Bills headline week five
The Bills have shocked the football world so far, opening the year 4-1. Still, it would be easy to dismiss the fantastic start the Bills have had to the season.
This team, for the last decade, has defined failure with only one winning season and zero playoff appearances since 1999.
In fact in 2008, the Bills started the year 5-1 before finishing 7-9.
What makes this season different?
For starters, the Bills boast one of the league’s top offences. Running back Fred Jackson has been a stud, helping the team rank fourth in both rushing and points-scored. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a true leader, making clutch plays and limiting turnovers.
But the true strength of this offence is in the trenches. The Bills’ offensive line has physically dominated opponents, controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing just three sacks on Fitzpatrick. This group of relative unknowns is the reason that the Bills’ offensive success should continue all season, especially when the snow starts to fall in Buffalo.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bills’ defence hasn’t been perfect. But led by safety George Wilson, this unit has made big plays at big moments. Their aggressive style has led to a league leading 16 takeaways through five games.
The Bills have had issues with getting quarterbacks to the ground, averaging just one sack a game. But if veterans like Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay can find their old form, this defence will truly give opposing offences a headache.
Chan Gailey’s team is looking great right now. Last year’s playoff teams like the Steelers and Jets are surrounded by questions, so there appears to be wildcard spots open.
The Bills favourable schedule includes games against the Dolphins (twice), Jets (twice), Broncos, Titans, Cowboys, Redskins and a week 17 match that could feature the Patriots’ backups.
If the Bills remain focused and hungry, they should be able to end the league’s longest active playoff drought.
Best and Brightest: Only two teams remain undefeated in the NFL and they play out of the same division. The Green Bay Packers and surprising Detroit Lions both sit at 5-0. However, the two teams’ first meeting isn’t until week 12.
Though it’s unlikely it will be a battle of the undefeated, it will be hard to not skip class for that Thursday afternoon match up.