If the Buffalo Bills can pull off a win at the Ralph for their homeopener against the Oakland Raiders, it would surprise just about everyone except myself and the other few thousand die-hard Bills fans who never stop Billieving (surprisingly, some of us aren't even in AA or heavily medicated yet).
A win would also mark the first time since 2008 the Bills started a season 2-0 and would rub salt in my wound (right above my heart) since for the first time in a long time, I'm missing the homeopener.
Here's what MUST happen to prove last week's win wasn't a fluke.
1) The Bills must stop Oakland's rush. Everyone expected Kansas City's RBs to bowl over the defense since it was ranked dead last last season. Instead, the D allowed only 108 yards on the ground. Oakland has a physical running corps so this will be a true test of the Bills' ability to consistently stop the run. If the D comes out on top again, I'll stop worrying about jinxing things and openly declare this season to have "legit potential."
2) Freddy J and CJ Spiller will have some serious bragging rights if they can put on another performance like last week's. Oakland's rush D is beastly, so our O-line is going to have to materialize and develop blocks without racking up penalties.
3) Pass protection. Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick fired some hardcore passes off to Stevie Johnson and Scott Chandler... that they caught. If Fitz has enough time to set up more passes like last week's, I'll officially consider myself spoiled and begin EXPECTING the Bills' score to go up by "7″ instead of "3″ like I'm used to.
4) Avoid injury. Shawn Merriman went out last game with a stinger (supposedly). I don't bank our entire defense on him-not by a long shot-but I'd like to see us finally benefit from a "big name" player. The Bills are also notorious for sustaining injuries. It's too early for our secondary to suffer significant losses, especially if we're trying to prove that we're a team to beat.
5) Make it a fierce battle of the tight ends. Scott Chandler burst out of the woodwork in a big way last week, recording two touchdowns, five receptions and 63 yards. This game will be key to solidifying his place on the offensive line (the last time we had a reliable TE was way back in the Jay Riemersma days). Oakland has a TE who's also looking to prove something. Kevin Boss missed Week 1 with a knee injury but could suit up in Buffalo. He was part of the Giants' winning Super Bowl team, so there's plenty of reputation on the line.
If all goes as planned, I'll be a mess of emotions (what else is new?) by game-end and it'll be totally worth it. Think: extreme elation at a win combined with extreme distress from missing the game back to anxious anticipation for next week's game finished off with indecisiveness over what 4 o'clock game to watch.
What are your predictions? Can Buffalo prove they're not the "same old Bills" everyone's come to expect?