It appears that the NBA lockout season were indicative of what is yet to come, we’d be well on our way to a Super Bowl for the ages: a riveting Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills showdown. These two teams were the surprising leaders in terms of scoring differential (points scored minus points allowed) in their respective conferences after Week 1.
As the season progresses and the statistical sample sizes prove that the Bills’ 41-7 demolition of the Chiefs is unfortunately the exception (as opposed to the rule), Bills fans will soon have to come to the realization that their prized wide receiver Stevie Johnson will be watching the playoffs like the rest of us — any follower of @StevieJohnson13 should already know he’s a man of the people — on his couch at home.
The playoffs are nothing but a pipe dream for Buffalo, and have been since the turn of the century. It’s difficult to compete when you’re more likely to be a contender in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes than to stand a chance against the New England Patriots and their Ugg-clad, reigning MVP quarterback Tom Brady.
While the first few games of the NFL season tell very little of what’s yet to come, they’re certainly far from meaningless. In the game against the Chiefs, Buffalo looked poised for a breakout, and led by a smart, conservative quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Division III running back who runs with a chip on his shoulder, and an Ochocinco-like personality in Johnson, if nothing else this rag-tag group will be fun to root for.
So even though Buffalo probably won’t be a factor in this year’s post-season, there’s reason to believe that the despondency that has come to define the Bills fan will be a thing of the past by then. The cause of such hope will be a 2011-12 campaign that will have yielded the Bills’ first winning season since the 2004 Bledsoe, McGahee and Moulds team. My crystal ball shows the Bills winning nine games and losing seven.
The first real test is next week: a home game against the Patriots. If the Bills can cover the spread against New England, a winning season will be assured. At the very least they’ll quiet all the noise about leaving their hometown.
It feels like every year, around this time, fans set themselves up for disappointment with their lofty expectations of what’s in store for the season. Maybe tempering our expectations is the best bet, but, for now at least, the Buffalo Jills (the Bills’ cheerleaders) are no longer the most exciting thing in Buffalo.
We can only hope.
McAndrew is a member of the class of 2015.