A View from Calico Jack’s – 11/10/2008

“The natural state of the football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score.” – Nick Hornby (author)

This is natural?

Forget it. Forget the Pats game. We always lose to them, anyway.

Let’s move on to something else: Our next game is on Monday Night, at home against the Browns. Then, it’s the Chiefs on the road. And then the Niners at home. We could win those next three games, be 8-4, and have a very different outlook.

Let’s move on some more.

Matt Kabel, co-founder of this thing of ours, raised the following point in a post-Pats game e-mail:

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the Bills need to put up 20 points or they’ll lose, this has been true in 99% of games the last 3 years.”

Is that true? Hell, I’d rather do anything than focus on the last game, so I did some quick research.

Over the past three seasons, the Bills are 12-3 when they score more than 20 points. Conversely, they’re 7-17 when scoring fewer than 20. For what it’s worth, they’re 1-1 when scoring exactly 20.

So, is it as bad as 99 percent? No, but give Matt the benefit of the doubt because I don’t think he was being literal; his point, I believe, was that the team is good enough to achieve significant success if they can simply score as modestly as 20 points a game.

Adding to Matt’s credibility, here’s something ESPN’s John Clayton wrote just last year:

It sounds simple, but the stat to watch is points scored. If an offense can’t score at least 21 points a game, forget about winning a Super Bowl….

….Last season (2006), 16 teams averaged 20 or more points. Eleven of those teams made the playoffs. Ten of the 20-point teams were in the AFC….The Bears jumped from 16.3 to 26.7 points per game, finished 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl.

…The Buffalo Bills are another team that could take a big step forward on offense. QB J.P. Losman looked great running a version of the Rams’ offense last week in minicamp. With the talent on hand and improvement by Losman, the Bills could easily jump from 18.8 points per game into the 20s.

Today, of course, we trust in Trent rather than Losman. Trent has been shaky the past few games. But, he’s just about 10 minutes removed from being a rookie. This is a guy, with the talent he already has surrounding him, that can take the Bills to consistent 20-point status. Combined with our defense and special teams, this team is still in position to make something happen.

To me, coaching and player-health aside, it comes down largely to the O-Line: can these huge, huge guys consistently buy time for Trent, and push the other team forward for two yards on third and one? If so, we have a shot.

So, don’t forget, 20 or bust!

E-mail feedback and comments to Phil Mann at
pjmann at nyc.rr.com

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