The 2014 Buffalo Bills probably (never say never) aren’t going to go 16-0. Even if Doug Marrone’s wildest dreams come true on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium next season, you have to figure a tipped pass or errant punt will mess the dream season up.
But, for fun, what would it take for the Bills to go 16-0? How could they win each individual game? There are some daunting match-ups including the road games at Chicago, New England and Denver. There’s also the fact the Bills have won just 12 games combined over the past two seasons. None of that can stop me from feeling optimistic this offseason. Here’s a look at how the Bills can start their season 4-0. I’ll follow up with three future installments.
Bills 27, Bears 24
At the Bears to start the season is a daunting task and many will predict Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall will have big days against Buffalo’s secondary. All of that is contingent on Jay Cutler, a QB who I have no confidence in week-to-week. I could see Cutler getting off to a slow start and throwing two picks (one to Kiko Alonso and one to Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore’s will be returned for six points as he sets out to prove the injuries really limited him last season. On the offensive side, E.J. Manuel is steady and doesn’t turn it over. C.J. Spiller breaks a couple big ones and the Bills do enough to hold off a late Bears charge.
Bills 38, Dolphins 10
After a moving tribute to the late Ralph Wilson, Jr. the Bills just prove they are better than their AFC East rivals. E.J. Manuel and Sammy Watkins hook up twice for touchdowns. The Bills defense pounds Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins all game long. Early in the fourth quarter, Bills fans know this one is out of reach and the shout song can be heard echoing all the way from Orchard Park to Elmwood Ave.
Bills 24, Chargers 17
The Bills bring a heavy dose of running game at the Chargers all day long. Spiller and Fred Jackson each pound and grind out yards. It’s a back and forth game and with three minutes to go, Philip Rivers ties everything up with a strike to Antonio Gates. Manuel then puts together a drive that brings back memories of his game-winner against the Carolina Panthers last year. The final scoring play is a short screen to Spiller that turns into a 32-yard touchdown sprint.
Bills 16, Texans 13
Not everything will be pretty on the Bills run to 16-0. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney make life miserable for Manuel and he throws two first-half picks. The Bills muster just field goals through three quarters and enter the fourth trailing 13-9 in this ugly ballgame. Manuel doesn’t shine in the 4th but he shakes off the cobwebs and leads a run-heavy drive that ends in Robert Woods catching a pass in the back of the end zone with just over two minutes to play. The Bills win and are the talk of the league. Manuel and the “clutch kid” start popping up in the same sentence across national media.