5 Reasons Buffalo Bills Will Lose In Week 1
5 Reasons The Buffalo Bills Will Lose In Week 1
The good news for the Buffalo Bills is that they open their season at home. The bad news is they face off against the New England Patriots — four-time defending AFC East champions and winners of 10 of the last 12 division titles.
Most teams have struggled against the Patriots, but the Bills have been especially futile, going 2-20 against the beasts of the AFC East. New England may not be the same team they were just a few years ago, but they're still heavy favorites to beat the Bills in Week 1.
Buffalo announced this week that they are, in fact, going to start first-round pick E.J. Manuel at quarterback in his first NFL game. We saw rookie quarterbacks take the league by storm last season, but that's not always the case. Manuel has promise, but he enters the season already banged up and behind the curve.
He also starts the year with a lack of weapons to throw the ball to. Steve Johnson can be good, but he's not a No. 1 receiver. The team is looking for big things out of second-year man T.J. Graham. If he can step up and make a leap in his second professional year, Buffalo will have someone to take defensive attention away from Johnson.
The biggest bright spot for the Bills this year is the expected emergence of running back C.J. Spiller. Spiller, a former first-rounder himself, showed glimpses of greatness at times last season. This year, Spiller needs to prove he can be a consistent game changer.
The Bills will be a fun team to watch this year. They have enough talent to keep them in some games, and even steal a few, but Week 1 won't be kind to them.
5. History Is Not On Their Side
The Bills have lost 20 of their last 22 games against the Patriots. That's a seriously one-sided rivalry. While many of those games have been close, especially the ones played in upstate New York, the record says it all — Buffalo hasn't fared well against the Patriots in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era.
4. They're Debuting A New Defense
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has instituted a new attacking style of defense. While that may be a good thing in the long run, that kind of defense lends itself to giving up big chunks of yardage if the players aren't always in the right spots. That may not be a big deal in some weeks, but Brady isn't going to let those opportunities slip away.
3. They Can't Stop The Run
The Bills were dead last against the run in 2012, allowing a league-worst 145 yards a game on the ground. The Patriots were quietly one of the best running teams in the league last season, and look to be even more committed to the ground game this year.
2. Tom Brady And Bill Belichick
The Bills aren't going to be terrible this season. They'll get some wins here and there, but they have the unfortunate fate of playing the best team in their division this week. The Patriots aren't the same team they were in years past, but they still have the best coach/quarterback combo in the league.
1. They're Starting A Rookie Quarterback
Despite what we saw last year, rookie quarterbacks don't always do well right away. Manuel looked good in his limited preseason action, but the regular season is a different animal. Putting a couple of good drives together against the vanilla preseason defenses isn't the same thing as winning when it counts.