Here’s a look at what some national media members are saying about the Bills headed into the Week 13 matchup against the Falcons:
MMQB, Andrew Brandt – What every team should be thankful for …
Bills: That EJ Manuel provides hope for future performance and stability at the most important position.
Pro Football Focus, Nathan Jahnke – 32 Observations
Buffalo Bills: Safety Jairus Byrd is the only defensive back in the league with just as many interceptions as catches allowed with three each. He will play safety in the nickel and dime defense.
Sportsnet, Geoff Lowe – No. 22, up three
With losses by both the Jets and Dolphins, the Bills will be coming off the bye healthy and with a slim chance of snapping their playoff drought. Buffalo heads to Toronto to take on the slumping Falcons in a game the team would do well not to take lightly.
USA Today – No. 23, up two
Bills are 1-4 in Canada, but pass rush could make life miserable for Falcons QB Matt Ryan.
Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio – No. 24, same
24. Bills (4-7; No. 24): I wonder if any of the Bills players made a bye-week trip to Dave & Buster’s?
ESPN – No. 24, up one
Buffalo had a plus-4 turnover margin in the Week 11 win over the Jets. The Bills hadn’t posted a plus-4 since Week 16 of 2011 against Denver.
FOX Sports, Brian Billick – No. 24, down two
The Bills have a favorable three-game stretch with the Falcons, Bucs and Jags on the horizon.
Yahoo Sports, Frank Schwab – No. 24, down three
With their schedule, I’m still not ruling out the Bills being 8-7 going into the finale and hoping the Patriots have their playoff seeding locked up.
Bleacher Report, Matt Miller – No. 24, same
A late-season bye week gives the Buffalo Bills time to prepare for the final five games of the season. With rookies filling out key positions at head coach, quarterback, wide receiver, inside linebacker and nickel cornerback, it’s good that the bye comes later. Now the team can catch its breath with a long week off right when the college football season is ending and most rookies are hitting a wall.
The Bills aren’t likely to make a playoff push over the next five weeks, but they can push for an 8-8 record and momentum heading into next season. With so many young players in key roles, generating confidence heading into the offseason will serve them well.
SB Nation, Jason Chilton – No. 24, up one
After a week to heal up, a strong stretch run would be just the thing to set the Bills up for good vibes in 2014. Some good decisions, deep completions to Marquise Goodwin and read-option runs would be just the thing for E.J. Manuel. Continued havoc from the defensive front and wild tackle stats from Kiko Alonso would be just the thing for the Bills defense. And 650 yards from scrimmage in the last five games would be just the thing for C.J. Spiller’s fantasy owners to shoot themselves. (Last Week: 25)
CBS Sports, Pat Kirwan – No. 25
There are real signs of hope for the future with EJ Manuel and Co., but this season is for learning.
CBS Sports, Pete Prisco – No. 25, same
It’s all about EJ Manuel’s improvement in the last five games. They need to build on that.
NFL.com, Elliott Harrison – No. 26, same
Bye week in Buffalo, and an extra week to prepare for the visiting Falcons (who will be coming off a long rest themselves, given that they played on Thursday night). This also presented some nights off to party it up at Applebee’s.
Sporting News, Vinnie Iyer – No. 26, same
Why they’re here: The Bills didn’t lose any ground during their bye but still are on the outside of the 5-6 logjam for the AFC’s final roster spot.
How they move up: Rely on that defense. Buffalo’s pass rush and ability to come up with key interceptions has been its calling card while its offense struggles through quarterback and running back injuries and inconsistency.
How they move down: If EJ Manuel hits a rookie wall. That’s always the possibility with young, developing passers who haven’t had a full season, but having the bye to work on things should help.
What’s next: vs. Falcons, in Toronto, against whom they should feel confident north of the border.
Posted in Inside the Bills