Excited. Nervous. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Depressed. All words that come to mind when I think about the Bills facing the Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Excited: Because it's Week 1 of the best season of the year! Football, duh.
Overwhelmed: Ditto, plus I'm easily overwhelmed and it's really hard having so many conflicting emotions all at once.
Anxious: I'm going to the game, and granted, I'm going with the best group of Jets fans possible (I'm pretty sure they're the only ones I've ever been able to maintain a functional, lasting relationship with), but I'm mostly worried about the rest of the stadium. By now you know I'm A) dramatic B) unable to keep my mouth shut C) crazy D) fiercely protective of the Bills. Fingers crossed, prayers sent up.
Depressed: Picturing the worst case scenario (I'm an over-thinker) and dreading Monday at work/on the train/everywhere in NYC. Morose and negative, I know, but that's what a lifetime of Bills fandom will do to you! Somebody slap me!
So what should Bills fans look out for during Sunday's game? I'll give you a quick list, because after all, we all know that one game does not dictate how the Buffalo Bills will perform the rest of the season. They like to keep us on their toes, so let's just get through the first game.
-What will go down during the Fitzmagic show? Though most non-Bills fans claim they're incapable of finding reasons to respect Ryan Fitzpatrick, his numbers from last season say otherwise. He finished sixth in completions, ninth in completion percentage, 10th in touchdown passes, 11th in passing yards and was the least sacked QB in the league. He also had 23 interceptions. Not glowing numbers but does anyone remember what the Bills were working with before (it's okay, I've suppressed memories of the torture that was Trent Edwards post-concussions, too)?If anything, Fitz proved he's reliable, has awesome report with his receivers, is adaptable (he was one of our top rushers most games) and does risky yet useful things like tackle after interceptions.
-Will Mario Williams prove his worth (when Ralph Wilson decides to loosen the purse strings, he reallyyyy loosens them)? Fans have big expectations for the former Texans defensive end and entire D-line seems to be well balanced (I reserve the right to alter this opinion at any moment) so if all goes well, Sanchez will be spending a lot of time on his behind or lamenting mis-aimed balls.
-Special teams, special teams, special teams. When he can hold on to the ball, Leodis McKelvin is a solid kick returner and rookie John Potter racked up an impressive touchback record during preseason (At least that's what buffalobills.com tells me. NYC refuses to show me Buffalo games. Ever.) Honestly, I just put this on the list because I always find myself holding my breath during kick offs. I'm pretty sure it's a habit leftover from those particularly distressing years.
-Receivers. As of Friday, Stevie Johnson was questionable. Tear. Chan said Johnson will be a gametime decision. If he doesn't trot out on the field, I might hyperventilate. I should bring a brown paper bag. With or without Johnson, it'll be interesting to see what happens with second and third receivers. Donald Jones had some breakout moves last season (and some equally heartbreaking ones) and David Nelson consistently pulled through.
-Rushers. Is Freddy Jackson in tip top shape to resume his beast mode status (I long to witness the "get out my face" stiff arm, tackle breaking/leaping, long runs down the sideline)? Has CJ Spiller made further progress to become an equal and/or viable second option? Let's hope so.
-Is Rian Lindell prepared to resume his role as preventer of emotional breakdowns for Bills fans everywhere? I'm not concerned about his abilities, I just love watching him hit those long FGs.
-And last but CERTAINLY not least, does the O-line have its ish together? You all know my tough love relationship with this line. Last season, they won me over a little more (after the previous season when they consistently failed to show up, it shouldn't have been hard to do). This season, I'm looking to see Fitz with even more time in the pocket (and in return, Johnson making his why-so-serious worthy catches) and Jackson/Spiller flying through holes because blocks are actually developed.
Feel free to tweet me your gameday feelings, experiences, comments at @lysssie. Tweets of serenity, peace and reminders that it is illegal to physically harm others, are also appreciated.