2015 NFL Preview: Buffalo Bills

2015 NFL Preview: Buffalo Bills

With NFL training camps a little over a month away from opening, now is a great time to begin previewing all 32 teams for the upcoming 2015 season. That’s right, pro football is creeping closer once again — all is right in the world. First up this summer are the Buffalo Bills, who finished 2014 with a 9-7 record, which was their first winning season since 2004. Head coach Rex Ryan brings his wizard-like defensive mind and combustible personality to Western New York after being booted to the curb by the Jets. He also brings lofty expectations attached to a wealth of AFC East knowledge. Can these new-look Bills challenge the mighty Super Bowl champion Patriots, and hold off the rising Dolphins and Jets? Here’s a peek at the 2015 Buffalo Bills.

Outlook: Rex Ryan compiled a 50-52 (including playoffs) record in six seasons with the Jets. He knows how to construct elite defenses, but the lack of a true franchise quarterback ultimately cost him his job. Guess what? The Bills don’t have a franchise quarterback, either. The front office wasted a first-round pick on E.J. Manuel in 2013, and as a result have had to roll with journeymen Kyle Orton in 2014 and Matt Cassel in 2015. How Cassel performs will go a long way in deciding how many wins they net. The defense is legit Top 5 and already proved a season ago it can carry a suspect offense to victories.

Later, dude: C.J. Spiller never developed into a quality number one running back, so he’s a Saint. Linebacker Brandon Spikes was okay in his one season, but not good enough to re-sign. And his involvement in leaving the scene of an accident in early June left him unemployed. Tight end Scott Chandler caught 17 touchdowns in four full years, but he’s now a Patriot. Former Defensive Rookie of the Year Kiko Alonso was dealt to the Eagles in exchange for…

Welcome aboard: …LeSean McCoy. The 2013 rushing leader wasn’t as dynamic in 2014 but at 27, he still has the elusiveness and dual-threat abilities to be an impact runner. The aforementioned Cassel hasn’t started more than 9 games since 2010, but he has experience and should be serviceable if he stays healthy. Charles Clay notched 127 receptions for Miami in 2013 and 2014; he immediately upgrades the tight end position and could become a go-to option on third down for Cassel. Guard Richie Incognito is a mauler and known dirty player who also sat out a season because of his controversial behavior inside the Dolphins locker room; he could benefit a line in need of consistency, or he could become a distracting headache. Even though he’s totally overrated and oft-injured, Percy Harvin showed Rexy enough in eight games in 2014 to ink him to a one-year deal.

Over/under wins – 8.5 wins: Matchups against Indy, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Philly, and Dallas, plus a tough division slate means reaching 9 wins won’t be a breeze. McCoy, Clay, and Sammy Watkins is an enticing trio of offensive weapons, and a stout defense will remain one of the league’s best.

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