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Bills in Pro Bowl voting

Bills players aren't getting much love in the Pro Bowl fan voting.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is fifth among AFC quarterbacks behind, in order, New England's Tom Brady, Indianapolis' Peyton Manning, San Diego's Philip Rivers and Jacksonville's David Garrard. Some Bills fans might scoff at Garrard being ahead of Fitzpatrick, but Garrard does have the Jaguars in first place in the AFC South.

The only other Bill in the top five at their position is rookie C.J. Spiller, who is third among AFC kick returners but a distant third behind Josh Cribbs of Cleveland and Brandon Tate of New England.

Nose tackle Kyle Williams, wide receiver Stevie Johnson and running back Fred Jackson are well behind the top vote-getters at their positions.

None of these results are a surprise given the Bills' 3-10 record and limited national following. Fans account for one-third of the final Pro Bowl voting, while players and coaches get the other two-thirds.

Fan voting isn't a true barometer of whether a player gets invited to the Pro Bowl. The players and coaches have a bigger say in who goes, as it should be. But the Bills are still a long shot to have someone get their ticket to Hawaii punched.

Brady, Manning and Rivers are locks as the Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Cribbs will go again as the return man even if his numbers this season aren't up to his usual standards.

Williams is an interesting case. Without a doubt, he is having the best year of his career and a lot of teams the Bills have faced were effusive in their praise of his play. But it's hard to see a guy on the worst run defense in the NFL going to the Pro Bowl, even if he's one of its few bright spots. Williams also is at a strong position with Baltimore's Haloti Ngata, New England's Vince Wilfork, Oakland's Richard Seymour and Pittsburgh's Casey Hampton having good seasons and already have Pro Bowl appearances on their resumes.

Johnson is having a break-out season, but it probably won't be enough to breakthrough the receiver logjam that includes Houston's Andre Johnson, Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne, Baltimore's Anquan Boldin and New England's Wes Welker. Even Cincinnati's Terrell Owens will get his share of votes from his peers.

Houston's Arian Foster and Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew are sure to go at running back, so Jackson would have to get more votes than Tennessee's Chris Johnson and Cleveland's Peyton Hillis. That's not likely to happen.

Fan voting concludes on Monday.

---Allen Wilson

 

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Bills | NFL
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