Spree pundits opine on the local
Nov 3, 2010
08:00 AMState of Play
The Bills will win on Sunday
So the Buffalo Bills stagger into Toronto this coming Sunday bruised, battered and bloodied. And winless.
Hey, no one's astonished that the 2010 campaign has been a roaring inferno of disaster. Then again, how many of us thought they'd still be searching for win No. 1 as October gave way to November? Not me.
That's why I'm making a bold prediction for the team's annual exhibit in the Great White North: a Buffalo win. This is the week they finally get off the schneid. I mean, it's gotta be, right? Aren't the Bills due? Please?
I always laugh at media and fans who invariably get carried away in September, anointing surprise teams as the real deal and struggling teams as dead on arrival. The Bears, filled with flaws on both sides of the ball, were one of the former. They swindled the Detroit Lions out of a victory on Opening Day, beat a vastly overrated Cowboys team in Week Two, and, despite Jay Cutler's best efforts, somehow knocked off the rival Packers in Week Three. To hear Bears Backers and pundits talk, they were the second coming of that 1985 team that kicked, punched and annihilated its way to the Super Bowl.
But alas, fast-forward to Week Eight, and Chicago is its old, fraudulent self. It's hard to imagine them being good enough for the playoffs in a weakened NFC. So is it too much of a stretch to think they'll lay another egg at Rogers Center on Sunday? Maybe. But they're facing a Bills team that, if nothing else, plays hard for each other and is starting to gain some belief in its new coaches and quarterback.
No one was more down on the Bills than I in the anguished aftermath of early season losses to the Packers, Jets and Jags, all of which proved this group was indeed the NFL's worst. Perhaps the most sinking feeling was that the players never looked like they had mailed it in, even in the blowout losses. They were still playing their fannies off, finishing blocks and tackles, fighting the good fight even in the most hopeless of situations ... and still getting throttled; setting new standards for all-time franchise low points.
But something's happened since the bye week, and I think we can all feel and see it. The Bills, were it not for a few bounced and lousy calls, probably would've beaten both the Ravens and Chiefs, a pair of likely playoff teams whose stadiums are a little less cozy and welcoming than Thunderdome from the second Mad Max movie.
Have no illusions: Buffalo's not a good team, not even close. But the Bills no longer appear to be the pushovers we witnessed for the first five agonizing weeks of the season. They're suddenly the nerdy kid who, while still unable to guard his lunch money from the schoolyard bullies, landed a couple of surprising roundhouse rights and walked to class with a little more dignity and respect than after the last beating.
Call me overly optimistic, call me deluded, call me stupid if you will. (But please, don't call me anything we can't post on Facebook). You'll be calling me nicer things when the Bills finally post a W for the "home" fans.