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NFL Buffalo Bills

5 Early Predictions for the 2014 Buffalo Bills’ NFL Season

Buffalo Bills: 5 Early Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the NFL season is just under three months away, and while that may seem like a long time, teams are already starting to get an idea of how their opening day lineups are going to look. Despite their track record of futility, the Buffalo Bills have high expectations this season. While early, these five predictions reflect those expectations.

5. The Defense Will Take a Step Back

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

5. The Defense Will Take a Step Back

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

While the Bills went a disappointing 6-10 in 2013, their defense was one of the best in the NFL, finishing second in both sacks (57) and interceptions (23). However, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes, both standouts last season, have gotten themselves in trouble this offseason. That, coupled with the loss of Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, will see Buffalo’s defense take a step back in 2014.

4. Sammy Watkins Won't Be Offensive Rookie of the Year

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

4. Sammy Watkins Won't Be Offensive Rookie of the Year

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo’s first-round pick faces an enormous amount of pressure going into his rookie season. Many are expecting him to step in and have an A.J. Green-like impact on the Bills’ offense. While Watkins should be able to be productive in 2014, it is rare for a wide receiver to be Offensive Rookie of the Year, though, don’t be surprised if Watkins gets some votes.

3. E.J. Manuel Will Improve Significantly

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

3. E.J. Manuel Will Improve Significantly

EJ Manuel Buffalo Bills
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Manuel had a very frustrating rookie season in 2013. He led a game-winning drive in his second game, but he struggled with injury and inconsistency all season long. This year, Manuel has a greatly improved group of receivers, plus an excellent running back duo in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. The 2014 season is a huge year for Manuel to prove he is a franchise quarterback, and he has all the necessary tools to make good on his potential.

2. The Team Won't Be Sold Until After Halloween

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Team Won't Be Sold Until After Halloween

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The passing of owner and founder Ralph Wilson left a huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over the franchise. There have been a lot rumors swirling around, as everyone from Donald Trump to Jon Bon Jovi has expressed interest in buying and possibly relocating the team. While the Bills’ legal team is closely investigating all avenues, it is unlikely that the team will be sold until after the season’s midway point.

1. The Bills Won't Make the Playoffs

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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Bills Won't Make the Playoffs

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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

This bold prediction is based on 14 years of intense research that took place in front of a TV. In all seriousness, the Bills certainly have the talent to post double-digit wins. But they are also a young team that needs to learn how to win. Expect them to be in the playoff hunt until the very end, but one or two close games will likely be the difference and extend that long playoff drought.