Odds on What the Bills Fan Base Will Complain About Most in 2018-19
The 2017-18 football season was a miracle for the Buffalo Bills. After nearly two decades, the playoff drought was broken, and all of Western New York was celebrating as if they won a lifetime of free Buffalo wings. Prior to the 2017-18 season, nobody gave the Bills a chance to make the playoffs. In fact, most pundits had picked the Bills to finish with a losing record and be one of the worst teams in the NFL. Even the grumbles and complaints from Bills fans were louder than usual.
Well, thanks to Andy Dalton and the Bengals, Buffalo went to the playoffs, and the “curse of Flutie” was lifted. Despite the post-season celebration, there are still annual complaints within the Bills Mafia. And I’m sure there will be even more complaints during the season.
Although this is a tongue-in-cheek article with fake odds, the complaints listed below will definitely be real. For those of you who aren’t experienced bettors and don’t know what the numbers mean, you can learn all about them in our guide on sports betting odds.
The Quarterback Play: -500
This NFL offseason has been all about the quarterback. From Kirk Cousins and the three former Vikings quarterbacks to Tyrod Taylor and the NFL Draft, the quarterback position has been the top story. And it will continue to be the top story heading into the 2018 NFL Draft.
For the Bills, the quarterback position will be the top story all offseason long. So it should be no surprise that the quarterback play will be the number-one complaint by Bills fan during the 2018-19 season. As of now, the Bills have AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman on their roster. They’re also expected to take a QB in the draft.
Even if McCarron can be an effective bridge QB for the rookie, there will be complaints as to when the rookie should take over, whether or not McCarron is a legit starter, and why the Bills remain confident in Peterman.
The Patriots Cheat: -350
As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are with the Patriots, this annual complaint of cheating will continue. Let’s first start with the fact that this really is a valid complaint, as the Patriots have been punished for cheating. Do you remember SpyGate and DeflateGate? But that doesn’t take away from their historical dominance on the division.
Since Belichick and his hoodies took over the Patriots, they have won 9 straight divisional titles and 15 AFC EAST crowns overall. They’ve also gone 79-23 during that span.
Should’ve Never Traded Tyrod Taylor: -100
Despite the Bills receiving the top pick of the 3rd round and saving nearly $10 million, there will be fans that complain about former Bills QB Tyrod Taylor being traded to the Browns during the offseason. In addition to many pundits, there’s a minority portion of the Bills Mafia that believe Tyrod is a legit starter and that he could’ve led the Bills to another playoff appearance.
I believe they’ve been drinking too much of the Tyrod kool-aid. After a few seasons at the helm of the Bills offense and his dreadful playoff performance, it was clear that the Bills needed to head in a new direction. Nevertheless, those fans still wearing a Tyrod jersey at the games will continue to beat the Taylor drum. And with every interception or incompletion by any of the Bills’ quarterbacks, you can expect those complaints to grow louder.
Trust the Process: Even
Since head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane came to town, they have been shouting and preaching the mantra “trust the process.”
This process has included a complete overhaul of the Bills roster, cleaning up a messy salary cap situation, getting rid of players who didn’t buy into the process, and accumulating draft capital. The process also led the Bills to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years, and it has them looking at a brighter future than the doom and gloom of the last 14 years.
However, there will still be fans that complain about the process. With every offseason move or lack of moves, social media and Bills forums have been a hotbed for detractors voicing their displeasures. So you can expect this complaint to continue throughout the season. In fact, the only way this complaint can be squashed or silenced is by the Bills winning the Super Bowl.
McCoy Always Gets Hurt: +100
Since coming to Buffalo via trade in 2015, McCoy has missed 5 games due to injuries. The 2015 season saw him miss time due to hamstring and knee injuries. The 2016-17 season saw Shady battle a thigh strain, dislocated thumb, and an ankle sprain. Last season, he was able to appear in all 16 games but suffered numerous dings along the way, none scarier than his ankle sprain that almost kept him out of the playoffs. LeSean has developed a reputation with critics as being injury-prone. As long as he remains as one of the elite backs in the league, the complaints will be minimal. A decline in play, and you can bet the volume of complaints will be turned up.
Old Running Backs: +150
Speaking of McCoy, he will turn 30 before the season starts, and he leads a backfield that seems to collect older running backs. Backup RB Chris Ivory just turned 30 in March, Travaris Cadet hit 29 in February, and Taiwan Jones will turn 30 years old this summer. The Bills have the oldest group of running backs in the league, and it’s something that hasn’t gone over well with the Bills fanbase.
The Bills Mafia has already expressed their concerns over this backfield, which will have a combined age of 119 years when the season starts. Shady still has some explosiveness left, and Ivory is a grinder. Cadet and Jones are both coming off season-ending injuries and are expected to contribute in minor capacities this year. However, the Bills really need to infuse some youth into this position. With every nick, ding, and injury to the running backs this season, expect critics and fans to complain about how old these backs are.
Charles Clay Is Overpaid: +150
Here’s a complaint that has been growing since tight end Charles Clay signed a 5-year, $35-million-dollar deal with the Bills in 2015, after Buffalo snagged Clay from division rival the Miami Dolphins. According to Spotrac.com, Clay has a $4.5-million base salary in 2018 and a cap hit of $9 million. In his 3 seasons with Buffalo, Clay has missed 7 games and has only scored 9 touchdowns. He’s averaging 79 receptions and 546 yards per season. His per-game averages are 39.9 YPG and 5.7 RPG.
Between his injuries, which have plagued him since he signed with Buffalo, and unimpressive stats, it’s easy to see why some Bills fans are down on the team’s top tight end. Clay supporters will argue that it was the system and Tyrod Taylor that held him back. Clay detractors will point to Clay not being on the field and his inability to win one-on-one battles. If offensive coordinator Brian Daboll can’t get more production out of Clay, then expect the Bills Mafia to unleash a fury of football frustrations.
The OC Should’ve Stayed in College: +300
In mid-January, the Buffalo Bills signed Brian Daboll to be their offensive coordinator after firing former OC Rick Dennison, who was one and done with the Bills. The 42-year-old coordinator has 5 Super Bowl rings during his 17 years of coaching in the NFL. Last year, he was the offensive coordinator for college football’s national champion – the Alabama Crimson Tide. Without going into the assumed offensive philosophy that Daboll is expected to install, the Bills organization and their fanbase expect the offense to significantly improve their on-field production.
Last season, the Bills were terrible on offense as they finished with the following league rankings:
- 6th in rushing yards – 126.1 YPG
- 22nd in points scored – 18.9 PPG
- 29th in total yards – 302.6 YPG
- 31st in passing yards – 176.6 YPG
As you can see, the Bills offense was downright awful. Daboll will be tasked with the mission of improving the offense’s passing attack and scoring more points. As for the rushing game, the Bills were the top rushing team in 2016-17, so Daboll will be asked to return this unit back to the top of the league.
With every 3-and-out, turnover, or failed red zone possession, you can bet that the Bills fans will start to grumble, and the whispers of Daboll needing to return to college football will turn into loud chants.
Spent Too Much on Lotulelei: +350
Buffalo’s top free agent signing during the 2018 offseason was defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. The massive DT left the Carolina Panthers as a free agent and signed a 5-year, $50-million-dollar contract. This season, Lotulelei will have a cap hit of $6.7 million. Next season, it jumps up to $11.5 million.
Star’s stats won’t jump off the screen and excite the average fan. In fact, if you don’t understand the game of football, then you won’t understand his significance.
The Bills had one of the worst rush defenses in the league last season. They finished the season ranked 29th in the league, allowing 124.6 rushing YPG. They finished 26th in total yards allowed at 355 YPG. Star was brought in to help plug the middle of the defensive line and stop the opponent’s running game. He will gobble up two offensive linemen at a time, which will allow fellow d-linemen to get one-on-one matchups and linebackers to run freely.
His impact won’t be seen in the stat sheets, but it will be noticed by coaches, teammates, and opponents. However, if the Bills fail to get into the top half of the league in rushing yards allowed, then I guarantee the fanbase will be voicing their opinions about how the Bills overpaid for Lotulelei.
Should Cut Zay Jones: +400
Last year, Zay Jones was a highly touted collegiate receiver after tearing up the record books at East Carolina. He was drafted in the second round with the expectations of improving a weak group of receivers. Unfortunately, Jones had a poor rookie year, as he finished with 27 receptions for 316 yards and 2 TDs. He played his way out of a starting spot and seemed lost during games.
If his poor play wasn’t enough to warrant complaints from the fanbase, then his off-field arrest definitely will. In March of 2018, Jones was arrested for vandalizing a hotel. Footage of a naked, bloody Jones being arrested turned the receiver into a punchline overnight. It also turned Bills fans against him. In fact, the odds should probably be a bit closer to Even that the Bills Mafia will scream for his release. For now, here’s hoping that the kid has a monster preseason and shakes off the criticism.
Benjamin Isn’t a #1 Receiver: +500
Okay, now this one cracks me up. Benjamin was traded to the Bills during the 2017 season from the Carolina Panthers. Prior to his trade, Benjamin was the team’s top receiver. Unfortunately, after he came to the Bills, Kelvin suffered a knee injury and only played a handful of games.
Benjamin has been injury-prone in his 4-year career. He missed all of 2015 with a knee injury and didn’t have as dominant of a year in 2016 as he did in his rookie year (2014).
I’ve read and heard many Bills fans complaining that Benjamin isn’t a true #1 receiver. Despite playing for two teams last season and having a knee injury, Kelvin finished with 48 receptions for 692 total yards and 3 touchdowns. His best year was his rookie season when he tallied 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and 9 TDs.
What the critics need to realize is that Benjamin has played on two teams that weren’t known for their passing attacks. We already chronicled how bad the Bills’ passing offense was last year. However, Benjamin is a physical beast at 6’5” and 250 pounds. He can win the one-on-one battles and be a legit red-zone threat, provided he has a quarterback that can get him the ball and an offensive coordinator who will get KB targets.
With all of that being said, if Kelvin Benjamin isn’t on pace to crack 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns for the year, you can bet the Bills fans will argue that KB isn’t a #1 receiver and is not worth the money.
Should’ve Traded for OBJ: +750
There’s no denying that Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best wide receivers in the game. There’s also no denying that he’s one of the biggest divas in the game. And that attitude has put a huge strain on his relationship with the New York Giants. Currently, the two sides are having a lover’s quarrel, as OBJ wants a new contract, and the Giants aren’t quite ready to hand the emotional receiver a massive deal. With the tensions high between the two sides, the Giants are open to trade offers, as they’re reportedly asking for at least 2 first-round draft picks for OBJ.
Although most pundits believe that the two sides will work things out, there are some teams sniffing around and considering the steep price tag. The Buffalo Bills could really improve their offense if they were to add the WR. With Benjamin and Beckham, the Bills would have an impressive duo of receivers that would rival any other pairing in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Bills Mafia, I don’t see the front office paying that price tag. And when the offense sputters at times during the regular season, you can expect to hear fans complain about how the Bills didn’t go get OBJ.
Should’ve Traded Up to #1 in the Draft: +1000
Heading into the draft, the Bills are the wild card that everyone is keeping their eyes on. After all of their wheeling and dealing, Buffalo currently sits with 2 first-round picks: #12 and #22. Most so-called draft experts believe that Buffalo will jump up into the top 5 and get their franchise QB. In fact, many NFL reporters have the Bills trading with the Giants at #2. There’s even a minority of Bills fans wanting the team to trade with the Cleveland Browns for the top spot in the draft.
The Jets traded from #6 to #3 and gave up three 2nd-round draft picks to do so. By all accounts, the Bills would have to trade both 1st-round picks, a 2nd-round pick, a 3rd-round pick, and possibly their 1st-round pick next year just to move up from #12 to #1. In my opinion, that’s too steep of a price. But you can certainly bet that there will be some fans complaining this season that the Bills didn’t do enough to get the best QB in the draft.
Fire McDermott and Bring Back Rex: +10,000
If the Bills take a step back and aren’t in playoff contention by the end of the season, there will be disgruntled members of the Bills Mafia. In fact, I can see them calling for the firing of Sean McDermott. But would they go as far as calling for the return of “Sexy Rexy?”
McDermott and Beane have changed the culture in Buffalo and with the fanbase. In my opinion, last season’s playoff appearance bought them at least two more years. However, I’ve already heard some grumbles from Bills fans over McDermott and Beane focusing too much on the defense and not doing enough with the offense. And where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
In this case, I can imagine that if the Bills take a step back due to poor defensive play, there will be many Bills fans directing their frustrations toward McDermott and wanting him fired. But would they actually call for the return of Rex Ryan? It’s a longshot, and that’s why the odds are set accordingly.