Hey, what is up, Bills Mafia? Welcome in to another episode of the Buffalo Nerd, your home for Buffalo Bills football coverage with a charity on top. If this is your first time listening, welcome, thanks for being here. I’m glad you found me, glad you found us I should say because if you’ve also been listening, you’re part of the Nerd Mafia already. Thanks for being here as well. Welcome home, glad you’re back.

Super excited about today, because unless you’ve been under a rock, which I’m going to guess most of you haven’t been, some great things have happened. Today’s August 7th. It’s Saturday. I was going to record this yesterday, but then the Buffalo Bills went out and signed the Lord and Savior, Josh Allen, the franchise QB, QB1, whatever you would like to call him, he is going to be a Buffalo Bill for the next seven years. So, Hallelujah, praise little baby Jesus, whatever you have to do, make sure you do it because this is one of the greatest things that’s happened to this team in a very long time. Humble, couldn’t ask for something better.

But before we get into all that, because we’re going to. The reason I decided to go on a solo mission today for this episode is that much like the Bills will tend to do, you get the whole part of the season really it’s the state of the franchise, state of the Bills, you get to sit down and ask the GM questions, and all that stuff. Well, this is going to be the state of the Nerd because of football’s back. It started on Thursday. We got to see the Steel Curtain play against the Cowgirls of Dallas. It was exciting, the Hall of Fame game. So, it’s good to have football back. I wanted to take this time to set my bearings before we get into the season, highlight some things that are going to be coming up, make some announcements today about some exciting things that have taken place already, and kind of state where I am with the AFC and what I think we might actually see happen this season. So, I’m pretty excited about this. Feels weird not having somebody on the other side that answers the questions that I have. I’m going to have to answer myself today.

But the biggest thing that I wanted to start out with, which I think is pretty cool personally, because that’s why I started this thing was, every week we do highlight a charity. We are up to over 25 charities so far this year that we’ve been able to highlight. We will be highlighting a charity again today. But before we do that, I wanted to announce that we’re taking it a step further, and we’ve actually started a nonprofit, the Buffalo Nerd Gifts. You head over to the Buffalo Nerd website. There’s a way that you can donate there to the nonprofit. Any proceeds that come in through that charitable donation will be sent over to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. As you might know, if you’ve been listening, that was where I started this whole journey. So, I wanted to highlight it for this year. You make a donation over there. It’s going to go to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Also, there are T-shirts over at the site that you pick up one of the T-shirts and $8 for every t-shirt going to head over to them as well.

But on top of that, some really exciting news has happened since we’ve got this thing going and the ball rolling on the nonprofit, is we’ve had some things donated already. We’re going to be doing some really cool giveaways coming up real soon. I’m not going to spill the beans on everything, because it’s going to actually be pretty exciting. I think it’s cool. It’s a passion thing of mine that I’ve wanted to do for a while we’re getting it going and hopefully, everybody else is going to get to enjoy it too, and hopefully, we’re going to raise some money for some pretty awesome causes. We’re going to be doing some cool donation raffles and type things this season. I think you guys are really going to enjoy the prizes that we have and things like that. So, it’s going to be pretty awesome and epic and I’m stoked especially because we’ve got a phenomenal football team right now. So, I think the Bills Mafia is going to be fired up, excited, and we’re going to see this community really get together, and help each other out, and I want to be part of that. The Buffalo Nerd Gifts is going to be part of that. So, I’ll be on the lookout for that stuff as we get a little closer to the season, if you’re listening, you’ll know all about it. So, no big deal.

So, kind of that kick things off of where I wanted to take it as far as that, but the other really awesome piece of this season is actually the Buffalo Nerd is joining a network. I was asked to join a network and be part of a cool thing. Starting this season as of September, technically as of now, the Buffalo Nerd is part of TPPN, which is The Pig Skin Podcast Network. You can find it over everywhere TPPN, everything’s already out there and get going. It’s a pretty awesome network. It’s going to be a network of almost one podcast per NFL team. If you want to jump around and see what’s going on, whoever the Bills are going to be playing, go listen to their guys, see what they’re saying about us, all that stuff. So, that’s going to be kicking off on September 1st. I’m pretty excited. I’ve been chatting it up with a bunch of other fans in the background already. They’re running their shows. Pretty excited about that. TPPN is going to be the future home of the Buffalo Nerd moving forward. So, exciting times. Josh Allen signing deals, Buffalo nerd signing deals too, I guess.

But like we do every week on the Buffalo Nerd, we are going to highlight it as charity. We’re not going to drop that just because it’s me, and I already have my charity, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation that I talk about quite a bit on the show and stuff. Because the Buffalo community is out there, I think like I mentioned, today is Saturday, August 7th, and some of you might actually be at the stadium right now watching the team practice, enjoying it around all the other Mafia members. So, I wanted to pick something that was going to be for in the backyard of Buffalo. So, I chose Aspire of Western New York to highlight this week. Very cool organization really aligns with what I’m all about, and trying to highlight mostly with the cerebral palsy stuff is it is for adults and children with developmental disabilities. Very cool stuff. It’s just all about helping these folks. If it’s a walker, it’s a brace, it’s something that’s just going to help improve their way of life and help them get around or be mobile more, or just help them do the day-to-day stuff that’s a challenge. So, Aspire of Western New York, I think it’s an awesome organization. I believe that they’ve been in business for over 75 years helping out in the Western New York area. When I came across them, I thought they were an organization that I would be thrilled to be able to shout out, chat up a little bit, share with you guys, the Nerd Mafia out there, and if you guys go check them out there at aspirewny.org.

The other reason that I wanted to talk about them a little bit today is that I just mentioned the giveaways that are going to be coming up with the Buffalo Nerd. The first giveaway of the season is going to actually– all the proceeds for that giveaway are going to get donated to Aspire of Western New York. So, very excited about that. Hoping it’s going to be a really cool cause, not a cool cause, but that everything works out great, and we get to money together, and somebody gets a really cool prize, and on top of that, we get to help out this really incredible organization of Aspire of Western New York. Like I said, head over to aspirewny.org. That’s where you can pretty much find them. It’s got all their resources in there. If you think somebody might need them, also if you just want to find out more or make a donation to them right now, nothing stopping you from doing that.

I’m excited. Bill’s mafia. I hope it sounds that way because I don’t always sound that way, but I am incredibly excited about what just took place. We’ve been sitting here just going through quarterback after the quarterback, after quarterback for just forever. It feels like eternities. I feel like, “Well, I don’t even want to go down that road anymore.” As of yesterday, the Buffalo Bills signed Josh Allen to a six-year $258 million contract. Sit on that for a second. For one, as a Bills fan, we don’t really spend that money. In the past, that’s not something that we would typically do. I think that tells you what we’ve got here. I couldn’t be more than stoked. I think that he is just at the beginning of what he could potentially be, and even if this is what he’s going to be, and this is what he’s going to be throughout his career, thank you very much. Glad we signed him for seven more years, six years on this deal with the current deal he is on.

The other piece of this that I really, really like is that it wasn’t a 10-year deal. I was really anti the Mahomes’ deal. It feels like your market value is going to be down. In the last half of his contract, he can potentially be paid the middle of the pack quarterbacks. Granted, they can redo deals and all that stuff, but I really thought the Bills would do the best service of Josh Allen with a five-year deal. The six-year deal with almost after two years, plenty of options to move and groove, it just makes so much sense. He’ll be in his early 30s, and he can get paid again. We’re seeing guys play into their 40s now. So, there’s nothing that says that he’s not going to be able to do that either.

Huge payday. It couldn’t have been to a better guy. If you want to talk about a story of just resilience, and finding your way, never giving up, just doing exactly what you want and making it happen, it just happened before our eyes. He’s going to be the second-highest-paid quarterback in the league. That’s incredible. From Firebaugh, little, small farming town out here in California where I’m at, and everybody knows his story about how hard it was for him to get to where he was. Just incredible. It was really, really nice for a couple of other reasons, I thought. I liked how they approached it saying that, “Look, if we can’t get this done, we’re just going to table it because we’re here to play football,” and I liked that we got it done. Because now we can just play football, he can get all of his interviews and all that stuff out of the way here in the ladder of training camp, in preseason games, and then, we can move on. Because like he said yesterday, it’s time to win championships and I think that it is. This team is built to potentially win a title this year. I don’t think that it’s a farfetched idea anymore for us as Bills Mafia to go into the season thinking we are a title contender. Yes, there are always things that we can improve on, but this is a title contender right now, I think. I would think that most of you would agree with me out there that this is a title contender.

The other piece of this, which I think is awesome, because there was some previous news that had come out about the Bills, “Hey, we’re going to get a new stadium,” is how it started. It sounded really great. Like, “Yeah, there’s going to be this awesome new stadium.” As Bills fans, it’s like, “Cool, that’s great. We know that we want a new stadium. The Bills are going to stick around if there’s a new stadium. So, why wouldn’t we want those things?” And then, came out the kick of it’s going to cost $1.5 billion, and we want the taxpayers to pay for it. So, that was a big kick to the face. To me, it’s just hearsay type of stuff, and this is how the game is played. But eventually, this is going to come to light that the taxpayers are probably going to have to be part of how this is funded, if we want the Buffalo Bills to be the Buffalo Bills. As of right now, there’s been so many multiple different stories about it. I think this is just the beginning, and we’ll see this, hopefully, not really mess with the season, because if it does get into the season and start being talked about all the time, that would be super annoying. But with this deal that we just signed, part of me feels like Josh Allen wouldn’t sign this deal if there wasn’t some talk about the Buffalo Bills are going to be here, like I’m signing up to be a Buffalo Bill for these six years plus the current year.

Yes. He’s got to take his payday and he needs a contract. So, there is that piece of it. But I feel just the way he is, and the way that Beane is, and the way that everybody else is, and the way that the Pegulas have been, that his team is supposed to be in Buffalo, and that’s where it should stay. It was very cool to have some incredibly awesome news come out to just shadow all of that nonsense for right now. Because for me, when I heard it, I’m like, “Yeah, that’s terrible. It’s stupid, but this is the stuff that happens,” but this team is so freaking good. Why should we care where they’re going to play in the future right now? I just want to watch them win in their current stadium this year when we can because it’s here, it’s now, and it’s possible. I’m excited. I think everybody in the Mafia is excited.

I see 18,000 or so was the number that is in the stadium today. This is practices, we’ve got 18,000. We got incredible football players right now, Stefon Diggs, Josh Allen. These guys are hanging out thrown with the fans. You can see that the cornerbacks come out as just this gang of people. It just feels incredible what’s taking place in Buffalo right now, and I’m in Sacramento, and you can feel it because as a Bills fan, you get it. You just know what’s taking place right now, and you can feel the energies building and this feels like those 90s years. I grew up in those years. It feels like those years where it was just, you knew you had a winner, and you can win at any given time, and that’s how I feel we are right now.

The other part of it is because looking around the landscape of the league, I wanted to get into this a little bit because I want to at least stake my claim of where I stand on the AFC, so when it goes terribly wrong this season and I’m way off, people can come back and tell me that I’m an idiot, or never listen to me again. That’s fine. But if I’m spot on, I do want it on record. I also like to do this, because I actually like to do a little bit of the over/under stuff for season win totals. I like to look at this and I go through and decide if there’s some things that I’d like to get into. I did a breakdown of the AFC and why I believe we are going to be at the top the threshold of teams. I do think there are five to six teams that could compete this year and be at that level.

But before we really get into that, I think we got to start at the bottom. We’re not going to start at the top. We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up. I’ve got some teams in here that I know some people are going to be riled up, so, I came up with a little bit of a way to fight them off and we’ll do a little bit of that as we go through it. But this is just for me to announce where I stand. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. Let me know. Leave me a message. My email’s everywhere. My phone number’s on the website. You can call me and telling me that you don’t like it. I’m down for that. I just want to know that it’s out there, that this is the way the AFC is going to fall in my eyes.

Starting at the bottom, I think most people would agree because we don’t even know really who the quarterback is going to be. I imagine it’s going to be Tyrod Taylor, but I have the Texans as finishing dead last in the AFC this season. Just looking at their schedule, it is not even really worth it. There’s not much that I think they’re going to pull off, maybe a split with the Jaguars here and there. I only have them winning two games. I’m going to say that they’re going to go 2 and 15 on the season. That one could absolutely be wrong because as there are some of these teams here at the bottom, I do think that they could shift and they do play each other a couple of times and things of that nature. So, I think at this point in time, I’m just going to say it’s 2 and the Texans are at the bottom. If they somehow get to like third from the bottom, that’s fine too. I wouldn’t be disappointed with where I said they were today.

Secondly, it’s the Jets. I feel a little bad putting them there and I do see some potential in there that they could get a little bit higher than where I have them right now, but I don’t know enough about them, to be honest, and knowing that they are going to play New England, us twice, the Dolphins twice, it’s tough to get them to a lot of wins. So, I have them at 4 and 13 on the season, second to worst, and like I mentioned, they could be up. I could see them as a 6-win team as well. But as far as AFC East, they’re definitely the fourth best team. Right now, I think they’re looking at it, they got to play some tough teams, we got a tough division matchup this year. I got four wins for the Jets. They could flip flop here. I got 4 wins for the Jaguars as well at 4 and 13. Yes, he was great in college. He’s got weapons around him. He’s got a great couple good running backs. He’s got three good wide receivers, I think, in that building now. Trevor Lawrence could be phenomenal, but I need to see it to believe it and he’s got tough teams in his division and they’ve got a tough road ahead of them, too. They’re going to face us this year, too. I feel like they’re getting the Dolphins, they’re getting New England, they’re going to have a tough road. I’ve got them at 4 wins as well.

Next, this one’s where people are probably going to get pissed off first. It’s our home opening opponent. It’s the Steelers. I just don’t see this team as being good. They lost players on defense. I know they won 12 games last year, I’m just having a hard time seeing how they’re going to do it again. They’ve got a very tough schedule. I think they’re at 6 wins. I’ve got to Steelers at 6 and 11, and I’m just looking at matchups where they’ve got the Packers, they’ve got the Seahawks, the Browns, who I think are a great football team, the Bears could go either way. Chargers, Ravens twice, you’ve got the Titans, you’ve got the Chiefs, I’m having a hard time finding wins in their schedule is basically what it is for me at this point. So, I have them at 6 and 11.

I actually have another counterpart in their division at 6 and 11 as well in the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s just the same for them too. Their division with Baltimore and Cleveland in that division who I have is very highly ranked in my rankings, I have a hard time finding wins for these teams. And then, they have the other matchups where they are playing us and they’re playing the Dolphins, and New England and tougher teams. So, that Division I think is going to see a big dip this year. For me, I’ve been saying it since they’re four or five losing game streak at the end of the season that the Steelers were down in their depth, the quarterback position behind Ben Roethlisberger really leaves me believing that they might not make it. Bengals, just another year to grow. Joe Burrow might have a little bit of a slump this year. Reports aren’t sounding that great, I guess, right now. He’s got tons of talent around him offensively as far as the wide receivers go in the running back room. Just for me right now, I got to see more of it. If they get up to an eight-win team, it wouldn’t be totally shocked, but also, they’ve got a tough road ahead of them.

Next up, kind of my 500 teams, they could go either way. I got four of them packaged together. It starts with the Broncos. I’ve got them at 8 and 9. They’ve got just an interesting schedule. They play us and they’ve got the Chiefs, they’ve got the Chargers, they’ve got a tough road ahead of them. I do think there’s some wins in there and I think they’re a good football team defensively. Offensively, we’ll see. Their quarterback position is going to be up in the air at this point. So, it might be a little premature to say that they are going to win eight games.

Next is the Raiders. Same division, same thing. For me, the Raiders, they haven’t shown me they can keep it together yet. Something every offseason, they’re just all over the place. I like Derek Carr. I think he is a great quarterback. I’m not going to say great, but he’s a good quarterback and he can win football games. But I still think with the Chiefs, the Chargers and everybody else, they’re still going to find their way to a 500-football team. They made weird decisions in the offseason. They do have some good skill players, [unintelligible 00:19:34] over there now, John Brown, and I do think that they can be productive. Like I said they could flip flop. I’ve got them at 8 and 9. They might be a 9- and 8-win team. They’re in that middle pack for me.

This one, of course, will piss everybody off because they’ll just claim that it’s because I’m a Bills fan. But it’s the Patriots. I got them at 8 and 9. Mostly the reason I have them at 8 and 9, I actually believe that they will be a better football team this year despite the Cam Newton stuff and everything else. Their defense, they got some of their players back, did see that they lost their rookie linebacker today which is terrible news, torn ACL for him. So, I do think that their defense is going to be good though. My challenge here was that they have a tough schedule. That’s going to be the only piece for me. You got Saints, you’ve got Buccaneers, Cowboys yeah, whatever maybe. Chargers, Browns, you’ve got the Titans, you’ve got the Colts late in the season. So, they might be who knows where Dolphins twice, Bills twice. It’s just a tough schedule for me at this point in time with Cam Newton being a little unsure and the defense just getting back, they could potentially be a 9-win team, 10-win team if things go either way, because I do believe that they are going to be a much-improved team this year.

They could also pass this team that I have next, is the Colts at 9 and 8. The Colts for me, obviously, the quarterback situation changes things. I wasn’t super high on Carson Wentz, but I believe the rest of the team was enough for him to win with and like we’d seen in Philadelphia. If they do bring in Rivers to pad for game which is been a rumor floating around or whatever, maybe this changes, but if they don’t have Wentz, or Rivers, or somebody else besides who’s currently in the room, this team could possibly plummet way down unless the defense could really, really hold them up, which they should be able to for someone of this but I find it hard to believe that if they can’t have a quarterback and be productive offensively and they just lost their guard in Quenton Nelson for some games, this number can change. So, the Colts for me could also be a six-win team by the time this is all said and done.

Next up, and this is where the separation starts to take place for me, the Dolphins, I have them at 11 and 6. For me, I think they’re a good football team. It all hinges on Tua. I’m not big on the Alabama quarterback. I think anybody that listens to this knows that. But I do believe that they have a good football team, offensive weapons, defensively they’re good, great quarterbacks. I just think that this team can win 11 games, and there’ll be right there in the mix with us. I think they’re going to push and be real close to us this season, and we may even end up with a split with them at some point, even though we’ve owned them. This is the NFL. So, I got the Dolphins at 11 and 6.

Coming up next, actually, I should say this is where I really start to separate. I like the Titans. For me, they’ve just been doing it for consecutive years. Lost some guys on offense, lost some guys on defense, but they’ve kept their main pieces. They brought in Julio Jones. The Colts are off to a rough start already this season. The Texans are not looking good. The Jaguars are a question mark. So, the Titans have an easier road than a lot of other teams to get to some victories. Yes, they’ve got to go up against some of the big dogs. They play us, they play the Chiefs. So, they do have some games that are going to definitely be a challenge for them. But I got them around 11 wins again this season. If the Colts really do fall off real bad, it could be even lower than that.

This is where people might get a little upset. I’ve got the Ravens here at 5, and that means that I’ve got some other teams above them that people might not like, but I’ve got the Ravens at 12 and 5. Just looking, they’re a good football team again. They’ve got a tough– the Browns are in their division, and I haven’t said them yet. So, you obviously know that I’m choosing the Browns to win that division. But I do think the Ravens, they lost a little bit on defense, which I have some question marks about, but they tend to be able to make their way through that. So, they’re a good football team, they run the ball well, Lamar’s a good quarterback, they’ve got tons of ways to win, they’ve got a pretty simple road. They’ve got a similar road to what they go through every year, and they’re always in the playoffs. So, I’ve got the Ravens at 12 and 5 and they will be in the playoffs and contending. I think it is one of those teams that I could see potentially being up there for the AFC Championship this year.

Next, I’ve got the Chargers. I have the Chargers at a real big number, Chargers at 13 and 4. Just looking through their schedule, it feels like a schedule that they’ve got some games that they can win. Cowboys, Raiders, they’ve got the Patriots, they got the Ravens, so, I think they can challenge Vikings, Eagles, Steelers, Broncos, Giants, Bengals, Texans, Raiders again. It feels like they could definitely be an 11 and 16 team just the same as I think they could be a 13 and 14 team. I do like them. I do think that they are going to challenge the Chiefs this season a little more than they have in the past. Do I think they’re going to be AFC Championship team when it’s all said and done? No. But the way their schedule falls, I think they have a nicer road to potentially be a higher-seeded team and some of these other teams that I would say could potentially win the championship like the Ravens and the Titans.

That brings me to my top three and this feels really weird to say, but the Browns are right there for me. I have them at 13 and 4. Just looking at their schedule, looking at what they did last year, I believe they showed up their cornerback room, which is I think was one of the big pieces for them. Their linebackers are still probably a little suspect but overall, the defense is good. They got Clowney, they got Garrett. I think that this team is just going to be a very good football team, offensive weapons. They did it without OBJ last year. They were very, very close to taking down the Chiefs if we go back and watch that. I think the Browns are 13 and 4, and they are going to be one of the teams that I’m going to be choosing to be in the AFC Championship this year. It feels incredibly weird to say that but with the talk of the Steelers slumping a little, I think the Ravens are slumping and Browns are ascending, I think they’ve got a nice schedule that they can work with. So, I’ve got the Browns in the AFC Championship at 13 and 4 at the season.

Next up comes the Bills, 13 and 4. Looking through the schedule, we could lose more than four. We can win more than 13 as well. There’s a couple of games in there that are just a little unsure, could go either way for me, but AFC Championship, I don’t see any other way. Yes, I’m saying the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns, the Battle of Lake Erie, for the frigging AFC Championship. It’s going to be incredibly weird, absolutely. But that’s what I’m calling right now.

But with that being said, I do have the Chiefs as number one, finishing the season 14 and 3, and it’s just their schedule who they’re playing. They might lose more than three. They could very well with the way the schedule plays out end up with even maybe four to five losses, but they are for me right now still the best team until somebody takes them off the top, and that’s the way that I approach it.

Like I mentioned at the top of this, I do this because I like to look at over/under stuff. So, out of all that stuff, I looked at a couple that I actually liked. The Texans, their win totals at four and a half. I just can’t see a way for them to get over four wins. So, I’m actually going to take some action on the Texans and put under four and a half on that. The Jaguars at six and a half wins. I have a hard time seeing them get to six, seven wins is going to be hard-pressed, I think. The Steelers, like I’ve been saying the whole time, I think they’re on their way down, and they’re an eight and a half. So, the only other team that I really, really liked is like I said, I’ve got the Chargers at 13 and four. There’s a way for them to get to 13 wins I think, and they’re an eight and a half. So, those are all the plays that I’m going to be on for this moving forward.

That’s all I’m going to do for today. I just wanted to have a little bit of fun, chat up what’s going to be coming this season. I haven’t even spilled all the beans for what’s going to be coming to the rest of the season. But for the most part, make sure that you’re checking out the Pig Skin Podcast Network moving forward because that’s where the Buffalo Nerd is going to be housed. You’ll still be able to listen to it on all the normal players and everything like that, so you don’t have to worry about everything like that moving and grooving. But besides that, look forward to the next few episodes leading up to the season. We’re going to be diving heavy into the Bills and diving heavy into getting ready for this frigging awesome season that we are about to witness. Everything else that’s going to be happening for me, you guys can check out over at the buffalonerd.com. As I mentioned, there’s the new tab over there to where you can donate in the upcoming future here, that’s where you’ll also head for all the giveaways and all that stuff that we’re going to be doing throughout the season to raise some money for some really kick ass charities out there.

So, thanks for being here, folks. I hope if you were out there enjoying the sunshine today and catching footballs from Josh Allen or Stefon Diggs, that you had a blast, you were safe. I look forward to seeing the Mafia this season when I’ll be back for a couple, super excited for this season. It’s been so hard to keep it in, but you know what’s making me keep it in? These fantasy football drafts where people are just coming in, and they’re sniping me, and ruining my fun when I think I’ve got a perfect plan. But I’m not going to go on a rant. We’re just going to go ahead and call it a day. Thank you, Josh Allen. Thank you, Brandon Beane. Thank you, Sean McDermott. Thank you, Nerd Mafia. Thank you, everybody, for listening. Be safe out there, make good choices, and let’s get ready to rock and roll this season. And of course, go Bills!

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