31 Days, 31 Teams: Buffalo Bills
At 6-10 the 2009 Buffalo Bills suffered through a brutal season but for as bad as it was 2010 may end up being worse. Without a reliable quarterback, a porous offensive line and a defensive line that is falling apart the Bills will struggle to win games in a very tough AFC East.
Buffalo's offensive problems start at quarterback where Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm stumbled throughout the 2009 season and even with Terrell Owens the Bills ended the year ranked 30th in passing. All three quarterbacks return but Owens is gone, as is Josh Reed, and the Bills need to identify who the go-to receiver will be. None of that may matter as Buffalo gave up 46 sacks and did not adequately upgrade the line in the offseason. Clearly the strength of the offense is in the backfield where Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch will be joined by first round pick CJ Spiller. The pick of Spiller was a bit of head-scratcher as obviously it was not a need pick and the Bills passed up the chance to take a blue chip quarterback or lineman. Spiller is a threat though and will provide some spark to the offense.
There is some hope for Buffalo's defense. Longtime end Aaron Schobel, who had 10 sacks in '09, was released and the Bills are in the process of turning over the defensive line. The rebuilding effort is necessary as the Bills were gutted by running backs. Last year Buffalo surrendered an average of 156 yards per game on the ground to finish 30th in that category. Buffalo will run the 3-4 this year and they hope Dwan Edwards, a key member of Baltimore's 3-4, makes an impact. Buffalo has a pair of young linebackers with potential in Paul Posluszny and pass rushing specialist Aaron Maybin. Like the offense the strength of Buffalo's defense is in the backfield. Buffalo's secondary was tough to throw on all through '09 as the Bills had the second best pass defense unit in the NFL. Safety Jairus Byrd was one of the NFL's leaders with nine interceptions while at the other safety position George Wilson registered four picks and 103 tackles.
Buffalo will only go as far as their quarterbacks will take them and that won't be very far. With a lack of weapons outside of Spiller and Jackson and one of the league's worst offensive lines the Bills will not be much of a threat to score points. While good in the secondary the Bills will likely continue to be weak against the run meaning team's should wear Buffalo out as the season rolls along. With three other AFC East teams shooting for the playoffs 2010 will be a long season for the Bills.