Without T.O., Buffalo Bills A Glamourless Underdog To Win 2011 Super Bowl

March 11th, 2010 – By John Ritter

Terrell Owens was brought to Buffalo last off-season in attempt to both draw interest from fans, and passes from Bills quarterbacks in 2009. He succeeded in the way that he led the team in receiving, but fell way short of turning the team into a contender. Buffalo failed to clear up their issues, and even created a few more along the way to a 6-10 season, and will be an unknown quantity in 2010.

At the moment, it is a 80/1 underdog according to the NFL Future Betting Lines listed at BetED for the 2011 Super Bowl, still a ways back in a tough AFC East with each of the other three teams dominant in their own way.

The Patriots have the division’s top passing game, the Jets have clearly the best defense, and Miami looks like it will be the top rushing team with New York losing Thomas Jones.

But Buffalo will be searching.

Head coach Dick Jauron was fired midway through the year, Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick flip-flopped at quarterback, and now the Bills head into the 2010 season with a completely different regime. Chan Gailey is the new sheriff in town, and with him comes a 3-4 defensive scheme that will likely alter the personnel choices this off-season.

First-round pick from a year ago, Aaron Maybin will have more chances to rush the passer from the outside, but more hybrid players will be needed to create an effective scheme. The Bills were the 19th-rated defense last season, but was balanced out by an above-average secondary led by rookie Jarius Byrd, who tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions.

Buffalo ended the year on a high note with a big win against an Indianapolis Colts team resting it’s starters. Fred Jackson ran for 212 snow-filled yards in the 30-7 win, and Owens had a long touchdown catch in the victory. Owens only had five scores on the year, and only had one 100-yard performance amidst ankle trouble. He was limited for three weeks early in the season, but came back in Week Eight, and actually showed shades of his Pro Bowl self. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, he caught a season-high 197 yards and a touchdown, then followed up with another 96 yards and a score the next week.

The Bills let him walk via free agency, leaving only Lee Evans and Josh Reed at the top of the depth chart.

Buffalo has a relatively good tandem in the backfield if Marshawn Lynch can stay on the field. Jackson got the bulk of the carries and ran for 1,062 yards, but the pair only split four touchdowns on the year.

Fitzpatrick was brought in last season to supplement Edwards at quarterback, but was thrown into action when Edwards went down. Fitzpatrick started eight of the last 10 games, and ended up leading the team in attempts and yards.

It looks to be Fitzpatrick’s job to lose, although Gailey will be tight-lipped until pre-season.

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