The Buffalo Bills have their second consecutive home game this Sunday when they host the Carolina Panthers. The Bills will try to avoid falling into the dreaded 0-2 hole. Only 12% of teams that have started off 0-2 have wound up making the playoffs. I understand that the Bills are a long shot to make the playoffs as it is but it doesn’t help to have the odds stacked against you after only two weeks of play. A team gains confidence by playing for something and the longer they stay in any sort of contention, the more confident they will become as a team. Also, if you watched the Thursday night game and saw what Tom Brady was working with for weapons, you’d see that this is one of those years where another team may be able to steal the division from the New England Patriots.
With all that said, starting off strong hasn’t amounted to much for the Bills in recent years anyway. They started off 2-1 last season en route to a 6-10 final record. In 2011 they started 4-1 only to finish with the same 6-10 record. Their 2010 start, in which they lost the first eight games, is the one that they would like to avoid. Perhaps most important is not the arbitrary magic number of 1-1 vs. 0-2 but the fact that the Bills will only have five games left at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the rest of the season after Sunday. They’ve already lost one and it’s crucial for them to win as many as they can at home. The Panthers won’t be one of their tougher opponents at home so the Bills have to take care of business on their turf.
Finally, the last factor may be the most important one — the E.J. Manuel factor. It’s not ideal for a rookie QB to start his career with a losing streak, particularly one that is going to be counted on to be a franchise QB. Get him a win now and hopefully more will start to pile up.