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[BN] Blitz newsletter: With Peterman at QB, ESPN's FPI ranks Bills as worst team in NFL

Bills coach Sean McDermott announced Monday that second-year quarterback Nathan Peterman will start Sunday's season-opener against the Ravens. First-round pick Josh Allen will open the year on the sideline.

Peterman looked good in the preseason, completing 80.5 percent of his passes for 10.5 yards per attempt, but naming him the starter didn't win the Bills any points with ESPN's prognostication system. The company's "Football Power Index," which predicts teams' offensive, defensive and special teams value using expected points added, downgraded the Bills to the worst team in the NFL with Peterman under center.

“Nate has earned the right” to start, coach Sean McDermott said. “I thought his total body of work, all the way back from the spring through the summer and fall camp to this point, he has certainly earned the right.”

How long will Peterman remain the starter? That much is up to him. Allen is expected to take over at some point, but Peterman can prolong his play time with solid performances. Right now, nothing appears set beyond Week 1.

You're free to disagree with ESPN's projections, but the sentiment should give you an idea of what to really expect from this year's Bills. They traded away a capable-if-uninspiring quarterback and are now starting his backup, who will throw to the league's worst receiving corps and will be protected by an offensive line that got its starting QB injured in consecutive preseason games. They have a new offensive coordinator who seems to get it and a star running back who doesn't appear to be slowing down at 30, but reasons for optimism don't go much further beyond that.

Gaughan: Let Peterman navigate brutal opening stretch: Mark Gaughan makes the point that while Peterman is merely keeping the seat warm for Allen, letting Peterman start has the added benefit of not sending a rookie quarterback out to face some of the league's best defenses, which the Bills play early in the schedule. After the Ravens, the Bills face the Chargers and Vikings, which were third and second, respectively, in the league in passing yards allowed in 2017.

Carucci: Bills traveled bold road with Allen until the moment of truth: The Bills could've went all-in on their bold move of drafting Allen by starting him Week 1, but they instead opted for the more methodical approach, Carucci wrote.

Allen doesn't see failure to earn starting job as a setback: McDermott said that Allen's development remains "on schedule" despite not winning the job out of camp. Allen will run the scout team in practice this week.


What He Said: See what Peterman had to say about being named the starting QB and check out the Twitter reaction.

17 prop bets to consider for the 2018 Bills season: Jay Skurski and WNY native Joel Staniszewski, a Vegas handicapper, talked through some made-up 2018 Bills prop bets. They included one I've been asking people for months: Who wins more games in 2018, the Bills or the Browns? Might have leaned Browns if the line was big enough.

Groy wins center job: One of the biggest battles in Bills camp outside of the quarterback competition was the competition for the center position. Ryan Groy beat out free-agent signee Russell Bodine, McDermott said Monday. The starting cornerback spot opposite Tre'Davious White, however, remains opens. Vontae Davis failed to lock down the spot this summer.

New Bills punter Corey Bojorquez getting up to speed in short order: It turns out the Bills really didn't want Colton Schmidt back. “I thought I was going to end up on (New England's) practice squad, hopefully,” Bojorquez said after not making a single punt in a preseason game. “Not playing in the preseason, I thought, you know, there's no way a team is going to pick me up.”

What Raiders coach Jon Gruden said about acquiring AJ McCarron: I'll tell ya what, that fourth-quarter comeback in the last preseason game was wild, man. ... OK, I made that one up. See Gruden's actual quotes here.

Bills to work out free-agent QB Paxton Lynch: Lynch, a former first-round pick, was cut by the Broncos. The Bills only have two quarterbacks on the roster, so they will give him a workout.

Bills add two linemen to practice squad: The practice squad is now complete at 10 players.


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