I'm sure it's small consolation to suffering Bills fans. But while you're lamenting the team's wretched defensive numbers this season, you can take some comfort in the fact that there's actually someone worse.
The Bills are currently 31st in four major defensive categories in the latest NFL team statistics: Total defense (417.9 yards per game); yards per pass attempt (7.81); rushing yards allowed (169.5) and points allowed (30.13).
Thanks heavens for the Saints! New Orleans has given up a staggering 471.3 yards a game, well ahead of the standard for yardage allowed by the 1981 Colts (424.5 yards). The Saints are also last in yards per pass attempt against (8.24) and rushing yards allowed (176.5).
Somehow, the Saints have managed to allow only 229 points, tied for 28th. Tennessee has allowed the most points in the league with 308 in nine games. That's on pace to break the league record for points allowed. Those '81 Colts gave up 533 points.
The Bills, by the way, are on pace to break the team record for yards allowed (5,938), which they set a year ago. At their current rate, they would allow 6,686, shattering last year's mark. Good thing they paid all that money to Mario Williams.
After the first New England game, Mario Williams lamented the fact that most of the Patriots' running plays went away from him -- to their left. I asked afterwards why the coaches couldn't shift him to the right once in awhile. After all, he moved around a lot when he was in Houston. Well, don't be surprised if the Bills do some of that in the rematch this Sunday at New England.
During Wednesday's interview session at his locker, I asked Williams if he might move to the right side at all this weekend. He said he's definitely up for it after having his minor wrist surgery.
"After the procedure with my wrist, I feel more comfortable about not being single-handed," he said. "So definitely, I'm looking to move around and switch it up a little bit. I moved around my whole career. I had always flipped around until this year. That's what I'm used to."
I asked coach Chan Gailey if he might consider flipping Williams to the right side to deal with the Pats' tendency to run left. "Maybe," Gailey said. "We might see that. Yeah."
Some Bills fans see a conspiracy around every corner. I generally dismiss them. But when you look at the Bills' recent schedule, it's enough to make you think someone in the NFL office doesn't like them.
Starting with the Arizona game, the Bills face four straight opponents coming off extra rest. The Cardinals played on a Thursday before hosting the Bills, which gave them 10 days between games. Tennessee also played the Bills after a Thursday game. Houston is coming off a bye, same as the Bills. That's a wash, but the Bills won't get the advantage that comes from playing a team that didn't also have a bye -- like New England, which will host the Bills the week after resting this week on a bye.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked about the schedule-makers and, naturally, avoided making any inflammatory comments. "I mean, I don't know," Fitz said. "It's something I was aware of, but I guess that's for you to write about, because we have no control over that."
The Bills do have one game with extra rest this season. They host Miami on Thursday night after the game in New England. So they'll have 10 days after that to get ready for a Week 11 game in Indianapolis against a Colts team that will have the usual seven days rest after playing the previous Sunday.
Normally, I'm not one for "must-win" games. Back in 2004, I wrote the Bills off at 3-6 and they reeled off six straight wins to get back in the playoff hunt. But I'll make an exception here. If the Bills have any intention of being a playoff contender, they simply have to beat the Titans at the Ralph this Sunday.
It's a down year in the AFC. You have to beat the bad teams at home. And make no mistake, Tennessee is a bad team. The Titans are weak on both lines of scrimmage. They're last in the NFL in rushing, 26th in yards per pass, 30th in total defense and last in points allowed (the Bills are 31st).
Spare me all the talk about gut checks and character in the desert last weekend. The Bills' defense is supposed to shut down the bad teams. They should dominate the Titans. Chris Johnson has rushed for under 25 yards in four different games already. In 108 touches, he doesn't have a single play of 20 yards or more.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who hasn't beaten a good quarterback in more than a year, merely needs to outplay 37-year-old journeyman Matt Hasselbeck, who has an unremarkable group of receivers and can't beat teams down the field. Chan Gailey is losing faith in Fitz's ability to throw the ball down the middle. Fitz shouldn't need to win this game on his own. But he can't be the reason they lose it, either.
A win won't validate the Bills as a contender. They're a long way from that after their humiliating two-game skid against New England and San Francisco. But beating the Titans will give them a little momentum before the bye, and time to fix things before the two-game trip to Houston and New England. A loss would be a very disturbing sign. It would confirm them as a fraud.
Just a reminder: I'll be chatting live tomorrow from The News at 1 p.m. I'm assuming it'll be Tim Graham and me on video for the first 30 minutes or so, then I'll move over to print extravaganza soon after. Hope to chat with you then.
Note: Due to audio difficulties, the beginning of the chat is unavailable.
News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan was joined by Tim Graham for a video chat with both answering your questions directly into the camera. Sully had to be at One Bills Drive to interview assistant coaches this afternoon, so there was not a traditional live chat this week.
NOTE: The first 10 minutes of the video chat were not recorded due to technical problems.