Tyler Dunne, BFR Publisher
There are problems at every turn. New left tackle. New offensive coordinator. Inept offense. Buffalo is not exactly storming into New England.
That being said, I expect Terrell Owens to reinvigorate the offense. Contrary to the preseason, look for Buffalo to put up points this season. There are plenty of weapons. From T.O. to Steve Johnson, the receiving corps is loaded and Fred Jackson is about to prove himself as a top 15 back. It's just a matter of Alex Van Pelt and Trent Edwards dialing up the right calls and exploiting the right mismatches.
Defensively, it's hard to say. The pass rush was putrid before Aaron Maybin finally reached a contract agreement with Buffalo. Unfortunately, rookies that hold out all camp statistically struggle off the get-go. Maybin may not be the one-man wrecking crew Buffalo needs until October or November. Still, Maybin has a great burst and should at least be a situational weapon.
The schedule is brutal. Compared to last season's Div. I-AA worthy September, Buffalo opens with murderer's row. At New England, Tampa Bay, New Orleans and at Miami. If Buffalo goes 2-2 through this stretch, maybe I'll alter this prediction. Otherwise, fans be jostling for draft-pick position amid a full-scale rebuilding project.
Spencer Timkey, BFR Analyst
It's safe to say that the Buffalo Bills are hurting.
The sudden departures of offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, starting left tackle Langston Walker, and running back Dominic Rhodes leaves Bills' fans wondering what is going on inside the front office.
This preseason didn't give fans much optimism. Second-year quarterback Trent Edwards looked "trenttative" and unwilling to go deep with the ball – an issue that plagued the offense last season. Terrell Owens' unexpected signing in Buffalo continues to be a carnival, but his absence all preseason leaves questions unanswered. The biggest issue this season will be the offensive line. Inexperience and two starting rookies could spell disaster for an already sputtering offense. The three-game suspension that Marshawn Lynch has to serve to start the season made some in the front office sweat, but backups Freddy Jackson and Xavier Omon will handle the load just fine. The Bills are stacked at receiver with T.O., Lee Evans, and plenty of promising backups.
The defense is still looking for a consistent playmaker. Rookie Aaron Maybin will probably start opposite Aaron Schobel at defensive end and pressure on the quarterback (or lack thereof) will dictate how the defense performs. With only two real starters in Paul Posluszny and Kawika Mitchell, Buffalo is one injury away from really hurting at linebacker. The defensive backs look solid and there's plenty of depth. Leodis McKelvin could blossom into one of the best shutdown corners in the league.
The AFC East is tough and the Bills schedule is even tougher. Sorry, Bills fans. The playoff drought continues.
Ian Smith, BFR Analyst
It seems that the Buffalo Bills cannot escape the numbers seven and nine. Like Jim Carrey in the movie 23, it is to my belief that the Lake Erie dwellers will end up with the record they have accrued the past three years. Although optimism is as high as it has been in the past nine playoff-less seasons, a letdown is inevitable. Whether it's the stitched-together offensive line coming undone, or the bendable defense finally breaking, something nefarious will happen. I promise.
Many half-glass-full Bills fans will say, "Well, Terrell Owens is going to catch a touchdown or two a game. Aaron Maybin is going to get a sack every game. Leodis McKelvin will intercept a pass in the first half and then return a kickoff for six the next half." Whether or not these will be true will remain to be seen, the fact of the matter is that the Bills are far from having a unified, sound team. Pro-Bowl caliber players? They certainly have several. But football is a sport that rewards a team, and the Bills do not look like such.
The hard thing to swallow in all of this is that the Bills have had the PR of a Super Bowl-caliber squad. The signing of Terrell Owens (and all of the baggage he comes with) placed the spotlight right on the city of Buffalo. The deaths of legendary quarterback Jack Kemp and scout Linda Bogdan, the enshrinements of Bruce Smith and owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as the arrests of Marshawn Lynch, Donte Whitner, and now ex-Bill Ko Simpson provided all of the attention the Bills could possibly handle.
Combined with the firing of offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, as well one of the most difficult schedules in one of the most difficult divisions, it would be hard for any team to accumulate a winning record, let alone the lovable losers that are the Buffalo Bills.