The Buffalo Bills surprised many on Sunday, retracting a 20-0 deficit against the mighty New England Patriots to defeat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady for the first time since 2003. While what Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick have accomplished thus far should not be diminished, the Bills will not get in the playoffs.
How many top-tier teams fall behind by eighteen or more at home two weeks in a row? The Chargers couldn't even manage to do that. The deficits haven't been because the Bills aren't going 100 percent, but because the team is more flawed then it's getting blamed for.
It's also hard to make excuses for Tom Brady's interceptions, but a few were tipped into the air that could have easily hit the ground or been caught by a Patriot player. Fitzpatrick will have to face more top quarterbacks and better all-around defenses as the season goes on.
Fred Jackson ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing, but he's faced three run defenses that were ranked no higher than thirteenth in yards per carry surrendered in 2010. How Fitzpatrick and the rest of the offense reacts when Jackson can't get it going will be key in how the Bills deal with their remaining thirteen games.
Defensively, Buffalo will still have to prove that they can continue to stop the run this year, unlike last season. Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams have worked well, but they'll need to stay stout. Fortunately for the Bills, they've already faced the best rushing attack they'll see in Week 2 against the Raiders.
Buffalo could win just four more games and it wouldn't come as a surprise, as they face the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Eagles, Chargers and Jets twice. The good news is that Buffalo will not finish behind the Dolphins this year and they may be able to jump the Jets.
Don't expect Buffalo to make a playoff appearance this season. It will be crucial for the front office to re-sign Stevie Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the off-season so they can continue to build on what is brewing in Buffalo. This is a better squad than in 2008 when the Bills finished 7-9 after starting 5-1, but the rest of the division is better.
No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills, but be careful when hopping on this bandwagon.