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SEP 02- SEP 09, 2014

Long Odds on Bills Suggests Vegas Knows the Score

By Tony Farina

September 02, 2014

E. J. Manuel

If you are feeling extremely lucky right now before the season officially opens on Sunday, you could plunk down a few bucks on the Buffalo Bills to win the Super Bowl and you could become a millionaire. That is of course if the Bills shock the sports world and the Vegas oddsmakers and bring home the Lombardi Trophy.

You won't get rich betting Denver at odds of 6 to 1 or Seattle at 13 – 2, but the Bills are fourth from the bottom at 100 to 1 according to the latest Vegas odds.

If you've been tuned in at all to the woeful pre-season performance of the Bills (1 – 4) and their "franchise" quarterback, E. J. Manuel, you might think 100 to 1 is not long enough. As most of you reading this know, Manuel and company couldn't score a touchdown in five games against first team defenders.

While the future of the team off the field is still uncertain, the Bills look barely capable of reaching six wins again and the playoffs seem like a pipe dream. While fans may have been distracted a bit by the current ownership bidding war and the future home of the franchise, nothing much seems to have changed on the field. The Bills look like a cinch to extend the league's longest active playoff drought.

The brain trust put everything into E. J. Manuel last year as the quarterback savior of this franchise, but so far he has been a bust. He has looked lost and is playing like the quarterback that other teams had ranked much lower than the Orchard Park wizards who saw something in him that nobody else did. It looks like they were wrong again.

Never mind the off-the-field talk about needing a new stadium to keep the league owners happy because the old Ralph doesn't generate enough revenue to keep the owners happy. The rejuvenated old stadium, thanks mostly to public money, would be overflowing with fans if the Bills were a good team. They are not, and people are getting tired of paying big bucks, at least in terms of this community, and braving subzero temperatures for a team that simply appears outgunned.

Teams like Denver, Dallas, Seattle, and the Giants fill stadiums because they have teams that are in the mix, fighting for a playoff berth and hoping to get a shot at a Super Bowl. Frankly, that's not the case with the Buffalo Bills who have gone 14 straight years missing the playoffs.

When will it end? It doesn't look like this will be the year and with no franchise quarterback in sight it may be many more years before this team is competitive.

The best move may have come a few days ago when they signed journeyman signal caller Kyle Orton to back up Manuel in case he gets hurt or continues to play like a guy who is in over his head. Orton is nothing special, given his history, but he might be better than Manuel.

For the Bills' front office and staff, including head coach Doug Marrone, another 6 and 10 season or worse should be enough for whoever winds up owning the team. These guys just don't seem to be able to field a winner. Buffalo and Western New York may be making some progress, but unfortunately most of the nation only sees the Buffalo Bills and snow, and neither is very appealing.





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