The German Citizenship Test

Der Spiegel has a test with sample German citizenship questions.  I ended up with a score of about 28 or 29, though the funny thing is that you can cheat to your heart’s content.  I suppose that this means that the way to be smart enough to become a German citizen is to cheat on the test…

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Are The Bills For Real?

There are two questions regarding Buffalo right now:  are the Bills for real? and can they make it to the playoffs (or even win the division)?  After three weeks, we get a closer look at the (current) division leaders*, but I honestly still don’t know.

Arguments for:

  • Trent Edwards has been Captain Checkdown, but has been able to hit some deeper passes with more regularity this season.  After three games, he’s 63 / 94, which is above-average, and if he keeps it up, that percentage would be near the top of the league.  That’s a huge jump up from 56% last year.
  • Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch are good outlet guys for Edwards, Jackson in particular.  So even when the Bills are outmatched at receiver versus cornerback (like against Oakland), Edwards can still count on his running backs to get some receiving yardage.  This is vital, given Buffalo’s lack of a good receiving tight end.
  • Buffalo’s defense isn’t great, but is good enough to keep them in games.
  • Buffalo’s special teams are probably the best in the league.  Devin Hester’s a better return man than Parrish/McGee/McKelvin, but mix in the punter, gunners, place kicker, and other special teams aspects and the Bills definitely have an asset there.

Arguments against:

  • Buffalo still has receiver problems.  James Hardy might become good and he does give Edwards a fadeaway threat in the end zone, but he’s not ready yet.  This means teams can still double- and triple-cover Lee Evans.  Evans, through three games, is averaging about 80 yards a game but doesn’t have a touchdown.  Meanwhile, Robert Royal is a blocking tight end and not a receiving threat.  Maybe if Derek Fine and/or Derek Schouman get healthy and begin to perform, this will change a bit, but right now, Edwards has to check off because he doesn’t have many other options.
  • Marshawn Lynch has yet to get to 100 yards and is averaging about 3.6 yards per carry.  Fred Jackson is averaging about 3.4 yards per carry.  This indicates some offensive line problems.  Mitigating this is the fact that Lynch has 4 rushing touchdowns thus far, which is a big improvement over the 7 he had all of last season.
  • The Bills’ defense is bend-but-don’t-break.  They still need a #1 CB and it’s usually not a good sign when your top tacklers are cornerbacks.

It’s still a bit of a toss-up how good the Bills really are.  On the one hand, they beat the Seahawks and Jaguars, and that counts for something.  On the other hand, the Seahawks and Jaguars both had significant injury problems and the Bills just eked out a win against a weak Raiders team.  On the other-other hand, Buffalo has a fairly weak schedule this season.  They’re already 3-0 and have a better-than-50% chance of going 4-0 against the Rams.  The rest of the season, they play Arizona (Road), San Diego (Home), Miami (R), the Jets (H), New England (R), Cleveland (H), Kansas City (R), San Francisco (H), Miami (H), the Jets (R), Denver (R), and New England (H).  If they can take 4 of 6 against their division rivals (which should be at least a 45-50% probability with Brady out), that would give them 8 wins.  Beating Kansas City and San Francisco would give them 10 wins, and they might be able to get 11 or 12 depending on how their remaining 4 games go.  If they were to get to the playoffs, I don’t think they could win more than one game, though, as they would probably be the weakest AFC division champ, if they were to do it.  But hey, considering that they haven’t made it to the playoffs yet this century, I’ll take that and hope that they can build on it…

* – It’s been a while since I got to say that.  Hopefully I’ll get to say it the rest of the season…