Are Buffalo Bills Making Huge Mistake Starting Fred Jackson Over C.J. Spiller?

Nick KostoraContributor IIISeptember 30, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 13:   Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills at Cowboys Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have a tough road ahead of them if they want to compete in the AFC East, and starting Fred Jackson at running back is not going to help.

In fact, it may be fair to say that Jackson is getting in the way of the Bills' success.

C.J. Spiller did not just fill in for Jackson when he got hurt in the season opener—he took over, gaining over 400 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in three games.

Buffalo's offense found its catalyst. A guy that could force seven, eight or even nine defenders into the box to account for his speed and versatility.

Spiller opens up windows for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw into and allows him to limit his tendency to throw interceptions.

This week, with Jackson starting, Fitzpatrick was back to his old self, throwing four picks.

The QB was smarter and more conservative through the air with Spiller lined up next to him because Spiller was doing so much work on the ground. Fitzpatrick did not have to force throws and try to carry the offense.

Something he has had the unfortunate task of attempting to do with Jackson in the lineup.

This does not mean Jackson is a bad running back, but when lightning strikes you have to bottle it and run with it.

Jackson's return to the starting lineup in Week 4 saw him rush for only 29 yards on 13 carries.

The offense felt slower with him in the backfield, and his longest rush was for a mere 11 yards.

The math here is simple.

With Spiller in the lineup, the Bills are explosive and dynamic.

With Jackson, they are sluggish and don't win football games.

Jackson can be a great third-down and goal-line option for Buffalo. At 6'1" 216 pounds, he is bigger and more of a downfield runner than the 5'11" 200 pound Spiller.

But to believe he is the best every-down back for this team to succeed is a fallacy.

C.J. Spiller has emerged as one of the most electric players not just in Buffalo, but in the entire league.

The Bills need to realize this before the division race moves along without them.