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The Buffalo Bills, despite being in the midst of a thirteen year playoff drought, continue to prove one thing on a consistent basis season after season: they are one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL.
Last season it appeared as if the Bills had finally made the jump to playoff contention after an impressive 5-2 start with victories against the eventual AFC champion New England Patriots and the star-studded Philadelphia Eagles. Talk of starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick earning every bit of his recent contract extension and running back Fred Jackson becoming one of the best in the league seemed a bit premature, but warranted after the hot start. However, in typical Buffalo Bills fashion, their playoff hopes steadily evaporated after losing eight of their next nine games and finishing a lowly 6-10, good for a last place tie in the AFC East.
However, the Bills are bringing a new look defense to compliment the impressive offensive trio of Fitzpatrick, Jackson, and fiery wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Buffalo signed the former number one overall pick Mario Williams and fellow pass rusher Mark Anderson to force some much needed pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Rookies Stephen Gilmore at cornerback and left tackle Cordy Glenn are expected to come in and make an immediate impact on the starting lineup, something the Bills have lacked in their most recent drafts.
To go along with their proven talent, Buffalo has a couple of explosive weapons waiting to make their first real impact for the squad. Running back C.J. Spiller was a highly touted running back out of Clemson just a few years ago, but has yet to make the offensive impact that draft experts expected him to make. Along with wildcat weapon Brad Smith, these two athletes are expected to bring a faster pace to the Bills offense to go along with the new and improved pass rush on the defensive side of the ball.
A real subject of note from the Bills’ camp is the potential backup quarterback situation. The competition’s coverage is severely lacking compared to their downstate division rival’s backup quarterback situation (Tim Tebow, ever heard of him?), but a familiar face may be waiting in the wings behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. Former two time pro-bowler Vince Young has all but solidified his role as backup quarterback with an impressive pre-season, beating out perennial backup Tyler Thigpen. With shaky offense a staple in Buffalo, the backup quarterback position always seems to be vital for this team.
Despite playing in a division with the AFC’s juggernauts in New England, the Bills have one of the easier schedules in the NFL. With the key acquisitions in free agency and the draft added to the in-house talent, this is Buffalo’s most formidable team in over a decade. The time is now for the Buffalo Bills to move into the upper echelon of the NFL and end their playoff drought.