2011 Record: 6-10 (4th, AFC East)
Projected 2012 Record: 9-7 (Tied, 2nd AFC East)
Key Arrivals: QB Vince Young, DE Mark Anderson, DE Mario Williams
Key Departures: CB Drayton Florence, OT Demetrius Bell, WR Roscoe Parrish
Nothing can ever be said to justify losing 7 straight games (and 8 of your final 9), which is what the 2011 Bills managed to do after starting the season 5-3. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick started strong, but finished incredibly weak. He finished the season with the most interceptions in the league (23), but threw for almost 4000 yards and had 24 TDs to show for it. RB Fred Jackson will return after going down mid-season, and hopes to duplicate the success he had in 2011, rushing for 934 yards in 10 appearances. QB Vince Young comes in to backup Fitz should he go down with an injury or continue to struggle.
On defense the Bills have lost CB Drayton Florence, who was part of a defense that was 6th in the league in terms of interceptions. In order to replace him the Bills have drafted CB Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks, he’ll join a secondary with Leodis McKelvin, Jarius Byrd, and Terrance McGee. The Bills excelled at creating turnovers, and they gained even more strength up front by bringing in DE Mark Anderson from New England and Mario Williams from Houston. They’ll add to a frontline that already includes Alex Carrington, Chris Kelsay and Marcell Dareus, meaning the Bills defense will be dangerous, but all this means nothing if they can’t fix their rushing problems (allowed 139 ypg). The secondary still has to get better at all-around coverage as well, as they took a lot of gambles last season that never paid off, after-all, they ranked 19th against the pass.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will be key in the Bills attempt to right what went wrong last year: keep the turnovers down and everything will be okay, but if he slips back into late 2011 form he’ll find himself out of a job and the Bills will once again be left out in the cold.