I’ve got a Buffalo Bills fan playing in my fantasy football league, and the annual trash talking has begun.
We’ve already had a request for his take on the upcoming Browns Bills game… surprise, he’s taking the Bills – here’s my take:
- The Bills may be slumping after blowing that overtime win against the Steelers two weeks ago (see Steve Johnson right). The Browns slumped too after blowing that overtime game against the Jets = Sometimes you leave too much on the field as the underdog in those battles to recover next week.
- Bills RB Fred Jackson has been installed as their feature back. Marshawn Lynch is gone and 1st round pick CJ Spiller isn’t producing. F-Jax has done well so far, but he also reminds me of Jerome Harrison a little, as in why has it taken this little guy so long to grab the job. Oh yeah, he’s little.
- Last week was just the second game all season Peyton Hillis didn’t record a touchdown. Is he finally starting to slow down? Nah, Buffalo is the worst team in the league against the run.
- The Bills have scored 14 more points than the Browns on offense, or just over 1 point per game more, but for some reason this offense scares me. Maybe its because they’ve played well against the AFC North. They took the Ravens and Steelers to overtime, and hung 49 points on the Bengals.
- The Browns are an early 1-point dog on the road, and the Bills have been respectable against the spread this year at 6-5-1 overall; the Browns are 5-6-1.
- Count me as one of the few Browns fans in Jake Delhomme’s corner. He gets the receivers involved, creates running room for Hillis, and could be on the way up now after missing so much time earlier. Don’t get me wrong I like (love) Colt McCoy too, but I don’t want to see the Browns start him rusty now, and mess with any momentum they’ve built. Don’t yank the QBs in and out of there unless you have to.
- I’ve said it 100 times, but I think the Browns stink in warm weather. They’ve played in Florida three times (Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa) and looked slow. But now, only the cold remains, and the Browns finally get to play in the conditions they’re built for, just like last year.
- The Browns are 2-0 against teams with losing records this year (Cincinnati and Carolina). The Bills are 2-9.
- This is the fourth year in a row these teams have met in the regular season; the Browns have won the previous three. You’ve got the Snowglobe game in 2007 – with Phil Dawson making the most amazing field goal in recent memory (1:55 mark below). You’ve got Wide Right 2.0 in 2008 – Bills kicker Rian Lindell missing the go-ahead field goal from 46 yards as time expired, also Brady Quinn’s first win as a Brown. And last year you had Fart Bowl ’09, with Derek Anderson leading the Browns to a disgusting 6-3 win despite only throwing for 23 yards.
More fun stuff…
- At 5-7, assuming they’re best 5-7 team in the NFL (and with their schedule you’d have to say so), the Browns would draft 12th if the season ended today.
- In 12 games, the Browns have played a whopping nine teams who currently have a winning record. Compare that to say… the New York Jets, who were brutally executed by the New England Patriots on Monday night. The Jets have played just four teams with a winning record, and are 1-3 in those games.
- The NFC playoff race is going to be exciting. With so many wins stacked outside the NFC West, seven teams are vying for five playoffs spots. Plus the race for that final playoff spot is wildly significant. If the season ended today, would you rather be Green Bay traveling to Philadelphia, or New Orleans traveling to the NFC West champ St. Louis or Seattle? (hint: New Orleans already killed Seattle on the road 34-19, they get St. Louis this Sunday).
- And for all the fun we make of the NFC West, that should be an exciting race too. I like the 49ers with three games left in-division:
- Somehow at 4-8 they are only two games behind the 6-6 Seahawks and Rams. The 49ers get the Seahawks next week in San Francisco, so they could get one of those two games back right there easy.
- Then, in Week-16 (second to last of the year) the 49ers get a crack at the other NFC West leader in St. Louis.
- The final week of the season San Fran gets Arizona in their house, and they already spanked them in Arizona. Meanwhile that same week, the Rams and Seahawks play each other so one team has to lose.
- The end here could come down to something like the 3rd tie breaker, I can feel it. So why are people saying they need to change this system? Because some poor unlucky team with a winning record might miss the playoffs when a wet dog from the NFC West has to make it? Tell that to the 2007 Browns. And isn’t it more exciting to see a race come down to the very end?
- And here’s a crazy-awesome scenario that could play out in the AFC playoff bracket: The Steelers and Ravens split their season series after Pittsburgh pulled out a 13-10 win in their death-match Sunday night. The Patriots and Jets also pace the conference in wins, and split their season series too. How cool would it be if both sets of rivals get a rubber-match in the playoffs to decide who goes to the conference championship game? If the Ravens are able to jump the Jets in the standings, but all the other playoff seeding remains as it stands today, and then the Jets and Ravens both win in the first round on the road (and they would be favored against the likes of Kansas City and Jacksonville), we would get the playoff double-barrel rubber-match dreams are made of.
- Best game next week will be New England at Chicago, both have a first round bye on the line. Chicago has proved this year that the second most important mark of a good team, besides a great QB, is a great defensive line. The Bears have a line man, there is no defensive scheme that can stop Julius Peppers, the guy just gets there. That’s how the New York Giants defeated the 18-0 Patriots. If you can rush the passer without blitzing, if you can leave seven defenders back to guard receivers and you’re still hitting the QB and making him uncomfortable, you are in great shape. A good defensive line just takes care of everything, maybe the Browns should start drafting there next year?
- Lastly, I got an intriguing text from a friend yesterday that read: “McDaniels to replace Daboll next year?” My response was, seems like one too many guys who can’t handle the big personalities that usually come with talented players. But think about that for a minute. If Josh McDaniels were to become the Browns’ offensive coordinator, he wouldn’t have any power. He wouldn’t be able to trade Peyton Hills to the Browns for nothing again. He’s been bumped down a few pegs. Bad coach but probably still a good coordinator. Look at Denver’s offensive statistics right now, tell me Kyle Orton is the second coming of Steve Young, and argue McDaniels wouldn’t improve this offense with a straight face. Hard to do right?