5 fearless Bills predictions
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 06, 2011 @ 3:03pm
In the week leading up to the opening kickoff of the 2011 season, NFL experts everywhere toss out predictions for the coming season. What teams will surprise like Tampa Bay and Kansas City did in 2010? To what extent will Peyton Manning’s injury derail the Colts’ season? Will the Patriots be caught cheating again? Anyhow, here are our five:
1) By the end of the season, the Bills will have three different offensive line starters than they will on Sunday against Kansas City. Injuries will probably fell two of them, and I have a strong feeling that either Demetrius Bell and/or Kraig Urbik will be cut by mid-season. Rookie Chris Hairston will be forced into the lineup during his rookie season, and guard Chad Rinehart appears to be in good standing with the regime. Eric Wood is the lone starter whose job is not in danger.
2) Marcus Easley eventually overtakes Donald Jones as the #2 receiver. This isn’t too bold of a statement, as several fans vouched for the former Husky when Jones was dubbed the starter. Easley’s size/speed combination will be difficult to keep on the sideline, and at this stage of his career, Jones is more fit for the role of a fourth receiver.
3) Marcell Dareus will follow the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh as the second straight defensive tackle to win NFL Rookie of the Year honors. The former ‘Bama star was unblockable in preseason action, and with Kyle Williams drawing substantial attention next to him, opponents must pick their poison with double teams. Dareus has a strong chance to be the third rookie ever to notch 10 sacks.
4) Shawne Merriman will not play more than half of Buffalo’s season. As hard as we’re pulling for the former Charger, we still have no reason to believe he can avoid injury. With a recent history of groin, knee, foot and Achilles’ problems, it seems like “Lights Out”‘s entire body is brittle. The Bills are fortunate they found a late round gem in Danny Batten, and Arthur Moats can always swing back to his more comfortable OLB role. Buffalo is certainly prepared for the next Merriman injury.
5) The Spiller/Jackson drama is not over. I have a hunch that this will be a storyline throughout 2011, especially if Jackson doesn’t outperform Spiller by a considerable margin. At age 30, the former Coe College star has no interest in being a committee back in perhaps the final year of his prime, and it will be interesting to see how Gailey splits carries from week to week. Our prediction? Spiller and Jackson both finish with 150 touches.