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Bills have a dozen reasons for optimism

Are you searching your brain trying to think of "it's always darkest before the dawn" reasons why the Bills might score a couple of offensive touchdowns and make it a competitive game against the Patriots on Monday night? Me, too.

1. It's only an 11-point spread.

2. Judging from the NFL opener between the Steelers and Titans in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, maybe offensive touchdowns have become a thing of the past for the pros.

3. The Buffalo defense looked pretty good in the preseason games. Maybe the Patriots could be coaxed into a boring game in which anything could happen.

4. There is a serious question whether New England's super quarterback, Tom Brady, is completely healthy.

5. The Pats have had a great many changeovers (however, the leftovers are intimidating).

6. Bill Belichick proved once again that he is not a sentimental coach by trading defensive end Richard Seymour, once an essential plank in his championship teams, with an eye to quickly building another Super Bowl era with the draft choices he has accumulated (However, the Patriots could waltz through the AFC East with what they have on hand).

7. The Bills' young offensive line is still making acquaintance with one another but maybe the new, simplified offensive game plans will make them competitive -- although that improvement could take until Halloween to bear fruit.

8. Could be that Terrell Owens' rust will be shaken off Monday night even though he hasn't played a game in a month.

9. Maybe his week of rest means quarterback Trent Edwards' composure has been healed enough so that when T.O. gets open downfield Edwards won't bounce a pass five feet in front of him as he did to Lee Evans against Pittsburgh two weeks ago.

10. Aaron Maybin, the No. 1 draft choice, looked promising in the final preseason games, as did pro sophomore Chris Ellis, so maybe when Brady drops back to pass he won't appear as if he's reclining in an easy chair.

11. New England's defensive backfield is reportedly among Belichick's worries, so this might be the time to resurrect the tight end as one of Buffalo's serious weapons in the passing game.

12. Considering all the late changes made by the Bills, maybe coach Dick Jauron will be wearing a new game-management cap.

Prediction: Reality overcomes hope -- Pats 27, Bills 10.

Larry Felser, former News columnist,
appears in Sunday's editions.1

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