I’m late getting this out and Buffalo has already beaten the Jets but I want to look at the 2017 Bills before the season gets too far along. Last year was another lost year for the Bills when they went 7-9. Tyrod Taylor started 15 games and by default was forced to resign him in a convoluted messy affair after he was released. So he returns along with stud LeSean McCoy but there isn’t much else to get excited about.
Taylor while capable doesn’t exactly exude franchise quarterback in his play. He’s better than many out there and I can’t fault him too much but he doesn’t move the excitement meter either direction. LeSean McCoy returns after another excellent season and anchors the backfield though top backup Mike Gillislee left for New England in the offseason via free agency. With Sammy Watkins traded to the Rams the receiving corps will be led by former Eagle Jordan Matthews and also includes Zay Jones, Andre Holmes and TE Charles Clay. It sounds like the offensive line won’t be too bad so that bodes well for McCoy and Taylor. We’ll see how that translates when it comes to scoring – in which the Bills ranked 10th in 2016.
|Lorenzo Alexander - 12 1/2 sacks (2016)|
The defense has to get better. The defensive line is pretty solid but from there I’m not sure. Linebacker is also solid though the loss of Reggie Ragland doesn’t help. The losses of top corner Stephen Gilmore (free agency – NE) and Ronald Darby (trade – Phi) hurt a lot. E.J. Gaines (acquired in trade – LAR) and first round pick Tre’Davious White will likely start in the defensive backfield. Hard to tell how they will do but it seems like the secondary will definitely take a step back. Add to that two new safeties and the backend of the defense is a very big unknown.
Though they have one win under their belt I’m thinking they can maybe win six games but in the back of my mind I think five games is more doable when I look at the schedule. I think most folks would argue that with me but I see a bunch of good teams they’ll have to play and I’m not sure Buffalo has a good enough team to compete. Hopefully there are some nice surprises as the season progresses but the Jets game did not make me think we’ll see many. With the offseason trades they made for picks the Bills are definitely looking towards the future. Hopefully that means a franchise quarterback can be found somewhere in that rebuilding process as they reboot the team…again. We’ll know soon what this team really looks like as they face Carolina, Denver, Atlanta, Cincy, Tampa and Oakland in the next six games. Hopefully they can play these teams tough and get a couple of wins. This stretch will definitely show me if this team is made to compete or not.