2008 Buffalo Bills AFC East Preview

The 2008 edition of the Bills should be an exciting thing to watch. There will once again be a quarterback controversy as second year player Trent Edwards looks to officially overthrow JP Losman. Edwards and Lynch for a very dynamic one-two punch, and should compliment and grow together nicely. How far Buffalo can go will rest on their shoulders. Make no mistake about it; the Bills are playing for a wild card birth. A division title is out of the question in the near future with the Patriots once again sitting at the top.

KEY ADDITIONS:

1) Kawika Mitchell – The linebacker comes over from the Super Bowl winning New York Giants team. Mitchell had 76 tackles to go along with 4 sacks last year, and was a very instrumental part to New York’s title run. Mitchell will start at weakside linebacker, and is poised to be in position to have a great year in Buffalo.

2) Leotis McKelvin – The cornerback out of Troy will probably start out as the team’s nickel cornerback, but could replace Jabari Green by midseason. At 5′ 11″, McKelvin may not be the biggest corner in the game, but he is quick and can keep pace with the best of them. He may also get a chance to have a hand in the return game if need be.

KEY LOSSES:

1) Jason Webster – While Webster didn’t get much playing time in Buffalo, he will be looked upon to help replace Asante Samuel and Randall Gay in New England. At 5′ 9″ he doesn’t possess the size to jump with some of the taller receivers. He will however have the benefit of working against Randy Moss on a daily basis, and could turn into a pretty good nickel corner in New England.

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2) Michael Gaines – The tight end out of UCF departs to the Lions this offseason. While he only caught 25 passed for 200+ yards and 2 touchdowns, the potential for more was there. Look for Gaines to benefit from having Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson around him, and a 40-50 catch season could be on the horizon.

Key Weaknesses:

The weakness of this team rests with an inexperience quarterback. Trent Edwards enters his sophomore year, and will struggle at times. How well he can perform will be instrumental in how far this team is able to go this season.

Key Strengths:

Although quarterback is the weakness of this team, he is also part of the strength. Edwards, Lynch, and Evans provide a young and exciting 1-2-3 combination at quarterback, running back, and receiver. While they should be expected to suffer through some growing pains this year, they will be a great combination in the future, and will be looked upon to lead this team to the playoffs in the coming years.

2008 Predictions

The 2008 Bills play in the easiest division in football….outside of the Patriots that is. It will be difficult for them to earn a wild card birth in a very competitive AFC Conference, and unless Tom Brady is struck by lightning and Randy Moss is hog-tied all season the Bills don’t stand a chance at the AFC East division crown. The Bills are still a year or two of solid free agency and draft choices away from competing for a playoff spot. Until then, getting Marshawn Lynch and Trent Edwards experience is the most important benefit for this club.

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Here is a look how the 2008 schedule looks for the Bills:

Week/Opponent

1 Seattle

2 @Jacksonville

3 Oakland

4 @St Louis

5 @Arizona

6 Bye

7 San Diego

8 @Miami

9 NY Jets

10 @New England

11 Cleveland

12 @Kansas City

13 San Francisco

14 Miami

15 @NY Jets

16 @Denver

17 New England

The Bills are a step ahead of both the Jets and Dolphins in the AFC East. The problem is, they are also a mile behind the Patriots. Expect the Bills to sweep the Dolphins, split with the Jets and get swept by the Patriots. A 3-3 divisional finish can be expected from the Bills.

As for the rest of the league, games against St Louis, Arizona, Kansas City, and San Francisco are all achievable. A finish of 7-9 or possible 8-8 are achievable, and a mid-round draft choice should be awaiting the Bills come April.