Week 1 NFL Preview: The CJ and EJ Show!


Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the NFL season is here! Football is back and I’m sure everyone reading is just as excited for Sunday at 1 o’clock as I am. Am I sure everyone reading is just as excited for the Buffalo Bills game specifically? No. After a decent offseason and much optimism going into the preseason, the past three weeks have all but devastated any confidence I once had in the 2013 Bills team. The fact that they start the season against the New England Patriots does not help.

We will begin at the quarterback position where one of the Bills projected starting quarterbacks woke up one morning needing knee surgery and the other suffered a slight knee graze to the helmet (most likely) ending his football career. After these events Bills faithful sat through debating starting undrafted rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel in the opener, Hollywood hotshot Matt Leinart throwing as many interceptions as completions before being cut, and Thaddeus Lewis being just good enough for the practice squad. E.J. Manuel has since been named the starter for Week 1 at home against the Patriots, which can be seen as a positive and a negative. On the positive side, Manuel is said to be the Buffalo Bills future. Manuel is coach Doug Marrone’s guy and he will get his first in game regular season experience. Manuel also serves as the Bills best chance to succeed. On the negative side, the Bills wouldn’t have won a Week 1 game against the Patriots anyways, so what is the point in risking further damage to E.J. Manuel’s knee? The Buffalo Bills are 3-23 against the New England Patriots since the year 2000… enough said. But the Bills are starting Manuel because he is ready to roll. Who knows, maybe E.J. will be this years Russell Wilson and surprise everyone with an unbelievable rookie campaign… you know how the old saying goes, every great season starts with a knee surgery!

The Bills running back and best offensive weapon C.J. Spiller has been away from practice taking personal time in Florida with his family. His grandfather that helped raise him tragically went on a shooting spree, killing two people and injuring two others before killing himself. If that doesn’t take a serious toll on a player’s mental and emotional strength I don’t know what does. Spiller has recently returned to practice and will start the game on Sunday. C.J. has been as open as possible about the situation with the media but one can’t help but wonder if it will affect his gameplay.

On defence, the first lockdown cornerback the Bills have seen in over 10 years is out eight weeks with a hand/ wrist injury and their franchised safety who held out all year has come back with plantar fasciitis. I’m not sure what plantar fasciitis is… but it sounds like a made-up injury by a guy who doesn’t want to play football in Western New York. Whatever it is, it means the two only competent defensive backs the Bills have won’t be playing this Sunday against Tom Brady. That is bad.

Handsome Tom and the New England Patriots have put the Aaron Hernandez murder scandal behind them. And even if they haven’t gotten over it and are still dealing with the issues Hernandez has cursed them with, history shows that Bill Belichick strives in the face of conflict. I don’t see this dismantled Bills team as a significant enough sized hurdle for the Patriots to have trouble jumping over.

Even if the Bills offence finds a way to score touchdowns I still think Brady and his generally no-name wide receiving core will be able to find the end zone more (even if fragile Danny Amendola plays, which it’s looking like he will). The Bills secondary is already too disassembled to have any chance at stopping a veteran quarterback like Tom Brady. Watch out Peyton Manning, Brady is coming after your ridiculous Week 1 statistics.

The good news, it’s not going to be snowing at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. The bad news, the Buffalo Bills will lose to the hated New England Patriots. Another season of rage and sadness is upon us. And the Bills are lucky enough to have Tom Brady and the Patriots on Week 1 to let them know just how badly they suck. Hurray! Enjoy the games everybody!