While we're all eager to celebrate all things football, this year's opening Sunday falls on a somber anniversary. I hope you find the time to reflect on that day and everything you've been fortunate to experience since then.
Now back to our regularly scheduled dipshittery.
Robert Mays beat me to the punch as to why the Bills will stink this year. In a nutshell, their defense lost Pro Bowler Marcell Dareus to rehab, first and second round picks Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland to injuries, jawbreaker IK Enempkali to injury, Nigel Bradham to the Eagles, and Mario Williams to the team's general stupidity. And they cut Manny Lawson.
Accordingly, I am not optimistic that they will improve on last year's 8-8 record. In fact, here's how I see things unfolding weekly.
Most of these columns are self-explanatory, except for the "why" column, which I will explain.
"west coast" means that the Bills will lose the game because it's on the west coast. In the Pacific time zone, Buffalo is 16-36-1 all-time; 5-15 in their last twenty games; 2-9 since 2000; and 0-5 in their last five games. I see no reason for optimism in any of the road trips to Seattle (one of the best three teams in football with serious home field advantage), Oakland (everyone's favorite up-and-coming team), or LA (fearsome pass rush, Todd Gurley).
Running tally of losses: 3
"pats" means that the Bills will lose the game because it's against the Pats. Against the Patriots, Buffalo is 4-28 since 2000; 2-18 in their last twenty games; and had a fifteen game losing streak from 2003 to 2010. The week 4 game will feature Jimmy Garappolo instead of Tom Brady, but Buffalo will lose anyway because it's at Gillette. In away games versus the Pats, the Bills are 20-36 all-time; 2-14 since 2000; 3-17 in their last 20 games; and had a twelve game losing streak from 2001 to 2013. Think about that last factoid--that span includes both of W's terms, all of Obama's first term and a year of his second term! I see no reason for optimism in these two games.
Running tally of losses: 5
"pitt" means that the Bills will lose the game because it's against the Steelers. Against Pittsburgh, Buffalo is 8-13 all-time; 0-5 since 2000; 2-8 in their last ten games; and 1-8 all-time at Pittsburgh. The Steelers have won 61 games in the past six years. By contrast, the Bills have won 59 games in the past nine seasons. I see no reason for optimism in an away game versus Pittsburgh.
Running tally of losses: 6
"jets split" means that the Bills will split the series against the Jets because they are the Bills and Jets. Against the Jets, Buffalo is 17-15 since 2000 and 10-10 in their last twenty games. On the road against the Jets, the Bills are 27-28 all-time; 10-10 since 2000; and 8-12 in their last 20 games. Buffalo won the last five games in this series and the math makes it appear that this trend can't continue much longer.
Running tally of losses: 7
"fish split" means that the Bills will split the series against the Fish because they are the Bills and Fish. Against Miami, the Bills are 17-15 since 2000 and 12-8 in their last 20 games. In games played in Miami, the Bills are merely 17-32-1 all-time but 7-9 since 2000; 8-12 in their last 20 games; and 5-5 in their last ten games. Hence I predict a split. Miami will lose in Buffalo because the game will be played on December 24. I guarantee that the weather will be brutally cold (hence the "cold" in the "why" column) and will make the Floridians want to get back on the plane as soon as possible. Except for Jay Fiedler, they will also be unhappy that they have to travel western New York to play a game on Christmas Eve in a frozen wasteland of unemployment and alcoholism instead of celebrating the birth of the messiah with family and friends in beautiful south Florida.
Running tally of losses: 8
"good team" means that the Bills will lose the game because it's against a good team. The Bengals made the playoffs five years running, with 52 wins over that span. By contrast, the Bills won 52 games over the past eight years and haven't made the playoffs in sixteen years. The Cardinals are no slouch either, with 34 wins and two playoff appearances over the past three seasons. I see no reason for optimism in an away game versus Cincy or any game against the Cardinals.
Running tally of losses: 10
I think they can beat the Niners at home and the Ravens in Baltimore because they are bad teams, even badder than the Bills. They'll beat Cleveland because Cleveland used all its mojo up with the Cavaliers. I have no idea why they'll beat Jacksonville, I guess I'm just not picking up what the Jaguars are putting down. Splits with the Jets and Fish account for the other two wins.
So the Bills will go 6-10. If I'm in a really optimistic mood I might convince myself that Buffalo can sweep the Jets and Dolphins. Thus even my most optimistic view is another 8-8 season.
I'm happier to hear, and even encourage, rosier predictions for the Bills in the comments. But I don't expect any.