I assure you, though, they are bad. Our Robert Mays ranked the Bills 32nd out of 32 in his preseason power rankings. When our staff assembled for its wins pool ahead of the season, the Bills were one of the two teams that went unselected. The Ringer was not alone in its negative assessment of Buffalo. ESPN had the Bills 28th, Bleacher Report 30th, and CBS joined us in ranking them dead last. But then again, last year everybody hated on the Bills too. Before the season, Mays put the Bills 31st; ESPN and B/R had them 26th, and CBS had them 27th. And that was the Bills team that was theoretically the best in years: They were the first Buffalo squad to make the playoffs since 1999, ending the longest postseason drought in pro sports. How could everyone have been so wrong about a team that turned out to be so good, and so meaningful for Buffalo? And how could they repeat the mistake by issuing such low expectations for a team that made the playoffs last season? Clearly, the preseason rankings of this years Bills team reflected typical downstate bias from a hating national media that would prefer to imagine 95 percent of the state of New York doesnt exist.
But then the season started, and the Bills backed up the anti-hype. Buffalo lost its Week 1 game against the Ravens 47-3, the biggest blowout in any NFL matchup since 2014. Quarterback Nathan Peterman registered a 0.0 quarterback rating, becoming the first starter to do so since the 2015 season. The defense made Joe Flacco look elite, as he threw for three touchdowns with no interceptions. The score could have been worse, but the Ravens decided to chill out after going up 40-0 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Bills are bad, but like I said, many sports teams are bad. What upsets me about the Buffalo Bills is that they did this to themselves.
Video: Time to Schein: Get ready for Buffalos Josh Allen
There were some truly great moments from the Bills 2017 campaign. There is no greater Buffalo football thing than the team and its fans celebrating an overtime win in an ongoing snowstorm by hurling snow wherever they could:
With Josh Allen set to start his first career game Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, the rest of the Buffalo Bills offense knows it must step up to help the rookie.
The best aid Allen could receive in the Bills home opener is if LeSean McCoy woke up after a Week 1 slumber. The lead tailback took seven carries for just 22 yards in the blowout loss (3.1 YPC), and earned just one catch for -1 yard.
"One thing Im going to talk to the offense about, especially the skill guys, for the rookie quarterback to have a good game for them is to make it easy on him," McCoy said Wednesday, via the teams official website. "Hey, if he makes a wrong read and the ball is hard to catch, catch it. You might not get yards after the catch, but just catching the ball will give him confidence, moving the chains. In the running back room, making guys miss, breaking tackles, everything to give him the extra advantage is critical and big for this game and his confidence. Hes so young. If he gets going he gets more confidence each play, so thats something I want to talk to the guys about, just executing and making it easier for him."
Allen enters his first start behind one of the worst offensive lines in football, and with a subpar cast of receivers. McCoy represents the lone skill-position player with Pro Bowl pedigree.
The lack of offensive help is one reason the Bills coaching staff seemed reticent to hand the reins to Allen. After Nathan Petermans disastrous start to the season, however, Buffalo was left with little choice.
The concern is that early-career struggles with so little surrounding talent could lead to bad habits and crippled confidence. To help mitigate those concerns, McCoy must step up, starting with Sundays tilt versus the Chargers.