Are the Buffalo Bills for real?
That’s the big question everyone will be asking this week after Buffalo moved to 2-0 with a thrilling victory over the Oakland Raiders. It’s easy to get excited if you’re a Bills fan, simply because you’ve dealt with so much losing for so long. But Buffalo dusted a Kansas City team that barely looks like a UFL squad right now and barely survived at home against a tired Raiders team — and that’s not enough to convince us that the Bills have turned a corner.
Don’t get us wrong: we’re impressed with what they’ve done thus far. The offense has 79 points in two games, they’ve committed just three turnovers and they appear to be establishing more chemistry on the run. The offense scored on all five second-half possessions this afternoon. In back-to-back weeks, the defense has held two of the league’s top running backs in check, with Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden combining for just 128 yards in 120 minutes. The offensive line was a major concern prior to the season, but a very strong Oakland defensive front wasn’t able to sack Ryan Fitzpatrick once.
Yeah, lots of sunshine, ice cream and lollipops.
But let’s keep things in perspective. Just last year, the Dolphins and Texans started 2-0. Houston went 4-10 the rest of the way; Miami 5-9. The Bills aren’t all too unfamiliar with 2-0 starts. In fact, they started 4-0 in 2008 … before losing nine of their last 12 games to once again finish with a losing record. And in 2003 they started 2-0 with 69 points out of the gate … before losing 10 of 14 the rest of the way.
The point is that back-to-back wins can happen. This start isn’t necessarily indicative of a trend, and Buffalo will have to beat a playoff-worthy opponent before we jump aboard the hype train that is already trying to sweep us up.
They’ll have a chance to make a massive statement at home in Week 3 against the New England Patriots. Buffalo gave up 72 points in two losses to their division rival in 2010, including a a 34-3 disaster in Orchard Park in Week 16. This is a team that had just 27 sacks last year and took down Tom Brady just twice in their two meetings with the Pats. The pass rush hasn’t been effective thus far this season either, with Buffalo registering just two sacks in the first two weeks. That’ll have to change in Week 3.
They don’t necessarily have to beat Tom Brady, and very few will expect such a result. Still, they’ll have a chance in a fresh scenario to show that they’ve made progress in 2011 and haven’t just been in the right place at the right time on two occasions.