By MATT PARRINO
The Tonawanda News
— The National Football League season begins tonight and, in annual fashion, I’ve started to look through so-called expert predictions for the 2012 season.
Why wasn’t I surprised to find the Bills picked as low as 28 out of 32? Because what national analyst actually pays attention to anything happening in the 7-1-6? I’m never surprised when national TV “analysts” happen to analyze something in an utterly wrong fashion. It’s difficult to have your finger on the pulse of everything going on across the country.
One so-called expert surmised that the Bills anemic offense would be their undoing. Now, I do admit to being a Bills fan for most of my life, but as a journalist judging based on simple and clear facts, the Bills’ offense isn’t all that concerning.
Think about it: Fred Jackson is back and almost 100 percent healthy, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has recovered from broken ribs that derailed his season last year and has a groin injury-free Stevie Johnson in search of his third consecutive 1,000-yard season — something no other Bills wide out has done in back-to-back years.
Jackson looked like his usual MVP-like self in the preseason and C.J. Spiller may finally be ready to be the tag team partner fans have been waiting to see alongside Jackson.
If you ask me — and yes I have some bias — the Bills offense isn’t the issue. Between Donald Jones, David Nelson, T.J. Graham and Scott Chandler, there has to be enough production there to eleviate the burden on the big three (Jackson, Johnson and Fitzpatrick — Isn’t that cool, Buffalo? You have your own big three).
Buffalo’s problem is on the defensive side of the ball, mainly a young and inexperienced secondary led by a cornerback tandem with all of one year of league playing time between them and a mediocre linebacking crew.
The Bills are going to depend on the pass rush, which looked lethal at times in preseason, to help the defense create turnovers. Teams looked like they were able to run on Buffalo consistently the past month, so the squad must revert to early-2011 form when it comes to forcing its opponent to make mistakes.
By no means am I ready to declare this season the end of the playoff drought, but to say a team that started 5-2 last season, with its entire core back and healthy, is the fourth worst team in the league is just horrible analysis.
But hey, we’re used to it, right?
Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find him on Twitter:
Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find him on Twitter: @MattParrino