Tonawanda News

Columns

September 9, 2012

DUVALL: Hope springs eternal for Buffalo Bills fans

At long last, the Bills are back!

Literally, of course, they’re back. The season starts today.

I’m much more excited about the figurative sense — they’re relevant again. Perhaps those tasked with running Buffalo’s most popular institution finally got tired of being upstaged by the Sabres and Terry Pegula’s free-spending ways, but this off-season Ralph opened the wallet and dropped some serious coin to revamp and revitalize his once-proud franchise.

I realize the inherent cynicism we all feel about the team still exists. Coming of age with Wide Right, those debacles against Dallas and the Music City Miracle ensures no one around here is a dewy-eyed optimist when it comes to the Bills.

But cynics be damned, this is our year to finally make the playoffs. A soft schedule against a slate of rookie quarterbacks and a stout defense should be the recipe for a post-season berth.

What I’m about to say is admittedly pathetic, but I would love nothing more than to watch the Bills claim a wildcard spot and get steamrolled by Pittsburgh in a road playoff opener. I’d be thrilled. 

My precise prediction, as to and for the record: The Bills will finish second in the AFC East behind, of course, New England and end the year 10-6. 

Yes, I think the Bills will log as many wins this season as their last two combined.

There are, of course, weaknesses. For those we must start with Ryan Fitzpatrick, our Harvard grad lumberjack of a quarterback whose facial hair prowess regularly outpaces his ability to throw passes caught by teammates and not opposing defenders. If the Bills are going to make the playoffs, Fitz is going to need more than his trademark killer beard. He’s going to have to throw far fewer than last season’s NFL-leading 26 interceptions.

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