Season Thoughts and Bills Jets STAFF PREVIEW Y’ALL featuring @mmigliore, @rcanepac, @evancdent @mack10zie, @2itb_buffalo, @husaria, @manecci, JOE and the cast of Baywatch!

We’re finally here folks – the opener of the Bills’ 2017 season. Part of me feels like this is the longest season wait I’ve had in some time, mainly due to the constant change throughout the organization. For years, Joe has been an advocate of the ‘nuke em’ method, and now that we’ve seen it enacted we now get to see McBeane with live bullets.

[Editor’s note: At some point this season you’ll see “McBeane”, “Coach Troops”, “Troops”, or some other nicknames for the two gents in charge of the team. All credit to their original creators.]

I’ve said my peace on the season to come in several arenas, so I won’t belabor it here. I will say that the upcoming season will be interesting because of the divide between “culture change”, “tanking” and “rebuilding”. For me, even if McDermott and Beane keep vets and are trying to “change the culture”, ultimately they want the best draft picks possible while doing so. I liken it to when you’re playing Madden or Fifa and you sim that first season. You want “your guys in”, because you know the 85 rated defensive end or the 94 rated rookie QB you created is right around the corner. However, in the interim on Madden you don’t get fans reacting to the games you simmed though.

And that, my friends is what I see this year as – a time for McDermott and Beane to search for members of the team that fit them, while also having plausible deniability from tank judgment. If you try your hardest and get 3-13, you can’t get the ire of the fan base!

Obviously, I’m not the lone voice here at Buffalo Wins. I’ve asked each staff member their thoughts on the season to come. Each will be answering the following:

  1. Where you’re at with the team up to week one
  2. Your prediction of record at end of year
  3. Who starts week 17?
  4. Who Starts Week 1 2018?

Chris Ostrander (@2itb_buffalo) 0-0

“I can’t do this”

[Note: after some protracted negotiations involving uniform piping and pigment, Chris was brought back in, pending loss of sanity]

1. Even before the Bills started stripping things down this season I was entering 2017 very desensitized to whatever the Bills might do. I simply didn’t see any reason to pour a lot of hope into the team’s chances after 17 years of mediocrity (and watching the Sabres and Arsenal continually shoot themselves in the foot). The silver lining here is that if they strung together a good year and grabbed a playoff spot I would be genuinely excited. Now that they’ve really shifted their focus to next season and beyond I’m perfectly comfortable detaching myself even more from their week-to-week results. Go get a quarterback in the spring and let’s cook.

2. Something tells me they’re gonna wind up 4-12. I know Vegas says 6-10 but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion they finish lower than we all think.

3. If they do slide to 4-12 I’d assume Nathan Peterman will be starting some games. I’d be willing to bet he’s under center by week 12 or 13 if things really get out of hand.

4. Next year’s starter should be whomever they pick in the first round of the draft. But I’ll be prepared for many takes from fans who need to see more of Peterman should he get any serious run this season.

Give me the Jets 18-12.

Mike McKenzie (@mack10zie) 0-0

This is not a deep roster, and has glaring holes at CB, LB, RT, and probably QB.  This is not a recipe for a successful season.  I don’t like how Beane has tried to sell that they are not, at the very least, testing the tanking waters.  I think you can justify the moves they’ve made, but it 100% made them worse this season.  You can argue the Jets, 49ers, Browns,Bears, and maybe the Colts (depending on Andrew Luck) have worse rosters.  I think the Bills will play this into a top 5 pick.

They have stockpiled picks nicely, but can Beane turn those into productive guys?   I think a 4-12 season is on the horizon.  I don’t expect Shady, Tyrod, or Kyle Williams to be a Bill next season.  I hope they are well-coached, and disciplined at the least.  I expect Peterman to start 5 games.  You may as well get a glimpse before you draft.  I don’t think the Bills starter at QB is on the roster.

Rich and I did a nice little podcast on this. 

Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are likely picks 1 and 2 in the draft.  I’m not sure Buffalo will be that bad.  Will they use that extra 1 to trade up?  Will one of the other QBs make it a three or even 4 man race?  The one thing that gives me hope is last time the Bills decided to draft a QB was the EJ draft, which we all knew was low on QB talent.  This draft will be the opposite of that.

All that being said, the Bills are a good bit better than the Jets.  The Jets are just openly tanking in a way I’m not sure I’ve seen before.

Bills 20-13.

Mike Migliore (@mmigliore) 0-0

1. I’d like this team so much more if I didn’t have to listen to Sean McDermott talk. He is a motivational poster hung up in a weight room come to life and it’s incredibly irritating. One of these days the Bills will hire a calculated, cerebral head coach instead of digging through a Dick’s Sporting Goods clearance bin, but this does not appear to be that day. Still, it’s new direction and there appears to be some competency in place, but they don’t have the talent in place to win more than 6 games. And that’s fine as long as they know what they’re doing to build this thing up from the bottom.

2. 5-11

3. Nate Peterman

4. Mason Rudolph

I feel bad for Tyrod Taylor because he’s a pretty good quarterback stuck in a division with one of the best quarterbacks ever and on a team that has cut his legs out from under him. He has no chance to contend for the postseason in Buffalo this year and I wish for him that he got a shot with a team that has a talented core around him. At the same time, if there are great QBs available in the draft in April, you can’t blame McDermott and Beane LLC for planning to get one of those. As for this Sunday, hopefully, Tyrod is ok. I’m not fully convinced he’s completely free of concussion symptoms. I’ll be cringing any time he hits the turf. He’s the best QB by far on either roster and with him on the field, the Bills should beat the Jets easily.

How different are the Bills and Jets, who both seem to be “tanking” with a number of moves to restructure their rosters this offseason? The Jets have completely stripped their roster of talent, especially on offense. It’s Matt Forte and the Cleveland Indians’ opening day lineup from Major League. They have started their rebuild in a different fashion from the Bills – they have committed to youngsters. The Jets have 14 players on their 53-man roster who have five years or more experience in the league. The Bills have 27. You would think if the Bills are committed to a full rebuild from the bottom, they would ship more veteran players out of here.

Anyway, the Bills will make the fanbase feel good on Sunday before beginning their free fall next week in Charlotte.

Prediction: Bills 27, Jets 13.

Michael Necci (@manecci) 0-0

It’s nice to see adults running the show over at One Bills Drive. It’s refreshing to have a General Manager who took an overview of this roster and actually come to the conclusion that “you know what? We’re just not that good”. The previous GM, who in my opinion will go down as the worst tenured GM in team history, was okay at evaluating talent but was absolutely clueless at building a team, left this team so top heavy at key positions that it forced Beane to move talented players in order to add depth with draft picks. However, having said all that this team isn’t tanking, and it’s utterly ridiculous to think so. 

IF this team can stay healthy I think 6-8 wins isn’t out of the question, but this is the NFL and injuries happen, and when guys start going down we’re going to see the major weakness this team has and it’s depth. If the offensive line stays healthy all season I think McCoy will have a monster season. 1800+ total yards isn’t out of the question. I’m not the biggest Tyrod Taylor advocate, but I do think he will stay healthy enough to start all 16 games this season. His passing numbers will take a hit with the lack of quality at the receiver position and with teams playing 8 and sometimes even 9 defenders in the box to stop the run.

The Bills will beat the Jets Sunday 24-10 and will pick up their first win of four this season. The Bills will finish with a 4-12 record and have a top 5 pick. In 2018 the Bills starting QB will be someone they take with that top 5 pick. Everyone is on the Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen train, but the QB to watch and the QB who I think maybe the best of the class is Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State. He fits the Bill Parcells list of what you should look for in a college QB, and I know it was only Week 1, but he looked the best of the previously mentioned three. Josh Rosen is going to get a lot of love this week because of his sensational comeback Sunday Night, but I’m telling you, he made some throws that he got just plain lucky on, and he was borderline atrocious in the first 3 quarters. But, there is a lot of season left, and a lot of football to be played. Just don’t ignore Mason Rudolph.

Husaria (@husaria) 0-0

Hi everyone, I’m back again. Rich asked me if I wanted to contribute to this weekly and I decided, why not. This is going to be a bleak ass Bills season (1-15), and by the end of the season I fully expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to be back at QB at this rate and next year I expect Saquon Barkley to be the QB given the competency of the Bills FO.

On that note, I’m going to continue my 2017 Tecmo Super Bowl season, so I’ll have my score for the game next week here. Bills 3, Jets 17, by the 2nd quarter, most of Bills twitter will be drunk or asleep.

JOE (@buffalowins) 0-0

This is going to be a turd fire. #Tankbowl, the first of its name and protector of the 1st pick overall. The Bills are bad, but the Jets are worse. I’m happy for the fans who get to watch this game in person so at least they get a win before the Bills lose their next 8 in a row. Bills win, 23-10. 

Ricardo (@rcanepac) 0-0

Season Preview

I am not evaluating this team based on the preseason at all. I just think they will not be a good team. It’s a matter of talent.  

I’m mainly afraid of our O- line… they rock the run blocking but they really struggle in pass protection. Last year the Bills O-Line allowed the 4th most sacks in the NFL. Sure, some of those were Tyrod’s fault for running into the sack, but some others were avoided by him big time, so those offset and I attribute those sacks to the O-Line almost entirely. This protection problem seems like to be sticking this year since we have the same players. That’s scary.

Of course, that’s not the only team problem: the WHOLE secondary and WR group is brand new and I envision, for now, miscommunications all over the place and the bills getting flagged for everything during the first half of the season (at least). I feel bad for Tyrod and I think he will be benched eventually in this season: I’m predicting Peterman will start in week 14 and him being a backup of whoever is the QB in 2018 (not Taylor).

While I’m not envisioning a 4-12 season, I think the Bills will be able to win something around 6 games. I’m giving them a 6-10 record only because I do believe in character and that having soul can win you a couple of in-paper lost games (see a couple of years ago the win vs Green Bay).

Bills – Jets prediction

Bills win 28-13. I think that Tyrod will be pressured and harassed for most part of the game, and that’s why I envision a close (and ugly) game in the first half (13-10 Bills). However, I do think that the Bills will give a big splash during the second half since they will be able to adjust and Jet’s defense will be worn down (their offense must suck BIG time). I can see Clay having a big game and Tyrod making some nice throws over the middle when having enough time to think and throw. I also expect a couple of deep balls (our OC is not that stupid and won’t take away that weapon). As for Shady? I also envision a hard first half for him, while finishing with 120 yards rushing, mainly in second half.

Evan (@evancdent) 0-0

1. The Bills are going to be bad this year. Like, awful. Shady will have some big runs, the D-line should be better, but everything else is a question mark or just definitively bad. Buffalo twitter seems intent on re-litigating the 2015 T-Word discussion, so I won’t say the team is doing that, but I don’t think you can, in good faith, argue that this team has gotten better over the course of the offseason.

2. What they have done is stockpile draft picks in the future, which is all well and good until you have to use them, and we have no idea how they’ll do in that regard. So this just seems like a waste of a season, with a lame duck quarterback and some bright spots here and there on the roster surrounded by poor, poor depth. If you’re arguing otherwise – that the Bills really are still going for it, that they’ve kept themselves competitive, my only question is – why? Why carry water for a team that has let you down for this long, for decision makers who haven’t come close to earning the benefit of the doubt? The team is going to be bad and we can only hope that these idiots are the right idiots to climb out of the drought.

3. 4-12 seems to be the consensus pick around these parts, so I’ll go with 5-11, as the Bills always have one stupid win we don’t expect. Said win will invariably push the Bills down 2 draft slots.

4. Let’s just slot Nathan Peterman in here, coming off a ‘he-kept-us-in-there-for-a-bit!’ shellacking at the hands of the Patriots, and he’s the one who leads us to the previously mentioned pointless win over the Dolphins.

The Bills will have the choice between Josh Rosen and Mason Rudolph — Darnold and Allen are off the board — and will go for the SENIOR with EXPERIENCE rather than the PUNKY ATTITUDE PROBLEM QB because WE’RE BUILDING A CULTURE, HERE. 

Oh, Bills win this week, 17-13, and the game is a joyless, interminable 3 hour slog.

So what do you think? Are we crazy? Dead on? Hit us up on Twitter with your comments!