Buffalo Bills

Division: AFC EastGM: Doug WhaleyHead Coach: Doug Marrone
2012: 6-10 (4th AFC East)vs. division 2-4
Points21.5 (21st)
Yards342.9 (19th)
Pass Yards204.3 (25th)
Rush Yards138.6 (6th)

After off-season of change, Bills have much different look

Key Additions

QB K.Kolb, HC D.Marrone
DT A.Branch, LB M.Lawson,
DE J.Hughes

Key Subtractions

OG A.Levitre, S G.Wilson,
LB N.Barnett, CB T.McGee,
WR D.Jones, WR D.Nelson,
QB R.Fitzpatrick, DE C.Kelsay

The Bills enter another season hoping they can put an end to the longest playoff drought in the NFL, having last reached the post-season in 1999. Since then, the Bills have only had one winning season (9-7 in 2004) and have lost six or more games each of the last four years.

The previous paragraph is the reason that Bills fans are a tormented group, far too familiar with heartbreak. And that's not even mentioning the four straight Super Bowl losses in the early 1990s.

That's why it wasn't surprising when Fred Jackson went down with a leg injury in the first half of the Bills' 2012 season opener, or why it wasn't a shock when the club failed to re-sign star guard Andy Levitre and decided to overhaul their coaching staff yet again in the off-season.

The good news for Buffalo was that their 6-10 record wasn't a complete failure.

Jackson's injury opened the door for a rising star in C.J. Spiller, the Bills finally realized they needed to upgrade at quarterback, and rookie Stephon Gilmore showed signs of being an elite cornerback.

There may a deep history of despair in Buffalo, but there are plenty of reasons for hope after a difficult 2012 season.

Ready To Run

When Jackson's injury opened the door for Spiller, he decided to break it down in emphatic fashion, rushing for 169 yards and a touchdown in the remaining three quarters of the game. Spiller finished the season with 1,244 rushing yards and six touchdowns, while adding another 459 yards and two scores through the air. He was also the first Bills' player to gain 1,700 yards from scrimmage in 10 years.

Spiller is an explosive talent and showed in 2012 that he can be a three-down back. With the arrival of new head coach Doug Marrone, who is implementing an uptempo, run-first offence, and offensive line coach Pat Morris, who has coached the NFL's top rushing team three times in his career, Spiller is positioned for an even bigger year in 2013.

Buffalo's reliance on the running game will also stem from their uncertainty at quarterback. Kevin Kolb was brought in as an upgrade over journeyman starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. And the Bills didn't stop there, using their first round draft pick on E.J. Manuel.

Unfortunately for the Bills, injuries have already decimated their QB ranks. Kolb is out indefinitely with a concussion and Manuel, who looks to be the team's QB of the future, is also out with an injury. That leaves the Bills with undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel set to start in Week 1. Not exactly good news (but par for the course) if you're a Bills fan.

The Bills also used the draft to address their needs at wide receiver, selecting Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin in the second and third rounds, respectively. They also signed undrafted free agent Da'Rick Rogers, who brings early-round talent combined with some off-field baggage to Buffalo.

Woods is the favourite to start opposite Stevie Johnson, who hasn't missed a game since 2009. Johnson has average 79 receptions, 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns per season the last three years and is poised to be the Bills' leading receiver again this season. (

Analysis: Manuel outplayed Kolb in the pre-season, but a minor injury may hold him back. The Florida State passer needs time to develop, but the Bills desire to find a franchise quarterback may lead to him seeing the field sooner rather than later... Woods is a solid route runner and should be a good receiver in the pros. Woods will battle second-year wideout T.J. Graham for playing time... Alonso is pencilled in as a starter in what looks like a very unproven linebacking corps. Alonso's ability as a inside pass rusher should be a nice addition for the Bills. (

Round 1 16th overall E.J. Manuel QB Florida State
Round 2 41st overall Robert Woods WR USC
Round 2 46th overall Kiko Alonso ILB Oregon
Round 3 78th overall Marquise Goodwin WR Texas
Round 4 105th overall Duke Williams FS Nevada
Round 5 143rd overall Jonathan Meeks DB Clemson
Round 6 177th overall Dustin Hopkins K Florida State
Round 7 222nd overall Chris Gragg TE Arkansas

Pettine brings a new approach on defence

Last season, Buffalo's defence ranked 26th in points allowed and 22nd in yards allowed, despite featuring an impressive amount of talent on their defensive line, including Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcel Dareus.


Patriots (12-4)

Still on top of AFC East

Dolphins (9-7)

Lose tiebreaker, miss playoffs

Bills (4-12)

Playoff drought continues

Jets (3-13)

Disastrous season in NY

The Bills emptied the vault to bring Mario Williams to Buffalo last off-season and the results were mixed, despite his leading the team with 10.5 sacks. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, formerly of the Jets, has said that he wants to move Williams around, so that teams can't focus on him.

Pettine is an aggressive play caller and won't hesistate to bring pressure from all angles, which should have a positive ripple effect across the entire unit.

The Bills linebackers are fairly unproven, but playing behind skilled linemen should help them.

The secondary has two young stars in Gilmore and safety Jarius Byrd, but issues over his contract kept Byrd away from the team for much of training camp and the pre-season.

If Pettine's schemes can help Buffalo create pressure, it will help evolution of Gilmore, who is on track to become shutdown corner. After a slow start to the year, Gilmore found his footing and Bills new general manager Doug Whaley belives he has "made the leap" heading into his second season.

With so much turnover, both on the roster and in the front office, it may be hard for the Bills to write a script that ends with them reaching the post-season. (




C. Glenn
T. Welch
Z. Sanders


C. Brown
D. Legursky


E. Wood
D. Snow
R. Turnley


K. Urbik
K. Williams
A. Caldwell


E. Pears
S. Young
T. Hills
C. Hairston


S. Johnson
R. Woods
B. Smith
M. Easley
D. Rogers


S. Chandler
L. Smith
M. Caussin
D. Dickerson


T. Graham
M. Goodwin
K. Elliot


K. Kolb
E. Manuel
J. Tuel


F. Summers
D. Smith


C. Spiller
F. Jackson
T. Choice

Special Teams: K R. Lindell, P S. Powell, KR B. Smith, PR L. McKelvin

Fantasy - By The Numbers

Given a questionable quarterback situation, with journeyman Kevin Kolb and first-round pick E.J. Manuel competing for the starting job, the most value from the Bills is likely to come from the running game, where C.J. Spiller emerged as a star last year, gaining more than 1,700 yards from scrimmage.

Get ready for the fantasy season with the latest from
Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF
Fantasy Schedules: AFC | NFC
2013 Auction Values: Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Depth Charts: AFC | NFC

How high Spiller's yardage total will climb this year will depend on how many touches go to Fred Jackson, a more physical runner who has missed a dozen games over the last two seasons.

WR Stevie Johnson is certainly worth having on your squad, having put up three straight 1,000-yard seasons while scoring 23 touchdowns, but the uncertainty at quarterback adds a layer of risk. Second-round pick Robert Woods and second-year wideout T.J. Graham will compete for targets too, but are waiver wire pickups, if anything.

It's easy enough to suggest that DE Mario Williams didn't have the desired effect, because the Bills were still a bad team with him last season, but he delivered 46 total tackles and 10.5 sacks, his most since 2008 on both counts, so he's a worthy defensive starter. FS Jairus Byrd is a good one too, provided that the Bills' franchise player is eventually signed and in camp. (-Scott Cullen)

1 vs Sun, Sep. 8, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 10 @ Sun, Nov 10, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
2 vs Sun, Sep. 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 11 vs Sun, Nov 17, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
3 @ Sun, Sep. 22, 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt 12   BYE WEEK
4 vs Sun, Sep. 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 13 vs Sun, Dec 1, 4:05pm et/1:05pm pt
5 @ Thu, Oct. 3, 8:25pm et/5:25pm pt 14 @ Sun, Dec 8, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
6 vs Sun, Oct. 13, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 15 @ Sun, Dec 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
7 @ Sun, Oct. 20, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 16 vs Sun, Dec 22, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
8 @ Sun, Oct. 27, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 17 @ Sun, Dec 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
9 vs Sun, Nov. 3, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt      


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