“The Bills could have one of the best defensive lines in football.”
“They will just need the offense to score ‘enough’ points and then rely on the defense.”
“This team will go as far as Ryan Fitzpatrick will let them”.
These are all things that I heard this preseason regarding the Bills. Not only did people expect them to make a little noise in the wild card, no one expected this revamped defense to be at the bottom of the league in almost every category. Going into this week’s game against the Rams, the Bills are ranked 29th in points allowed, 24th in yards allowed, and 30th in passing yards allowed.
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The offense? They have more than held their own.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been better than “serviceable” with 20 TD’s to only 12 INT, and their running game ranks 4th in the NFL (even though they haven’t been able to implement it as much as they’d like because of all the big deficits they have faced). As a matter of fact, if at the beginning of the year you had told me the Bills offense would have these kinds of numbers, I would have expected the Bills to be at least leading the wild card, given the expectations of their defense.
Yet here they are at 5-7.
I believe there is still plenty of time for the Bills though. Yes, they are almost certain to miss the postseason for the 13th season in a row, but they still have plenty to play for. With a win this week, the Bills would have a serious chance to finish at .500 or better for the first time since 2004.
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That would be a huge momentum builder heading into 2013.
The reason this would be possible is because the defense is starting to show signs of life again. Over their last three games, the Bills are 2-1 and the defense has given up an average of 17 points. Not only that, but their big offseason signing, Mario Williams, has recorded 5 sacks and a forced fumble in those 3 games (Williams only recorded 4.5 sacks through the first 9 games).
All of that combined with the fact that 3 of their last 4 games are at home, means that the Bills have a fighters chance to get to .500 or better, erase their early season struggles, and start looking forward to 2013 with momentum on their side.
Wouldn’t be too bad for a team with the worst statistical defense in the league 3 weeks ago.
Follow Cole Stevenson on Twitter: @Cole_Stevenson