10 Things I Think I Think About The Bills In 2014: PART 10 (h/t Peter King)
10. I Think I Think The Bills Are A Playoff-Caliber Team
Yep, ending on two positive notes — EJ Manuel’s Russell Wilson-type season being the other —but they’re two predictions for which I have strong convictions.
Along with some holdovers from the Buddy Nix regime, Bills GM Doug Whaley has done a marvelous job building a legitimate playoff contender.
Deep teams go to the playoffs, and that’s what the Bills are now, a deep team that’s been assembled to be able to withstand the typical turmoil of an NFL season.
- They have fantastic depth in their backfield — it’s one of the deepest backfields in the NFL.
- They have a sound offensive line and capable insurance at tackle and guard.
- They have a youthful but super athletic receiving corps and an established veteran in Mike Williams.
- They have a star-studded defensive line with adequate role players behind the likes of Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes.
- They had a chance to field a premier linebacker tandem with Brandon Spikes and Kiko Alonso, but guys like Nigel Bradham, Keith Rivers and Preston Brown are hefty reinforcements at the second line of defense.
- They lost the elite Jairus Byrd from the secondary, a loss that will sting. But they added the super-versatile Corey Graham and drafted Ross Cockrell to add to a relatively lockdown cornerback trio of Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin and the pesky Nickell Robey.
Sure, it’ll come down to the quarterback, like it does with just about every team.
But this roster is of playoff-caliber for the first time in a while. This roster is the finest collection of top-to-bottom talent since the 2004 season in which the Bills went 9-7 and missed the playoffs by one game.
I write “the Bills are a playoff-caliber team” and not the definitive “the Bills WILL be in the playoffs” statement because bounces and injuries can never be predicted.
And, yes, bad bounces and injuries will occur.
But based on the Bills’ overall skill-level, they should reach postseason this year for the first time this millennium.
Part 1 – Bills run D will FINALLY not be an embarrassment
Part 2 – Robert Woods will lead the Bills in catches
Part 3 – Stephon Gilmore will emerge as legit lockdown corner for the Bills
Part 4 – Spiller won’t be Bills’ offensive focal point
Part 5 – Did Mike Pettine Take Our Fun Away?
Part 6 – Remember this future household name, Bills fans
Part 7 – I have figured out Mario Williams, kind of
Part 8 – Sammy Watkins will have a strong rookie year, but let’s be patient
Part 9 – EJ Manuel will have a Russell Wilson-type second season