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ESPN predicts Buffalo headed to playoffs

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' playoff prospects have been a topic of discussion lately at ESPN.

ESPN polled 22 analysts about the five teams that will make the playoffs this year after not getting in last year. The Bills were a consensus pick to qualify for the tournament.

Herm Edwards likes what the Bills have done to address their defensive shortcomings and is high on Bills head coach Chan Gailey's offensive system. Edwards was Kansas City Chiefs head coach when Gailey was offensive coordinator.

"The Buffalo Bills, with their schedule, they have a chance to maybe win nine games and get into the playoffs," Edwards said on "SportsCenter." Edwards ranked the Bills ahead of the New York Jets in the AFC East.

Edwards called Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick "more like a point guard in basketball" because "he's a distributor of the football" who got sacked only 23 times last year.

"Right now, the Bills have an edge offensively in this sense: They've been together now," Edwards said. "The Jets are coming with a new offense. They want to run the ground and pound. That's fine, but you still have to be able to throw the football.

"This is what the Buffalo Bills are able to do. They can throw the ball. They put you in space. They run a lot of shotgun, spread offense. They have skill players that can catch and run."

In an "NFL Live" segment, ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth joined Edwards for some additional Bills playoff talk. Schlereth said the real Bills are more like the team that started the season 5-2 than the one that lost eight of its last nine games.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |