Mid-Season Checkup

Well here we are at the midway point of the 2007 Buffalo Bills season. I’d say things look better than I thought I’d be blogging about at this point. We’ll take a look at the schedule first.

First 8 Games

Buffalo started the season with a nail biter loss against Denver, then got destroyed in their next 2 against New England and Pittsburgh to start off with a nice 3-game skid. Things looked pretty rough then.

Thankfully, the Jets were horrible enough to help the Bills get their first win. That game was a step forward, but I think the big turning point for Buffalo this season was actually the Monday night game against Dallas. Buffalo was officially back in the scene of the NFL. They picked off 5 of Romo’s passes and snagged one that he put on the turf. Despite their most impressive defensive effort of the year, they managed to lose. But that loss seemed to have only made the players want to win even more.

After a bye week, the banged up Ravens came to town. The equally banged up Bills won in another low scoring affair. That kicked off their current winning streak of 3 games, bringing them back to a .500 record of 4-4.

Next 8 Games

The next 8 opponents are, in order, Miami, New England, Jacksonville, Washington, Miami, Cleveland, New York Giants, and Philadelphia. After their opening 8 games, this schedule looks like a comparable walk in the park.

Two games against Miami are must-wins, since they are still winless this season. That’s the kind of game where, as a heavy favorite, Buffalo has got to stay sharp and aggressive. Then there are some teams who haven’t lived up to expectations with Washington and Philadelphia, so I’ll optimistically give them 4 wins up to this point. Then there are 3 tougher games that are very unpredictable. I’ll say they beat Cleveland (in a game like the Cincinnati game), but struggle with Jacksonville and NY Giants. I’d say they have a better chance beating Jacksonville than the Giants, but Eli does like to throw interceptions, so that could be a fun game. And of course, we can’t forget the game 2 weeks from now against the Patriots.

If Bill Belichick wasn’t so good at mentally preparing his players, I’d say the Bills could pull a game out like they put up against Dallas. But really, I don’t expect too much. You’d better believe I’ll be watching and cheering on my couch, but I’m chalking this one up in the L column for now.

With those predictions, I’ve got them finishing at 9-7, like I predicted earlier. That could be enough for a wild card spot, but it’s not too likely.

Good News

Buffalo now has two young QBs who’ve each played well this year. JP and Lee Evans have their chemistry back, finally, and Marshawn Lynch is quietly (thanks to the unbelievable performances of Adrian Peterson) putting up very impressive rookie numbers. Most of the Bills’ big defensive presences are still injured, so they can only get better next year.

I think they have shown that they have the skill it takes to beat almost any NFL team. Their consistency just isn’t there, but it is growing each week. The New England game will be a great test of where the team is at now. But first, they must plan for Miami.

Buzz

Believe it or not, Mike McAllister, the Power Rankings guy over at ESPN.com is hopping on the Buffalo wagon. After their defeat of Cincy this week, he has them ranked 18th, but comments that he thinks the AFC East may have 2 playoff teams this year. The Bills are walking a fine line as far as the media is concerned. If they beat Miami, people will be excited for the Patriots game. If they manage to botch that game, people may not tune in for the Sunday-nighter.

What Does It All Mean?

As a long-time Buffalo Bills fan, I’m expecting great games and horrible games. A lot of hope should come out of nowhere toward the end of the season, only to fall just short of the playoffs. We could be looking at a season ending like the 2004 season ended. They’ll have to beat a team in Pennsylvania to have a shot at the playoffs. Let’s just hope the Eagles aren’t feeling too hot that day.

Related: Power Rankings: Top NFC teams face big November tests
Leo & Sal hand out midseason Bills grades
Halfway home, Bills in good position for a playoff run


Bills Game Moved to Prime Time

The next two opponents for Buffalo are AFC East division foes. Miami followed by New England. The New England game was originally planned to take place as a Sunday morning game, but because the Bills are so totally awesome, the game got moved to the Sunday night slot! I guess there’s a slim chance that the actual reason is the 9-0 record of New England, but hey, the Bills put up the wildest game in prime time this year, so why not?

I’m excited about this game, but really don’t have much expectation from Buffalo on it. The Dallas game was one thing, the Patriots are at a whole different level. I believe Buffalo will be every bit as mentally prepared for the Pats as they were for the Cowboys, but Bill Belichick gets his players mentally ready better than any coach in the NFL. I don’t expect it to be close, but it should be entertaining for at least the first quarter.

Source: Unbeaten New England gets prime-time date at Buffalo


Cincinnati 21, Buffalo 33

Alright, they came through again! The Bills took care of business just like I expected them to do. Marshawn finally had his big breakout run (after an awesome broken tackle) for a big 56 yard touchdown run. That was the last score of the game. Only a few minutes before that, he had his first career pass for a touchdown to tight end Robert Royal. I was watching stats of the game, since it wasn’t televised here, and I was very confused when I saw that Lynch got a TD and so did Royal. After a minute of confusion, waiting for the stats to get corrected, I noticed that Marshawn’s TD was a passing one, crazy!

JP and Lee finally got their connection working again in full swing, connecting 9 times for 165 yards and a touchdown. That was by far the duo’s best game of the season. The game was close in the first half after a big kick return for a touchdown, but Buffalo came out in the second half and really closed the game out like they needed.

It’s great to see the Bills finally putting it together. Their latest performances have earned them something very exciting in a couple weeks. I’ll save that post for tomorrow, but it’s very exciting news!

Related: Bengals at Bills Game Highlights
Defining Moment, Week 9: Marshawn Lynch
Week 9 Buffalo Bills Report Card


Week 9: Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills

This is a big game for the Bills. If momentum means anything, Buffalo should be the favorite to win here. The Bills have been looking good and playing better lately than at the beginning of the season. Cincinnati seems confused and lost out on the field. The Bengals have a record of 2-5 and the Bills, of course, are 3-4 coming into this game.

week09.pngEvery game has been an offensive struggle for Buffalo. This could finally be the week where we see a good deal of points put up on the board. JP Losman is starting, Lee Evans has now had a couple good games, and Cincinnati has one of the most generous secondaries in the league. In fact, I just picked up Lee for my fantasy NFL team this week. He should do just fine.

Unlike last week’s sleeper versus the Jets, this should be an entertaining game. The Bengals like to score, and are usually pretty good at it. It should be a great test for the Bills defense. Luckily, this is one week before Bengals’ WR Chris Henry is due back from his suspension. With just Ocho Cinco and TJ Houshmandzadeh to worry about, the Bills have their work cut out for them, but they really have a chance to shine this game.

As I mentioned before, Buffalo has beaten Cincinnati in every game they’ve seen each other since the late 80s. I’m hoping that can continue. Marshawn Lynch may finally break that 100 yard mark this game, as Cincy hasn’t been to strong against the run. I have to pick the Bills in this one, especially since our own Bengals blogger picked them to win as well.

Prediction: Cincinnati 24 | Buffalo 31

Related: Bills/Bengals: What to Watch For
Bills look to open up offense
Bengals vs. Bills


JP’s Back at the Helm

Coach Jauron made the decision late Tuesday as to which QB will start against Cincinnati. Here’s a quote from BuffaloBills.com:

“J.P. Losman will start Saunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, said Jauron in a team statement. “Trent Edwards’ wrist will prevent him from participating until late in the week, if at all.”

Trent’s a little banged up, so JP it is. Cincinnati has allowed quite a few passing touchdowns, so JP couldn’t have asked for a better game in which to return. Also, Buffalo has beat Cincinnati in their past 8 meetings! Seriously, you have to go back to 1988 for the last time Cincy beat the Bills. Not too shabby.

Source: Jauron Names Losman Starter vs. Bengals


Buffalo 13, New York 3

In one of the ugliest games of the season, the Bills pulled off their third win in four games by beating the Jets. It was a pretty typical game from the Bills of late. The main difference was that they finally got that one big Lee Evans play we’ve all been waiting for.

Lee EvansTrent Edwards left the game in the third quarter with a sprained wrist. No word yet on how serious it is, but it didn’t look too bad after the game. Updates should come soon though. So that brought JP Losman back off the bench and into the game. He did just fine, going 3-5. The big play was an 85 yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans. Losman bombed the ball down the field and Evans ripped the ball away from Darrelle Revis, and after escaping the attempted tackles of two Jets, strolled into the end zone.

I mentioned Revis in the game preview. He was targeted again this game just like last game, but he came out on top with an interception on one of Edwards’ passes. Speaking of interceptions, Buffalo defenders added a couple more to their total with George Wilson and Terrence McGee grabbing passes off of Pennington’s replacement, Kellen Clemens.

The Jets are looking pretty bad at 1-7, but not as bad as Miami, who has yet to win this season. Buffalo hasn’t played Miami yet this year, but will in weeks 10 and 14. Hopefully those will get Buffalo a couple more wins.

Related: Losman and Evans reconnect as Bills produce third win
Bills vs Jets Game Center
Bills Defense Shines Again


Interview with Trent Edwards

Here’s a short interview with Trent Edwards before the season started. It’s good to know that he and JP Losman were getting along so quickly right away. We know JP is bummed out right now, but I’m sure he’s supportive of Edwards and the quick success he’s had.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/6ODRNj_-6qI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


Week 8: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Now we’ve got the first rematch of the season. Just four weeks ago, New York came into Buffalo and lost a close game. This time Buffalo tries to repeat that feat in the Jets’ turf.

Last game the Bills started Trent Edwards due to JP Losman’s knee injury sustained against New England. Now Edwards is starting because he has earned the job with quality decision making and solid play. Last time against the Jets, Edwards threw the only touchdown of his short career. I’m hoping he can tack on a couple more this week. Part of the reason Trent did so well last time was because they were targeting rookie cornerback Darrelle Revis. He expects them to do the same this game and has tried to better prepare himself.

week04.pngI’m really not too sure what to expect this game. I think it will be pretty tough. Last week Buffalo beat a team with a fantastic defense, so I’m hoping the Bills players don’t let their guard down this week against a lesser team whom they’ve already beat. This should be a good test of character for the young players. If they stay poised and play how they can, I expect them to win by more than 3 points this time.

Last week, Pennington had a decent game against Cincinnati, but still lost. This week, people say his job is on the line, and we may even see some of second year Kellen Clemens on the field. I think it will be a real good game, and hopefully Buffalo will get a couple timely picks again.

Prediction: Buffalo 19 | New York 12

Related: Run Defense Will Determine Winner of Jets Vs. Bills
Bills-Jets Preview


Bills Beer Commercial

This is great! I just found it on YouTube. I’m not sure when it aired, but those are my kind of guys!

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/kWp-flMnLMQ" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


Edwards Will Start Against Jets

Hey, he beat them last time, so why not again? Today, coach Dick Jauron named Trent Edwards as the week 8 starter in their road game versus the Jets. Trent showed great poise last week in the no-huddle offense, which may be a more regular addition to the Bills offense. Naturally, us Bills fans are hoping that it will indeed become a regular part of the offense, since Jim Kelly was the no-huddle wizard in the glory days of the early 90’s.

Now, how about JP in all of this? By now, he’s pretty close to 100% healthy. When he met with the press, the decision was too fresh for JP to really comment. He said that he wants to let it sink in for a bit before he decides how to react. He told coach that he’s okay with the decision when he was notified of the news. Coach Jauron is a great guy. He knows how to deal with people and players with honesty and seems to explain situations very clearly.

With all of that, JP will obviously be bummed out about losing his starting job again. At the moment, this is just a weekly decision again, so the job is up for grabs in the following game. It’s got to be tough for him, but Trent has won 2 of 3 games which he has started. It is arguable that his lack of scoring led to their one loss against Dallas, but JP really hasn’t shown signs that he would have done any better.

So, I think it’s a good move to go with Edwards again. This is a great chance to see how he will do against a defense who has seen him before, and one he has scored on before. If he leads some scoring drives again, I don’t expect him to lose the job any time soon. If he fails to find the end zone, however, JP may get the go next week against Cincinnati. It’s some drama, but good drama for the Bills organization.

Related: Bills To Stick With Edwards At QB
Losman Keeping Chin Up