A year ago, no one believed in the Buffalo Bills. A year ago, they were doing nothing sharing the floor of a Patriots-dominated AFC East. Now, they have started to open some eyes, and started to make the experts question the divisional winner.
Dick Jauron's bunch started the season off in stunning fashion—blowing out the Seattle Seahawks, and chasing that with a win over the heavily favored Jacksonville Jaguars. Another pair of wins followed over the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams.
A crippling loss to Arizona the next week once again made fans and experts alike doubt the Bills. Rebounding to beat the San Diego Chargers by nine points only to lose to the Miami Dolphins, who seem to be the upset minded team of the AFC this year.
As of the printing of this article, the Bills sit at 5-2, with a divisional game against the New York Jets coming up this Sunday. The Bills once again find themselves in familiar territory—trailing the Patriots for the divisional title yet again.
Even without Tom Brady, the Patriots are making a run to win the division once again, something that's become a staple in the NFL.
The Bills definitely have talent in place this year, and by getting two good draft picks with McKelvin and Hardy in the first and second rounds respectively, added to that. The acquisition of Marcus Stroud, helped to solidify a great defensive line.
The quarterback play of Trent Edwards is nothing short of shocking. The best move the Bills have made the past two years was benching J.P. Losman and going with Edwards as the starter.
Marshawn Lynch is the kind of grind-it-out running back that any team would gladly welcome into their backfield, and even though the offensive line has been banged up, Lynch is still putting up numbers.
A nice receiving corps starts with Lee Evans and Josh Reed and is rounded off nicely with return specialist Robert Parrish and rookie James Hardy. Tight End Robert Royal is decent in his own right—nothing stellar, but he won't lose a game for you.
On to their strength—the defense. With a defensive line consisting of Marcus Stroud, Chris Kelsay, Kyle Williams, and Aaron Schobel you can't go wrong. Paul Posluszny's playing to make up for a season lost a year ago to a broken leg and Kawika Mitchell's a decent outside linebacker.
The secondary boasts the speedster Terrence McGee, with Jabari Greer and Leodis McKelvin rounding off the corner spots. Donte Whitner's a good safety out of Ohio State, and has really been stepping his game up alongside Ko Simpson at the Safety spot.
The fact is that to be the best, you have to beat the best. I'm not confident that the Bills can win the AFC North with the Brady-less Patriots and the surprising Dolphins playing the way they are, not even factoring in the Jets.
The wild card may or may not come from this division—it's really tough to say at this point in the season, especially with the AFC being the jumbled mess that it is. So, in my eyes, the Bills as of this week are pretenders. Nothing more than an overachieving third place team in the division that wants to make a run for it next year.
© Phenomenal Publications 2008