Friday, February 7, 2014
Trending up: Buffalo Bills
By Mike Rodak
Early last month, we assigned the Bills an "arrow grade" as part of our season wrap-up. An "up" arrow meant a team was trending in the right direction, while a down arrow, of course, meant the opposite.
In the case of the Bills, we opted for the "up" arrow. Although they did not make the playoffs, finishing in last place in the AFC East, we believe that there were building blocks in place for improvement this fall. As it turns out, seven other teams earned an "up" arrow from their respective reporters, despite those teams not making the playoffs.
So of those eight teams, including the Bills, which has the best shot at cracking the postseason in 2014? We posed that question to the eight reporters, having them rank their playoff chances from 1 to 8, with 1 having the best chance of making the playoffs.
The results are below, and the Bills finished seventh, ahead of only the Jacksonville Jaguars. Four AFC teams -- the Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, New York Jets, and Tennessee Titans -- all finished ahead of the Bills in the voting.
For the most part, that's hard to argue. The Steelers and Texans are both considered talented teams who stumbled last season. The Jets are a young team with plenty of question marks on offense -- like the Bills -- but coach Rex Ryan has proven he can take a team deep into the playoffs. Bills coach Doug Marrone still has that task ahead of him.
Where we might quibble the most would be with the Titans, who could be nearing the end of the line with Jake Locker at quarterback. The Titans just swapped out head coaches and it may take time before things get on the right track. Despite a 7-9 record last season, the Titans could take a step back this fall.