5 Reasons Bills Can Make Playoffs
It has been a very, very, very long time since the Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs.
In fact, the Bills currently have the longest playoff drought in the NFL. They have not made the playoffs in 11 seasons.
The drought is killing Bills fans. It hurts, but the drought is ending, Bills fans. Never say never, and remember, you never know in the National Football League.
Here are five reasons why the Bills can make the playoffs in 2011!
5. Greatly-Improved Defense
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The Buffalo Bills defense was laughable last season. Jim Brown could have came out of retirement and ran all over the Bills last year. That is how bad it was.
The Bills ranked dead last in the NFL in run defense, and their pass defense was nothing to be excited about due to the embarrassing pass rush.
But all of that will change.
Buffalo had a good defensive draft and landed big Marcell Dareus with the third-overall pick to help their troubling run defense. With Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards on the defensive line, teams will have a lot of trouble running on Buffalo.
A big problem for Buffalo's defense last year was the lack of depth at linebacker. Other than Paul Posluszny and Andra Davis, Buffalo's linebackers were very weak. Once Andra Davis went down for the season, it was all over for the Bills' linebackers.
Buffalo lost Paul Posluszny in free agency but replaced him with a better player in Nick Barnett. The Bills also signed Kirk Morrison and drafted Kelvin Sheppard. With Nick Barnett, Andra Davis, Kirk Morrison, and Kelvin Sheppard, Buffalo has a ton of depth at inside linebacker.
As for the Bills' embarrassing pass rush, that is where Shawne Merriman comes in. If Merriman's play in preseason and training camp is any sign of things to come, the Bills' pass rush will be just fine.
4. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller
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Buffalo has no worries at running back, seeing as how they have two good backs in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
Fred Jackson is the more complete back. He brings a lot of power along with his good speed and is not an easy player to tackle. He will get the bulk of the carries for Buffalo.
C.J. Spiller is the home run threat. His electrifying speed and ridiculous moves make him unstoppable at times. He is not great at running between the tackles, but that is what Fred Jackson is for.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are a headache for any defense. They compliment each other well and will both do even better this season with more experience and more confidence.
3. Stevie Johnson
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Stevie Johnson is the big-play wide receiver the Buffalo Bills need. His fun-loving attitude and his production on the field make him a big fan favorite in Buffalo.
Johnson will miss Lee Evans drawing a lot of attention, but Stevie can beat double coverage too. That is why he is a premier wide receiver.
Stevie is also a leader for the Bills. A lot of the players look up to him, and he appears to be the voice of the team off of the field. Johnson is a hard worker and a guy who will be in Buffalo for a long time.
Bills fans have every right to be excited about Stevie Johnson.
2. The Jets and Patriots Are Not Invincable
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The New England Patriots and the New York Jets are good football teams. There is no denying that. The Patriots had the best record in football last season, and the Jets have made the AFC championship game two years in a row.
With that being said, they are not invincible. The Jets got lucky a lot last season. There were a few games they had no business winning, but the ball bounced their way a few times and they took advantage of it.
Mark Sanchez is the main reason why the Jets are not an automatic playoff team. His lack of confidence and accuracy are what have held the Jets back from winning it all.
The Jets defense is great, but it is breakable. Outside of Darrelle Revis, the secondary is not great. As for linebackers, Bart Scott does a nice job plugging holes, but that is about it. David Harris is a great player, and Calvin Pace is solid. Their defensive line has some serious question marks.
The Jets' offensive line should get most of the credit for the points they do score, and their wide receivers and running backs are solid.
Like the Jets, the Patriots' strength is their offensive line. The amount of time Tom Brady has in the pocket is unbelievable. Not to take anything away from Tom Brady, but he has quite an advantage with that offensive line, and he panics when he does not have the time to throw.
The Patriots defense is shaky. They have solid players around the field. They have the dominant Vince Wilfork clogging holes. They have Devin McCourty playing well in the secondary and Jerod Mayo racking up a bunch of tackles.
The Patriots made a nice addition in Shaun Ellis, but that will not be enough. Outside of McCourty, the Patriots' secondary is bad. Outside of Mayo, the Patriots' linebackers are bad.
The Patriots defense makes them viable for defeat. It is not impossible for Buffalo to take advantage of the Jets' and Patriots' weaknesses.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
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Ryan Fitzpatrick gets labeled with a big question mark, but the truth is, anyone who watched him play last year knows he has what it takes.
Fitzpatrick has the smarts and the willpower to take Buffalo back to the playoffs. He does not have the strongest arm, nor is he the most accurate, but Fitzpatrick knows how to play and knows his wide receivers.
Fitzpatrick is the first serviceable quarterback the Bills have had since Drew Bledsoe. He is a hit with the fans because of his beard and his exciting play.
Fitzpatrick's play is somewhat similar to Doug Flutie's. (Flutie was the last quarterback to bring Buffalo to the playoffs). His athleticism and smarts are what make him a good quarterback.
Fitzpatrick is not a top-tier quarterback, but he is a heck of a football player and could be exactly the guy Buffalo needs to take them back to the playoffs.