Around the NFL  

 

Bills season preview: Buffalo becoming exciting

Print

Around The NFL's season preview goes to the AFC East.

Change is a good thing


These are not the same Bills we last saw in January. Rex Ryan has brought some charisma back to Orchard Park, and he's been joined by a cavalcade of new talent on offense, including LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin and Charles Clay. Ryan also added Richie Incognito. The Bills said goodbye to Fred Jackson, who will not recall GM Doug Whaley fondly in his future memoirs.

The biggest change comes at quarterback, where Tyrod Taylor leveraged a strong preseason into a starting job. Taylor brings some much-needed excitement to the position after the underwhelming tenures of EJ Manuel and Kyle Orton. (Orton's brief tenure doesn't feel real.)

Yeah, but what about ...


Everyone seems amped up about #TyrodTime, but let's pump the brakes a little bit. This is a former sixth-round pick that has completed exactly one pass since the 2012 season. Is it possible Taylor turns into Western New York's answer to Russell Wilson? I guess. But there's also a very real possibility Manuel is starting for this team again by October. Ryan's resume is hardly dotted with overachievers at quarterback.

The McCoy hamstring injury is something to watch. The former rushing champion/flawed party organizer has a small tear in the muscle and is susceptible to a setback if the team gets too excited about centering the offense around him immediately. The offensive line is another legitimate question mark. Ryan had success with the Jets when he leaned on a top defense with a punishing running game. It's unclear if he has the personnel in place to go full Ground and Pound.

One guy to watch


Sammy Watkins was supposed to be the rookie wide receiver that stole hearts last season. Instead, contemporaries like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin put the No. 3 overall pick in the shadows. But don't sleep on Watkins' superstar potential in Year 2. The Buffalo News called Watkins the Bills' August MVP and said Watkins regularly took it to standout Bills corner Stephon Gilmore in practice. If Taylor is legit, Watkins is going to the Pro Bowl.

What we'll be saying in February


The Bills' playoff drought extends another year, but the team has never been closer to 21st-century relevance.

Predicted finish: No. 3 in AFC East, No. 9 in the AFC, No. 17 overall in Around the NFL's Power Poll

Print

Fan Discussion