Bills: 5 Bold Predictions for the 2011 Upcoming Season

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJune 17, 2011

Buffalo Bills: 5 Bold Predictions for the 2011 Upcoming Season

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    The Buffalo Bills struggled last season, as expected and finished with a 4-12 record, falling short of the playoffs for the 11th straight year.

    This year, they hope to get off to a better start and improve with a healthier team and young players who they selected in this year's NFL draft.

    With the lockout still in effect, nobody knows what the 2011 NFL season has in store. That doesn't stop us from making predictions.

    Here are five bold predictions for your 2011 Buffalo Bills season.

CJ Spiller Will Have at Least 10 Total Touchdowns

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    Why is it bold?

    Spiller only had 74 carries and 24 receptions, giving him a total of 98 total touches on offense. He is only in his second season and the backup behind Fred Jackson who has over 200 carries the last two seasons.

    Why it will happen

    CJ Spiller is expected to get more of a workload this season, but looking at last year's production, that's not saying much. Fred Jackson is still the number one back in Buffalo and will continue to get the bulk of the carries.

    Spiller will probably get 100 to 125 touches and somewhere in the range of 40 catches. He is very explosive on special teams and has the explosive speed to take it to the house every time. Last season he averaged 23 yards a return on kickoffs and took one back the distance.

    With a year under his belt and fewer expectations, Spiller could prove his worth in his sophomore season. 

Steve Johnson Will Prove Last Season Was No Fluke

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    Why is it bold?

    Before Johnson's breakout performance last year, he played a total of 16 games and had a combined 112 receiving yards in two years. There have been plenty of one-year wonders in the league, and playing for Buffalo, there's a chance Johnson could be another.

    Why it will happen

    Johnson is a talented young kid that works hard to succeed. He is also passionate about the game, as you saw against Pittsburgh last year when he cried when he dropped the game-winning touchdown pass.

    The main reason Johnson will repeat last year's numbers is wide receiver Lee Evans. Evans is a solid receiver who has gone over 1,000 yards a couple times in his seven-year career.

    Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is looking to get the 30-year-old receiver more involved in the offense, which will take some of the attention off of Johnson.

    Ten touchdowns may not be matched, but 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns is a great follow up season for the 24-year-old wide out.

Marcell Dareus Will Lead the Bills Defense in Sacks

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    Why is it bold?

    He is a rookie player who is stuck in the lockout and will have to learn on the fly, once the season starts.

    Why it will happen

    The Bills only had 27 sacks last season as a team, ranking in the bottom of the NFL. Kyle Williams was the leader on the team last season with only 5.5.

    Dareus is a unmovable object at 6'2, 308 pounds and is capable of playing any position on the defensive front.  He played in a total of 33 games at Alabama, starting just 15, and finished with 11 sacks, 40 solo tackles and 20 tackles for a loss.

    Dareus said he is "not a big fan of quarterbacks," and now on a team that struggled to hit the quarterback last season, Marcell Dareus will have plenty of chances to do so.

Buffalo Will Beat the Cowboys for the First Time Since 1996

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    Why is it bold?

    Dallas is a much better team not just on paper but for the last several years as well. The game is at home, and Dallas will be a heavy favorite heading into the November matchup. The Cowboys lead the overall series 7-3 with a combined score of 82 to 30.

    Why it will happen

    Why not? The Bills aren't as bad as their record showed last season. This team played quite a few close games against playoff teams including back-to-back overtime losses vs the Ravens and Chiefs.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is a decent quarterback and should be able to take advantage of a Dallas secondary that ranked 26th last season. Buffalo's defense also should be improved with the selections they made in the draft.

    Buffalo also will be battle tested coming into this game with games against the Raiders, Patriots, Eagles and Jets.

    Anything can happen on any given Sunday, especially with the long lockout in effect. Look for the Bills to defeat the Cowboys for just the second time since 1993.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Will Throw for the Second Most Touchdowns in Bills History

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    Why is it bold?

    Fitzpatrick has started a total of 36 games in his six-year career and has thrown for only 44 touchdowns. For Fitzpatrick to do so, he will have to throw for at least 27, which, based on last year's numbers, that would be up there with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Matt Cassel. He also plays for the Bills.

    Why it will happen

    Ryan Fitzpatrick was not a bad quarterback last season, throwing for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. With a healthy Roscoe Parrish, Lee Evans and an emerging Steve Johnson, Fitz has all of the weapons to put up even better numbers this year.

    What also helps this bold prediction is the Bills defense. The defense has a hard time stopping offenses, so the Bills will find themselves in plenty of shootouts.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick may not be Jim Kelly, but a 28-touchdown pass season could open some eyes. Not a Hall of Famer, not even a Pro Bowl quarterback, but he has the potential to be a decent starter in this league.