The Bills stunned pretty much everyone by blowing out the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium by a final score of 41-7. It took just one convincing win and, all of a sudden, there is hope surrounding the team that has seemed adrift for a decade. Heck, even Jerry Sullivan is upbeat about this team.
But what should fans expect for the rest of the season? We’ve all been let down so many times. Like remember when the Bills beat the Patriots 31-0 in the 2004 season opener? But The Fifth Down blog at the NY Times has an interesting analysis of the Bills situation and how it may bode well for a better-than-expected season.
From their blog post: From 1978-2010, only 7 teams were a) an underdog in their season opener and b) covered the point spread by at least 30 points and c) won 6 or fewer games in the prior season. 5 of those 7 teams went on to win at least 8 games in that season and 2 of them made the playoffs.
The post’s author, Chase Stuart, goes on to note that in 2010, the Bills had the worst turnover margin in the NFL. Since 1990, teams with the worst turnover margin have won just 4.6 games that season (the Bills finished last year 4-12). But the following season, those teams have won, on average, 7.9 games. Football stat geeks view turnovers differently than most fans in that they recognize luck plays a big role in how many turnovers a team has during any given season. As a result, the football sabermetrics crowd estimates the Bills will be a better team this year than most people expect; indeed, the dean of football geeks (Football Outsiders) projected the Bills to win 7.1 games.
So there are quantifiable reasons to have hope for this season. Now let’s see what happens when Oakland comes to town next Sunday.