Buffalo At 3-3

This has been a frustrating start to the season for the Bills.  Last time around, I was somewhat optimistic.  This time around, I’m somewhat pessimistic.  Here are my most recent set of notes and thoughts after a pummeling at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals:

  1. Tyrod Taylor is still looking good.  He sat out in week 6 due to injury, but when he’s behind center, the Bills have a chance to win.  Through week 5, Football Outsiders has the Bills at 8th overall in passing DVOA, and that’s all Tyrod.
  2. Injuries have been devastating, especially for the offense.  Losing McCoy and Karlos Williams both for several weeks apiece has hurt the running game.  Losing Sammy Watkins over and over has hurt the passing game.  Percy Harvin has dropped off, in part due to injuries.  Oh, and Tyrod Taylor is hurt too.
  3. This might change with the Cincinnati game, but Buffalo’s defense has been above-average, doing very well against the pass and not so great against the run.  Considering that the Bills have gone against Konami Cheat Mode Tom Brady (who just seems unstoppable this year) and now Andy Dalton, they’ve seen some relatively tough competition.
  4. Charles Clay is leading the team in receptions.  A good tight end acts as a safety blanket for a young quarterback, and that’s what the Bills have been missing since maybe Jay Riemersma.
  5. STOP THE PENALTIES!  This Bills team is killing drives on offense and giving away free points on defense due to stupid penalties.  They lead the league in all penalties and certainly lead the league in stupid penalties and unforced errors.  If the Bills fail to make it to the playoffs this year, I think that will be the biggest reason.

The Bills have a pretty good chance to beat the Jaguars next week, which would leave them 4-3 going into their week 8 bye.  Right now, I’ll take that, but if this team wants to get into the playoffs, they’ll need to go 10-6, I think.  That means going 6-3 after the bye, including one game against the Patriots and two against the Jets.  The good news for Buffalo is that as of right now, most of their remaining schedule is sub-.500 (Jaguars, Dolphins, Chiefs, Texans, Eagles, Redskins, and Cowboys), so there’s a chance they can do it if they take at least one from the Jets and go 5-1 against the sub-.500 teams.

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