Preseason predictions are very difficult to be accurate with, as the NFL is a high-intensity game, where injury and player progression is difficult to determine. However, they are also fun, and can give a good guide of which games your team needs to steal to get to a magic win number (say 10, to make the playoffs in the AFC?). So, with the season officially underway tonight, my prediction on how the Bills will fare in the 2010 season.
Game 1 – vs. Miami – Win
I have a feeling that the Bills can beat Miami at home again, despite the Dolphins’ offseason acquisitions, as I’m still not sold on Chad Henne as a top-flight QB. I expect the Bills to have some tricks up their sleeve in week one, and get off to a great start this season.
Game 2 – @ Green Bay – Loss
I can’t see the Bills outscoring Aaron Rodgers, especially not when Green Bay’s 3-4 defense played so well against the run last season.
Game 3 – @ New England – Loss
I think by now Bills’ fans have come to expect a close loss @ NE, and a blowout loss at home against the Pats. With the Brady/Belichick combination still intact, I still don’t see the Bills breaking through.
Game 4 – vs. New York – Loss
I think the Jets are overrated as Mark Sanchez has a long way to go to even be a decent NFL QB. The surrounding pieces are very strong, but I recently heard Jets’ offensive lineman Damien Woody outwardly laughing at Buffalo’s chances this season on a SportsNet New York (SNY) Jets’ preview show. I think the Bills shock the Jets, who are taking the Bills too lightly.
Game 5 – vs. Jacksonville – Win
The Bills always seem to do well against the Jaguars, and Buffalo weather should be starting to kick in at this point. The Bills secondary should be able to beat up on David Garrard’s weak receiving core.
Game 6 – @ Baltimore – Loss
I know that coming off the bye week with a coach that isn’t Dick Jauron should be exciting for Bills’ fans, but the Ravens look very good. The defense still has superstars, and the offense is really progressing along with Joe Flacco. This one could get ugly.
Game 7 – @ Kansas City – Win
The Bills have seemed to handle the Chiefs lately, and Arrowhead isn’t nearly as intimidating when the Chiefs are in rebuilding mode. This is the kind of game the Bills could get beat in if they’re not careful, but even though the Chiefs could have an effective rushing attack, I think that the Bills’ offense could have a big day in this one.
Game 8 – vs. Chicago – Loss
This is where losing a home game really comes back to bite the Bills. On the brink of being a .600 team halfway through the season, they have to play in Toronto. For the fans that actually show up, many don’t even have a real affinity for the Bills, and it shows in the Bills’ terrible performances there in the past two seasons. I expect it to continue as Jay Cutler should be getting comfortable in Mike Martz’s system at this point in the season.
Game 9 – vs. Detroit – Win
While the preseason schemes are not the same, I still think the Bills showed they have more weapons than Detroit in their matchup a couple weeks ago. Younger teams like the Lions usually have more trouble on the road.
Game 10 – @ Cincinnati – Loss
The Bills hit a pretty tough stretch here, one that will likely knock them out of contention after many fans will likely be excited if the Bills have a winning record at this point, as I predict they will. I don’t think they can match firepower with the Bengals in Cincy.
Game 11 – vs. Pittsburgh – Loss
The Steelers seem to play well every other season. Unfortunately for the Bills, the Steelers are due for a good one, and will have Roethlisberger back at full speed (barring injury).
Game 12 – @ Minnesota – Loss
The Vikings have a very good run defense, and could have Sidney Rice at full speed. This is still a potential Super Bowl contender playing at home.
Game 13 – vs. Cleveland – Win
I know the Bills haven’t been able to beat the Browns in recent years, but I don’t see Gailey letting the Bills play as poorly as the Bills did on offense against Cleveland this year. The Bills minus Jauron should be able to beat the Browns, despite how well Cleveland played down the stretch last year.
Game 14 – @ Miami – Loss
Miami has a chance to still be in the playoff hunt, and will be ready for the Bills this time around.
Game 15 – vs. New England – Loss
Don’t see the Bills breaking through and figuring out the Pats this year.
Game 16 – @ New York Jets – Loss
I think the Jets will probably be competing for a playoff spot here and will still have something to play for at this point in the season. They won’t be taking Buffalo as lightly in need of a win at the end of their season.
Record at the end of 2010: 6-10
I think the Bills will have a much more promising 6-10 season than a year ago, and while many Bills’ fans may not be too happy with that, it appears the Bills may finally be building this team the right way.