Since 1960, only four NFL teams have been held without a victory for an entire season.
Thanks to a 37-34 overtime loss to the Ravens on Sunday, the Buffalo Bills are in real danger of becoming the fifth.
After a pedestrian 2009 season that saw the Bills finish 6-10, Buffalo was not expected to be much of a factor in the AFC East this year. The Patriots and Jets were both considered powerhouses coming into the season, and the Dolphins have been widely acknowledged as a young team on the rise.
But while few people who don’t inhabit northwest New York imagined the Bills would be a playoff team this year, it’s unlikely that many thought they would be quite this bad either.
The Bills are a bad offensive team, ranking 28th in yards per game, 19th in points per game, and 27th in third down-percentage. Trent Edwards, who began the season as the Bills’ starting quarterback, was released after a Week 3 loss to the Patriots, and Marshawn Lynch, who was supposed to be the team’s No. 1 running back, was dealt to the Seahawks for draft picks.
Defensively, the Bills are even worse. They’ve allowed 33 points per game — the most in the league through Week 7 — and have allowed the fifth-most yards per game as well. Aside from safety Donte Whitner, they lack any true playmakers, and they feature an aging and ineffective defensive line.
Unfortunately for the Bills, their schedule doesn’t provide them with many promising opportunities to break their losing streak. Their best opportunities will come in Week 10 against the Lions and Week 14 against the Browns, but each of those teams has already won at least one game this season, and they both feature improving young rosters.
Instead, the Bills will likely have to rely on an upset if they hope to avoid going 0-16. Perhaps a powerhouse team such as the Steelers or Jets will overlook Buffalo, as the Ravens may have been guilty of on Sunday. The Bills do have a few promising offensive players in Steve Johnson and C.J. Spiller, to go along with a secondary capable of nabbing their share of interceptions.
The Detroit Lions are the only team to go 0-16 in a season, accomplishing that impressive feat of futility in 2008. The Buccaneers went 0-14 in their inaugural season in 1976, and the Cowboys went 0-11-1 in their first season in 1960. The Baltimore Colts also managed to go winless once, as they finished 0-8-1 in the strike-shortened season of 1982.
The 2010 Bills will undoubtedly try their hardest to avoid adding their name to that list. But unless they catch a few lucky breaks, they’ll likely be picking first in the NFL draft next April.