Steelers vs. Bills: 5 questions with Buffalo Down


The Steelers headed north to take on the Buffalo Bills for their fourth preseason game of the year. The Steelers are 1-2 so far in the preseason and the Bills are 1-1. Coach Tomlin promised to treat this game as close to the regular season as possible and the starters are expected to play into the third quarter.

It has been a tumultuous week for the Steelers both on and off the field dealing with injuries, suspensions and controversial teammates. To get some intel on the Bills I went to Paul Taylor, Editor of FanSided’s Buffalo Bill’s site, Buffalo Down.

Paul gives us what to expect out of the Bills for the regular-season dress rehearsal preseason game.

What are Bills fans expecting from Rex Ryan this season?

Bills fans will be expecting Ryan to take their defense to the next level. In that respect, he does have one heck of a pedigree (last year with the 4-12 Jets, they still finished with the NFL’s sixth-best defense).

Buffalo’s defense was tremendous last season, even making the likes of Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers look like mere mortals, on the way to finishing with the fourth-best defense in the league. With Rex now at the controls, fans will be looking for the team to at least match, if not exceed this in 2015.

Overall, Bills fans are just expecting an enjoyable ride with Ryan as their head coach. In all honesty, his “act” appears to be a better match for Western New York, compared to his previously situation.

What is the quarterback situation? Does Matt Cassel inspire confidence? Are fans done with E.J. Manuel?

Your guess is as good as mine in respect of the quarterback situation. Every day there’s a new theory on who will start opening day against the Colts.

Ryan has admitted that he won’t name his starter until the last possible moment. He’s effectively trying to gain any competitive edge he can.

Having said that, there was one recent report that the Bills are split on who to start, with Ryan wanting Tyrod Taylor and the rest of the coaching staff preferring Matt Cassel. If…IF…this is true, then Taylor will be under center for the home opener, because Ryan will have the final word.

The Bills have their own controversial signing with IK Enemkpali, what is the fan perspective on him as an addition to the team?

Truthfully, I don’t believe Bills fans are that bothered. If anything, they have just been amused by the whole situation, after what happened with Geno Smith and the New York Jets (possibly one of the few teams with a comparably unfavorable quarterback situation). 

It’s possible that the fans are just immune to any controversial moves now. Keep in mind, the Bills had already brought in Percy Harvin and Richie Incognito, before the arrival of Enemkpali.

On top of that, Buffalo has the longest current streak in the NFL, without a playoff appearance (currently standing at 15 seasons). At this point, I think the fans will accept anything if it helps the team, i.e. do whatever it takes to return to the postseason.

I’ve been a LeSean McCoy fan since his days at Pitt, do you think he’ll be running with a chip on his shoulder this season trying to prove the Eagle’s wrong in trading him? 

Jul 31, 2015; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) in a drill during training camp at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

You pretty much answered the question for me there! Yes, McCoy is going to run angry this season, to try to show the Eagles they made a big mistake.

McCoy is definitely the key to the offense. If he can have anything close to the 2013 season, when he led the league in rushing, this will take a lot of pressure off of whoever starts at quarterback.

However, one factor which could compromise his productivity, is the offensive line, which is the other concern on the roster after a poor showing last year. The addition of Incognito helps, and John Miller looks like a decent addition from this year’s draft, but it will be interesting to see how the unit gels on the field.

What’s the Bills outlook for the season?

Unfortunately, I can’t offer much variety on what’s already been said. The defense should be dominant again, and the offense will emphasize a run-heavy scheme.

The key will be what type of play the Bills get from the quarterback position. Any type of consistency may be just enough to get this team over the hump, especially when you consider their favorable schedule.

Ironically, the biggest threat to their postseason chances will likely come from within their own division. The Patriots are going to win the AFC East (again), meaning the Bill will likely be involved in a dogfight with the Dolphins for second place, and a better chance of securing that elusive playoff spot.

If I had to make a prediction at this point – which I’m loathe to do – I reckon Buffalo will go 10-6. However, I have this sneaking suspicion that even that won’t be enough to make the playoffs. 

Find my answers to Paul’s questions right here.

Here’s to a good game with no injuries! Here we go Steelers! Here we go!

Next: Steelers Madden Manifesto

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