As the Associated Press noted, head coach Sean McDermott
shrugged when informed the Patriots opened as 11-point favorites.
"Is that new?" he said, before noting how the Patriots won the AFC championship last season and extended their NFL record by winning their ninth consecutive division title.
"Until you beat them, then they're going to be favored. That's how it works," McDermott said.
One could argue that until you can play some offense, it's going to be hard to beat anybody.
And the Bills aren't playing much offense leading some to wonder if deals will be coming before Tuesday afternoon's trade deadline. Perhaps one involving a player acquired in a trade last October.
caught five passes for 71 yards in last Sunday's loss to the Colts, his most receiving yards in a game since the Bills obtained him from the Panthers.
Benjamin's performance had little bearing on the outcome of a Bills defeat in which Derek Anderson
proved as ineffective at quarterback as his predecessors this season, yet Benjamin's afternoon could prove timely if Buffalo decides to trade him.
It is not clear what price the Bills would accept to part ways with their top receiver this season. But Benjamin flashed some athleticism and big-play ability against Indy that had been fleeting in his first 12 games with the Bills, over which he averaged only 2.2 catches and 30 yards per game. Perhaps with an assist from Benjamin's previous experience with Anderson as members of the Panthers, Benjamin caught a season-high 80 percent of his targets, including gains of 32, 17 and 14 yards.
If a deal can be struck, the time would be now. Benjamin, the top target of a receiver group with historically pitiful production, might give the Bills (2-5) a better chance to upset New England Patriots next Monday night, but a Bills victory would do little to change the team's fate this season or Benjamin's prospects of striking a long-term deal to stay in Buffalo.
Benjamin is playing on the final season of his rookie contract and should have his first opportunity in March to explore unrestricted free agency. He'll seek the sort of monster deals his fellow receivers in the 2014 draft class have received
. Given his lack of consistent production, it would be an upset if the Bills paid Benjamin such big money or assigned him the franchise tag.
There also have been times this season when Benjamin's effort could fairly be questioned, most recently in running his route on a pick-six by Nathan Peterman
last Sunday in a loss to the Houston Texans. Benjamin, who faced criticism before the game for a report that he declined to run routes in pregame warm-ups with rookie quarterback Josh Allen
, described the report as misinformation and said he "bust[s] his ass" for the team.
Trading Benjamin, who declined to speak to reporters after Sunday's loss at Indianapolis, would have the benefit to Buffalo of adding a future draft asset. However, it would further deplete an offense that has scored only two touchdowns in its past four games and has only three passing touchdowns this season.
Without Benjamin, the Bills would be left with four receivers on their roster: 2017 second-round pick Zay Jones
, eighth-year veteran Andre Holmes
and rookies Ray-Ray McCloud
and Cam Phillips
. Including Benjamin, Buffalo's wide receivers are averaging 82.7 yards per game, the fifth fewest by any team's wide receivers since 2001.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, a source with knowledge of the situation told Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio, LeSean McCoy
is unlikely to be traded before Tuesday's deadline.
Remember, McCoy is still in the concussion protocol, and his status for Monday night’s game against the Patriots remains unclear.
McCoy is at practice, but he’s not participating in any contact drills.
McDermott said the team will “take it one day at a time” on determining McCoy’s status.
Typically a player in the concussion protocol would be ruled out if he’s not cleared by the day before the game, so tomorrow may be the day we know for sure.
McCoy is the Bills’ leading rusher with 244 yards this season. He hasn’t played a particularly big part in the Bills’ struggling passing game, with just 13 catches for 85 yards.