Buffalo Bills 2015 Preview

31
Aug

2014 Record – 9-7

Key Additions

RB LeSean McCoy, QB Matt Cassel, WR/KR Percy Harvin, TE Charles Clay, OG Richie Incognito

Key Departures

RB C.J. Spiller, LB Kiko Alonso, S Da’Norris Searcy

Breakdown

The Bills made improvements to their offense across the board. Bringing in veteran Matt Cassel to man the offense or at the very least push third-year quarterback E.J. Manuel to his full potential. A new team of coaches and offense could be just what either man needs. Signing the dynamic Percy Harvin to complement Sammy Watkins should help whoever is leading the offense, as will the additions of LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay, who will get plenty of opportunities to utilize his blocking skills.

We already know that the defense is loaded with talent as well as what new coach Rex Ryan can do with a stacked deck. Guys like Mario Williams, Leodis McKelvin, and Marcell Dareus give the Bills Pro-Bowl caliber players back to front. And with young guys like Duke Williams being ready to step in and play, it didn’t hurt the Bills to let players such as Da’Norris Searcy and Kiko Alonso go. The defense should be solid and finish in the top 5, the record of this team hinges completely on the performance of the offense. Matt Cassel should be able to manage this offense with its play-makers efficient enough to get the Bills their first postseason berth since 1999. 

X-Factor – Matt Cassel

If Matt Cassel is ever going to prove himself as an NFL quarterback, this is his chance to do it. He has impressive weapons around him and shouldn’t be asked to do much more than manage the offense and let the play-makers make plays. If he can do that the Bills could be a team to beat in the AFC.

2015 Breakout Player – Percy Harvin

It may seem unfair to consider Harvin a candidate for Breakout Player because he has had some success. However, he has found himself run out of town by two teams, missed an incredible amount of games due to various injuries, and has never lived up to his first-round-pick status. Rex Ryan who picked up Harvin last year while still coaching the Jets, must have seen enough in Harvin to think he can be an asset to his offense and overall team atmosphere.

Best Case 

A quarterback emerges, the controversial additions of Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy work out, Rex Ryan and the Bills do what Rex Ryan did early with the Jets; terrorize the Patriots and the rest of the AFC East. 13-3

Worst Case 

No quarterback emerges and Rex Ryan is left to rely on a play-making defense. With a fairly tough schedule and the inability to score enough points the Bills end up at the bottom of the AFC East. 6-10

Key Game

December 13 @ Philadelphia Eagles

LeSean McCoy returns to Philly and the Bills could be jockeying for a playoff spot. If Ryan’s defense can keep Philly’s complex offense under wraps and McCoy does what many NFL players do when they are out for blood; have a monster game, the Bills could put themselves in solid position for postseason play.

Projected Record – 10-6

About the author: Matthew Palmateer