Not unlike years past the Buffalo Bills have had a true roller coaster ride of a season with many moments leaving you encouraged and many others leaving you completely discouraged. I find myself continually going back on forth on many points in relation to this season and had to write it out to help clear my head of the dizzying thoughts I have had about the 2015 Buffalo Bills.
Optimistic Me: Two of the Bills four losses have come against undefeated teams (CIN and NE). Another loss came in a game where the Bills played in foreign country with their backup QB starting (JAX). The Bills were able to play even with Cincinnati for 3 of the 4 quarters (the 3rd quarter of that game went to CIN 14-0). Against the Patriots and Jacksonville they showed their resilience by coming back late in each game to make them close.
Pessimistic Me: All three of the Bills wins were against pretty bad teams who have all had some sort of coaching changes at some point this season (MIA, TEN & IND). Miami and Tennessee have already fired their Head Coaches. The Colts have fired their Offensive Coordinator and rumors indicate they are not far away from firing their Head Coach. The Bills really need to beat teams going through less dysfunction if they want to be a playoff contender.
Home vs Away:
Optimistic Me: The Bills have a decent away record of 2-1 with their only loss to theJaguars in a wacky turnover filled game played in another country.
Pessimistic Me: The Bills have a terrible home record of 1-3 although two of those losses were against top teams (Bengals & Patriots). While the Bills have always prided themselves on the home field advantage that they get at the Ralph, it has not played out that way this season.
Optimistic Me: Rex did a great job giving this team a week off to recuperate both mentally and physically. They are going to come back a much stronger team. They have had an up and down season and a week away from football spent with family might just do this team some good.
Pessimistic Me: Why the hell is Rex giving an under performing 3-4 team an entire week off especially when they have shown they lack the discipline that is needed to not be called for penalties especially in important spots of the game? This is something that you could spend the bye week focusing on while not having to worry about game planning for a specific opponent. Rex has a terrible record coming off bye weeks and yet he is still giving his players the week off as he has done in years past. Has he not learned anything?
Optimistic Me: The Bills only games left against opponents with winning records are within the division against the Jets and the Patriots. The first time the Bills will meet the Jets it could involve an injured Fitzpatrick at QB which would be a major advantage for the Bills as QB is already one of the Jets weakest positions.
Pessimistic Me: It's very unlikely that the Bills beat the Patriots, they have to play the Jets on a short week which is always tough, the Cowboys should have Romo back by the time they play the Bills and the Eagles and Redskins are going to be tougher opponents than they would appear based on their record. There are tons of scenarios in which I can see the Bills losing several of their remaining games.
Optimistic Me: The Bills are averaging four more points per game then they were last year (25 vs 21). Only the Patriots, Bengals, Cardinals and Saints have more TD’s than the Bills (20 TDs) in the first seven games which is pretty impressive. If the Bills can heal up a little bit this offense should be able to stabilize and do some positive things for the team.
Pessimistic Me: The offense has struggled mightily this season. It has put up a lot of points in certain games but in very short bursts. The offense did not show up for theGiants or Titans game and they were absent until the 4th quarter against the Patriots. The Bills biggest issue seems to be untimely penalties negating big plays and the inability to consistently sustain drives.
Optimistic Me: The Bills have given up 24 points or fewer in all but two games. With the team averaging 25 points on offense that means the defense is at least giving the team a chance to win most games. The defense has come up with some big plays like four consecutive stops from the 1 yard line in their own zone against Jacksonville and they were missing their best run stopper in Kyle Williams. Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore are arguably the best performing CB duo in the NFL right now and Leodis McKelvin is coming back from injury this week which will bolster that unit even if he plays safety.
Pessimistic Me: The defense was unable to close out the game against Jacksonville. They are 29th in the NFL in sacks, 22nd in pass yards given up per game and their defensive players don’t seem happy with Rex Ryan’s play calling and usage of personnel. For a so called "defensive genius" Rex does not seem to know how to use his shiny new defensive toys that well. The run defense is doing quite well but that’s because teams have been using the short passing game against the Bills rather than running against them.
Optimistic Me: The Bills have played a lot better when they have had all of their play makers on the field. They have dealt with a rash of injuries to some of their best players (Tyrod Taylor, Aaron Williams, Kyle Williams, LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams,Percy Harvin, Sammy Watkins, etc) Most of them seem poised to come back soon and that should give the Bills a boost in the second half of the season.
Pessimistic Me: The Bills are one of the healthiest teams in the league according to some statistics (although I will concede the Bills have higher profile guys injured than most teams). Playoff bound teams should be able to overcome injuries and still be able to beat lowly teams like the Jaguars. You don’t see the Packers whining about losing Jordy Nelson for the season. They just keep winning games just like playoff teams tend to do.
Optimistic Me: The Bills are only 1 game out of the playoffs and they have had an abundance of injuries and have played inconsistently over the first 7 games. The three teams that the Bills are chasing for the playoffs are the Jets, Raiders and Steelers. The Jets currently have injuries to both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith and their 4 wins are not against very good teams (CLE, MIA, WAS, IND). The Steelers lost Levon Bell for the rest of the season and the Raiders are well the Raiders and I am just not ready to believe they are good enough to make it to the playoffs although they are certainly much improved over past seasons. I can certainly see the Bills being able to make up some ground on these teams.
Pessimistic Me: This team has been unable to win two consecutive games this season and needs to win 6 or 7 games out of their remaining 9 to have a shot at the playoffs. When you need to rely on Tyrod Taylor to single handedly will your team to victory against a terrible Titans team and then lose later in the season against a lowly Jacksonville team you basically have to assume the Bills could potentially lose to any team at any given time which doesn’t bode well for winning 6-7 out of 9 games.
So there you have it. I really have no idea what to think about this team. There are times I watch them and I am extremely optimistic about their future this year and beyond. Then in true Buffalo Bills fashion there are moments that leave you scratching your head and wondering why the hell you even got your hopes up in the first place. Here’s to hoping there are more positives than negatives for this team for the remainder of the season but I truly have no idea how the rest of the season will play out.
How are you feeling about the rest of the Bills season?
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