Buffalo Bills Back on Track
Wayne Root: Buffalo Bills Back on Track
When the Buffalo Bills crushed Indianapolis back in Week One of the 2015 pro football season, I talked about how "for real" they looked. The team suffered a bit of a wake-up call the next week against the New England Patriots, though they did rally to make the game close in the final moments.
Last week in Miami? Wow!
As a small underdog, Buffalo once again looked like a legitimate playoff team. You may not have watched on TV because all the late matchups were out of hand quickly. Some important notes...
*Buffalo jumped ahead 27-0 in the first half!
*Despite coasting, Buffalo won total yardage 428-391
*Buffalo averaged almost seven yards-per-play (6.8) despite sitting on a lead
*Tyrod Taylor was 21-29-0-277 passing, which is extremely efficient
*Though still relatively inexperienced, Taylor helped Buffalo convert 54% of third down tries
Hey, maybe Indianapolis is falling part this year...and Buffalo was just the first team to show us that. But, squashing both Indianapolis at home and then Miami on the road is very meaningful. This isn't running up the score on somebody like the Raiders and Jaguars when they're tanking for the draft. This is beating the #2 favorite behind New England in the AFC to start the season...and then going on the road to dismantle...well, frankly, humiliate a popular darkhorse.
Can Buffalo keep it going this Sunday when they host Eli Manning and the New York Giants? You regulars know I follow the New York teams very closely. I was born in Mt. Vernon, NY as a true S.O.B (son of a butcher!). I still have great connections in the Big Apple that help me find big winners in all sports. You can be sure we're looking at this in-state battle very closely.
The six-point underdog Giants could present a real challenge because:
*They've been off since last Thursday, giving them extra rest and preparation
*Buffalo's in an obvious letdown spot off a ROAD divisional win
*The Giants are 1-2, and can't afford to fall to 1-3 in the playoff chase
*Manning is much more experienced in big game scenarios than Taylor
Even if I end up liking Buffalo minus the points, I'm fully aware of those issues. And, if I release a SHOCK THE NATION upset call on the Giants...it will be based very intently on those intangibles involving NYG's extra rest vs. the favorite off the road win.
Looking forward, it's time to ask whether or not Buffalo has a chance to be the third best team in the AFC. We all know New England is best. They're clear of the field by a few points in Power Ratings...and have already won in Buffalo. Denver was supposed to take a step backward this season. But the Broncos are still undefeated because their defense has improved enough to counteract Peyton Manning's decline. Who else is out there in the AFC who's clearly better than Buffalo?
CINCINNATI is undefeated, and also a logical choice to sit at #3 in the Power Ratings.
PITTSBURGH when Big Ben is healthy is certainly in the discussion
SAN DIEGO AND KANSAS CITY may or may not be
BALTIMORE has some work to do
Honestly...right now...I'm taking Buffalo on a neutral field over San Diego, Kansas City, or Baltimore. I'd have to think about Cincinnati a bit...because Andy Dalton is far from a sure thing to shine in a big game vs. a quality defense. Those teams will meet in Buffalo on October 18.
I guess it's enough for now to marvel that Buffalo is even in this discussion. We'll know more in a few weeks. The early evidence is very encouraging for Bills fans. They didn't "luck" their way into wins vs. Indy and at Miami. This isn't about fortunate scheduling or flat opponents.
*The defense is great
*The offense is surprisingly potent and very efficient
*The attitude is "us against the world," which works wonders in this sport
*The head coach Rex Ryan is still in his honeymoon period
Maybe I'll be riding the Bills this weekend...or maybe I'll wait and be on them BIG in upcoming matchups against Tennessee or Cincinnati. They're already on my radar for road dog spots later this season at Kansas City and at Philadelphia. To find out all that's in store for this weekend, you have to be a paying customer!
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