The big news this Football Friday is that the Buffalo Bills game in Orchard Park this Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals… will be on TV!
There were over 7,000 tickets left at the start of this week, and with the current state of panic and fear—and the ever-present dread, hopelessness, and dismay—amongst Bills fans, there was little chance of this game selling out. (And of course, a sell-out is required for local television stations to be allowed to broadcast the game. “Local” being defined by the NFL as every city within about 200 miles of Ralph Wilson Stadium!)
Thanks to a last minute gift from Ralph Wilson, Jr. the nonagenarian owner of the Bills, local fans will be able to watch the game from their homes.
But, after losing to THE BROWNS last week on national TV—by thirteen points!!!—and losing their starting QB, why on God’s green earth would anyone want to see this game, anyway?
Read on, faithful fan!
All Hope Is Lost
Last week, we Bills fans had to endure the sight of our first-round, wonder kid, phenom rookie QB writhing on the sideline, clutching his knee. (As well as a Browns defender standing over him, pumping his fist in victory… despite the fact that EJ Manuel had just converted a third down with his run, setting up the Bills’ go-ahead touchdown mid-to-late third quarter… hmm…) Hearts sank, stomach knots twisted, throats felt nervous lumps rise… and basically all hope was lost. Throw the season in the toilet, flush, and prep for next year’s draft, fellas!
After watching then-backup quarterback, Jeff Tuel (another rookie QB) look quite pedestrian (and that’s being kind) most Bills fans could agree that there wasn’t much to be cheery about as a Bills fan.
But a more objective, rational review of the game in Cleveland would show the following:
- Even with lots of injuries still, including losing Stevie Johnson somewhere in the second quarter, the Bills had managed to endure crazy-huge punt returns—one for a long TD—by the Browns, which gave them a 17-10 half-time lead, and take a third-quarter lead of their own, 24-17.
- The Bills defense (still depleted by injuries) held the Browns’ running game in check, and really their offense, despite bad field position thanks to those punt returns.
- Even the NFL Network announcers were pretty much handing the game to the Bills by the third quarter, with Mike Mayock commenting repeatedly that the Bills were just, “tightening the noose” with each successive first down.
Credit the Browns with taking advantage of Aaron Williams at cornerback—and a great catch by Josh Gordon on the game-tying score, bobbling, and then pulling it in while managing to get both feet down in the end zone.
EJ going down (for two to eight weeks, say his doctors) the Bills had to find more QB help. There was talk of recently-released Josh Freeman, but he chose Minnesota. There was more talk of Pat White (really??) and a few other cast-offs. But the Bills chose to bring Thaddeus Lewis off the practice squad and place him at the front of the bus, starting the game this week against Cincinnati!
What is happening around here?!
With the large list of injured (important) players, now larger and bearing the name E. J. Manuel, on top of the more important 2-3 overall record that they now hold, and a practice squad QB as our starter (and Jeff Tuel as his backup!) … it sure did seem as though all hope was lost.
All Hope is NOT Lost!
BUT… (a very important but!)
The Bills are getting nearly EVERYONE back. Jairus Byrd will finally be on the field, practicing fully this week. Even Stephon Gilmore is likely to get some playing time this weekend. Ron Brooks, Marquise Goodwin, and Doug Legursky are all scheduled to return this week. Also, don’t forget that a Thursday game means ten days off. Ten days means healthier players, including CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson, and maybe even Stevie Johnson. (Johnson may miss this game due to a death in his family this week, as well as a back injury that has not fully healed.)
So really, other than players on injured reserve, the only player who is definitely out this weekend is EJ Manuel. The rest of that large list that the Bills have sported each week so far in 2013 … might be completely eliminated! Everyone playing!
This is really good news for us Bills fans. (And, um… the Bills!)
A Welcome Sight
Maybe the BEST news this week for the Bills was the release of 2nd year punter, Shawn Powell, and the re-signing of free agent punter, BRIAN MOORMAN!!! Many Bills fans are ecstatic to see the return of #8. (And yes, Jeff Tuel relinquished his number to the player most Bills fans know as #8, taking #7 for his own jersey number.)
With all the trouble at QB, maybe Brian Moorman will step in if there’s an injury. He’s always exciting, that’s for sure. And usually pretty fired up! Should get a big, friendly welcome from the crowd at The Ralph this Sunday when he comes out on the field. The Bills might do well to introduce the special teams starters before the game, just to pump up the crowd a bit more!
Welcome back, Mr. Moorman!
I’m kinda worried about making this prediction. I’m 0-3 so far. I predicted a loss, and they won. I predicted two wins, and they lost. Yikes!
Well… as I see it… the Bengals offense is not very good. They only got SIX points against the Cleveland Browns! We posted 24, and likely would have scored more. They do have AJ Green (a GREAT wide receiver) but we are getting all of our corners back (hopefully) and we apparently have a pretty decent D-coordinator in Mike Pettine!
The Bengals defense is a different story. They are good. But the Bills will have home field advantage, which should actually help a bit, and so far this year, the Bills have done well, even against pretty decent defenses (maybe especially Baltimore, but really every team they have played has a better-than-average defense! The Jets, Panthers, and Browns are #2, #3, and #4 after five weeks! Oh my!) The Bengals currently rank eighth overall, and tenth overall against the run—probably the Bills offensive strength.
The thing is, Thad Lewis is not bad. He’s not great, and is appropriately a backup QB, but he most likely won’t lose the game for the Bills. So, with a nearly-100% healthy defense, a slightly-healthier offense, a home game against an opponent that doesn’t do that well offensively (usually) …
Final score: 21-16, Buffalo.
I know I’m probably guaranteeing a loss with that prediction, but… well, that’s what I think will happen! Plenty of takeaways (Kiko Alonso! Jairus Byrd?), good defense, and an offense that moves the ball well enough to win.
(Did you know that the Bills are averaging 22.4 points per game so far this year, with scores of 21, 24, 20, 23, 24 in their five games? Not bad.)
So … go Bills! Enjoy your football weekend!
UPDATE: Right after this published, the Bills announced that Ron Brooks will not play this weekend. (He is listed as “Out”, along with EJ Manuel.) Stevie Johnson and Stephon Gilmore are “Questionable” and being called “game-time decisions”.
Today is actually Thursday, but since the Buffalo Bills play their weekend game tonight, my Football Friday post—a preview of the next game—will publish on a Thursday!
It’s very confusing…
Hopefully the BILLS will not be as confused! Though, as I heard pointed out this week, the Thursday Night Games so far this season have been very sloppy, hard-to-watch football games. The short week of practice, and less time to recover from any injuries are probably two of the main factors contributing to a lesser version of NFL football.
Perhaps tonight the two young, up-and-coming franchises will break from that pattern?
And… perhaps not.
The Good Stuff
There is actually a bunch to like from both of these teams coming off their last games. (OK, not the Bills game in New Jersey against the Jets. There’s hardly anything to like about that one!) But other than that game, the Browns have won two in a row after their quarterback change. Brian Hoyer is 2-0 as the starter, and even though their season starter, Brandon Weeden is healthy again, Hoyer will play in this next game against the Bills, too.
The Bills are fresh off their win at home against last year’s Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens. Impressive! And more than just because of their title. The Ravens were #4 in the league in run defense, and the Bills ran for over 200 yards against them! The Bills defense had four sacks and five INTs on Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco. Very impressive!
And don’t forget their two games prior to the NY Jets debacle were a comeback win against a pretty good Carolina Panthers team (they beat the Giants 38-0 the week after losing to Buffalo) and leading the New England Patriots until the very last minute, when they took the lead on a late field goal.
Other than the game against the Jets, EJ Manuel has looked at least reliable, and even exciting. I’d say especially the game against Carolina—the long, comeback, last-minute drive for the go-ahead touchdown—but he also hit some throws last week for scores, including one that didn’t count (but should have!) near the end of the game. Also, Manuel has greatly limited any mistakes, and the Bills’ future does look promising with him at the helm!
Bills FS Jairus Byrd—dead to many Bills fans, thanks to his non-chalant, flippant attitude in most (all?) interviews since signing with the team in the pre-season—fully participated in practice earlier this week. That’s a really good sign that he might indeed return … even as early as this week! Other Bills are greatly on the mend as well, including super-speedy rookie WR Marquise Goodwin, who will probably be back for the Bills’ next game, Sunday Oct. 13th, at home against the Bengals.
The Scary Stuff
Let’s not forget what I highlighted last week: INJURIES ABOUND!
That hasn’t really changed, outside of the update directly above. But now, players like CJ Spiller can be added to the not-likely-to-be-seen-on-the-field-in-any-meaningful-way list. (If there isn’t such a list, there should be!) Fred Jackson is also hurt, but nearly guarantees he’ll be out there. Thirteen players are officially listed on the Week 5 injury report at BuffaloBills.com, and four of those are definitely out.
STATS DON’T LIE… USUALLY
Last week the Bills were able to overcome a top-notch run defense. Well, way more than “overcome”. They put up over 200 yards. So how about this week? Tonight, the Bills take on the #1 rush defense in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns. Can the Bills—perhaps minus their top two running backs, due to injuries—work similar magic this week? Not likely. The Browns defense is younger, faster, and crazier (in my opinion).
One strength the Browns possess that the Ravens do not necessarily is their “shut down” corner, Joe Hayden. He should effectively remove whichever receiver they put him on. (He shut down a pretty great receiver, AJ Green of the Bengals, last week.) The good news for the Bills is, they have many more than just one receiver!
Speaking of receivers, the Browns have a TE (Jordan Cameron) who has been somewhat dominant through the first quarter of the 2013 season. I believe he has five touchdown receptions now, including a game where he posted three? Those are Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Tony Gonzalez numbers. The Bills are faster this year, and prepared to cover guys (or attempt to) like Gronk … Cameron will be a good test of that.
So far, in my illustrious, two-part, Football Friday predictions I am an astounding… 0 for 2. The game I thought the Bills would win, they lost. When I thought they were just too injury-depleted to compete, they won, and it seemed rather “easily”.
So… I’m a little afraid to proceed here, as a Bills fan, but …
With a defense that leads the NFL in interceptions, going up against a relative no-name QB in Brian Hoyer, a “vintage” RB, former Bill, Willis McGahee, and… who? at receiver? (Other than their TE, Cameron) …
AND, with an offense that, even injured, has a multiplicity of potent targets …
BUT, it is a road game, on national television…
Still, I must stick with my gut and say that, in a defensive struggle, the Bills will pull out the (much-needed) road victory:
Final score: 19-12, Buffalo.
(Yes, lots of field goals. Excited now?)
The Bills will benefit greatly by beating a team that is similarly (but lesser) talented than they are, on the road, and picking up a conference win, against a team that their division rival, Miami, has already beaten. (Record against common opponents is a tie-breaker later on, should one be needed…)
We’ll see tonight if this team of youngsters is up to the task!
NFL football is rough. (That’s probably obvious.)
And somehow, it’s always rougher to the Buffalo Bills!
I remember just a few years ago when there were seventeen (or more?) players on the season-ending Injured Reserve (IR) list! That’s a third of an NFL roster! Yikes!
This year is starting off no better. Look at this injury report from Thursday afternoon:
CB Ron Brooks – foot
*CB Stephon Gilmore – wrist
*K Dustin Hopkins – groin
WR Marquise Goodwin – hand
(DE Alex Carrington – placed on IR this week)
*S Jairus Byrd – foot
*CB Leodis McKelvin – hamstring
*DL Marcell Dareus – ankle
*DL Mario Williams – ankle
*DL Kyle Williams – Achilles
*WR Stevie Johnson – hamstring
G/C Doug Legursky – knee
*RB C.J. Spiller – thigh
*OL Kraig Urbik – knee
I put an asterisk next to each of the guys who are starters. And the other guys are players who would be in there for many snaps.
Clash WITH the Titans
As if the injuries weren’t enough by themselves… have you seen the Bills’ schedule?
Currently they are at 1-2 (which could easily be 0-3!) and they are about to take on six teams in a row whose combined record is an astounding 15-3… and that’s because Cleveland is in there! (And they beat a reasonably-tough Minnesota Vikings team last weekend, after nearly defeating Baltimore the week prior!)
There are two 2-1 teams (Baltimore, Cincinnati), and THREE teams with perfect, 3-0 records! (Miami, New Orleans, and Kansas City—the first two are road games!) Holy. Moly.
The next two games after that are at Pittsburgh (no easy task, even if they do have a losing record this year) and home again to face the New York Jets. That did not go so well the first time …
Even with all of those players on the injury list above, those games would be tough. But without them?
Buckle up, Bills fans. This could get bumpy!
Oh No! Our QB is on FIRE!
One week, you’re the savior of the world, next week… not so much.
EJ Manuel has fallen from grace with many Bills fans, rightly wearied by thirteen seasons of quarterbacking woes. (OK, not really. There was still a little Flutie in there (ha! “little”) and Bledsoe had that one good year…
Last week EJ was sacked EIGHT times, and for some strange reason he kept throwing balls 5 or 6 yards out of bounds? (EJ, that’s a good way to avoid INTs, but you also avoid the completions.) He looked skittish, scared, scurried, and all things of that sort. To be fair, the offensive line and the run game sort of set him up to feel (and act) that way. The blame can not all be placed on the quarterback.
That said, last Sunday, it was pretty obvious that he is a rookie.
He’s looked good at The Ralph. That’s where they play this Sunday. Against the Super Bowl Champion, Baltimore Ravens. Who still have a good defense. (Minus Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and … somebody else.)
Will EJ Manuel still look like he’s on fire in week four? OR, will be be “on fire”, besting his yards, touchdowns, and any other marks he’s set so far in his fledgling career?
Well, I missed last week’s prediction. Pretty badly, actually. Greatly underestimating the somewhat no-name Jets’ defense, my 27-13 Buffalo win turned out to be a 27-20 LOSS. Stinky.
This week, I shall be more conservative. And honestly, I hope that I am wrong two weeks in a row.
But I won’t be.
The Ravens are also coming into Orchard Park injured, but they still have their highly-paid quarterback. I have a hard time believing that our fourth-string and on down the depth chart cornerbacks (and backup safety, I might add) will be able to stop Joe Flacco and whomever he chooses to throw to.
Toss in the (incredibly) porous Bills run defense facing the likely return of Ray Rice, and…
Baltimore should win this one somewhat easily.
Final score: 30-20, Baltimore.
I think one thing we will find out this week in Buffalo is the skill, talent, and ability of the rookie coaches (as well as the rookie quarterback). Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett will need to free up CJ Spiller and EJ Manuel somehow, while Mike Pettine will have to figure out a way to run his crazy (and good) defensive scheme with fourth-stringers! I do hope they can get it done. We’re about to find out!
Enjoy your football weekend!
Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
There are days. There are weeks, months and long years where … boy, it just feels like nothing is worth it. Am I right? I’m guessing, unless you have not lived long enough to experience a full enough breadth of human experience, that you most certainly know what I’m talking about.
I think this is what I was getting at in my recent post, What Motivates You? Hope. When there is hope, there is “motivation”. And love gives hope. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13)
Unless we have hope—that good is coming, that any effort we’re about to put forth is at all worthwhile, that things can change—there really is no point at all. We are hope—less.
How we arrive at such a place is more than understandable. Did you see yesterday’s post? There is a great darkness pervading our entire world—and it’s us. We are dark from the inside. A correlating “side effect” of the free ability to choose what is good and right and excellent, given to us by our Creator, is the ability to not choose those things, and even (much) worse things.
And yet, there remains a light in this world. The Light. Certainly Jesus, the God Man, is the Light of the World (he said that he is) … and so, too, are his people, The Church. Not always. And definitely not everyone who bears the name “church”. (See this post from earlier this summer…) But in every kindness shown, mercy given, forgiveness offered, selfless sacrifice made … he is there, and he is Light.
There is hope.
Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.
This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
1 Timothy 4:10
As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
It is clear to me that our one primary motive must be hope. Even if it is hope to satisfy some temporal, carnal nature in us—there still must be some promise of future fulfillment. Some reason for what we do.
There are SO many more references in scripture to “hope”. Please do read through as many as you have time for. Come back to it later, even.
And hope. Hold on to the hope we have in Jesus. Not just for a future kingdom—which will be beyond anything we can even dream right now—but in his kingdom now, the Kingdom of God that is near. Even in this present age of darkness.
He is here. With us. Forever.
And so we hope.
You know, this world is ugly. Really ugly. I don’t know if my heightened awareness of this is due to my reading The Screwtape Letters again, or maybe just the mood I’m in, or the correlated ongoing state of frequently feeling so depleted…
Or maybe this is just how it is.
The hatred spewed from mouths of many, directed at their perceived enemies; the gorging of gluttony, the never-satisfied, ever-increasing pursuit of fulfilling lusts; rampant, uncontrolled greed, at the uncaring expense of a neighbor, no, all neighbors; and just the general devaluing of ourselves and everyone around us that can lead to all kinds of abuses, including sexual abuse of young girls.
I have young girls. Some stories I have read lately simultaneously turn my stomach, and anger me greatly. It’s really awful how disgustingly we can treat each other. My words here are not strong enough.
I deeply wish—often—that my kids did not have to grow up in and be part of this world. But they are. They do.
So it’s true then, what Paul said about us, while quoting some Old Testament scriptures:
“No one is righteous—
not even one.
No one is truly wise;
no one is seeking God.
All have turned away;
all have become useless.
No one does good,
not a single one.”
“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with lies.”
“Snake venom drips from their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“They rush to commit murder.
Destruction and misery always follow them.
They don’t know where to find peace.”
“They have no fear of God at all.”
There’s a whole bunch more from the first chapter of Romans. Listen to this paragraph:
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
But I love what Paul follows that with, saying directly after that:
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.
It’s awful dangerous when we notice the darkness of other people, but forget to acknowledge our own.
The world is ugly, because we are ugly.
I have not been personal witness to some of the ugliest things that one might encounter in this world. (Like murder, sexual abuse, and similar horrible, awful things we do to each other.) I think this helps me to maintain a false distance from the grotesque darkness of us. Of me. Thankfully, and so graciously, Jesus continues to build in me the desires that match his, and my inner light shines brighter with his resident spirit inside me—but I am far from perfect. I know darkness inside me, too.
But thanks be to God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our lord.
Yes. And we do have the victory, we’re “more than conquerors” … that just seems so far off sometimes.
Sounds like I need a good read through the book of Romans. What a great overview of the world as it is, through God’s eyes, and how it will be redeemed.
Boy do we need it.
Remember that Jesus is the light. Stick close to him, through whatever darkness you are in, or may find yourself in. He will walk through it with you.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
2 Peter 1:2-7
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
I am a creator. I enjoy creating things. I work with words, images, colors and designs, even code and systems. I also create with food, and a few other physical mediums. And I love to create with imagination. (Bedtimes with my kids are usually quite entertaining!)
And I love to create here. Words flesh out thoughts, which often interact with each other creating further thoughts, which beget further words about thoughts. It’s a rewarding and interesting cycle all to itself.
Then there is the longer part of the cycle. This part occurs at a slower pace, gradually, over longer cycles; months, even years.
As a creative sort, I often find that one season will be full of creating, whilst another will seem devoid of new work—but that is because I am on the other side of that cycle: intake.
I’ve written about it here before. (Numerous times besides that post, I’m sure.)
And today’s post will highlight the same.
I actually finished up yesterday a bunch of books I’ve been reading over the past weeks and months. With a serious increase in daily output here since June of this current calendar year, I’ve been in output mode, churning out words more than taking in.
But the intake has not ceased. (See here.) And in fact, I am detecting that it’s now on the increase.
I’ve been feeling what could almost be described as a need for more reading time, again. My library account has been active. I’ve purchased a book or two. (Gotta love library book sales! Am I right??) And there are plenty of free options (public domain, etc.) via electronic book distributors.
Have a look at this list of books on my “currently reading” list (available here)
Yes. I am currently, whenever I sit down to read, cracking open each of those books at whatever point I am into them. Really!
(Yes. You are also correct that… I’m a bit whacko.)
We’ve also been enjoying reading chunks of the Bible together as a family. We’re slowly working through Acts together, and last week we took an evening to read through the book of Philippians in one sitting. (Highly recommend you giving that a try, too. Such an encouraging text!)
It’s good to enjoy each cycle. To intake when that is needed, and churn out when in the output cycle.
Output may slow here a bit in this cycle, but the rhythm will flow back to output soon enough.
Last thing for today: the word rhythms was used so beautifully in Eugene Peterson’s translation of Matthew 11:28-30. Enjoy, and remember to keep in rhythm with your (our) father.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
It’s Friday, and that means another weekend of football is here! A week ago, Alex and I attended a high school football game here in our town. First time ever, actually! It was fun… except for the constant rain, on a cold night, and the college-ready, MJD-bodied running back on the other team… Still, it really was quite fun! We look forward to doing it again soon.
But, as you are likely well aware, this is a Buffalo Bills household. High school football is fun—I enjoyed playing for my high school several decades ago—and every once in a while we’ll tune in a Michigan State football game (and on rare occasions, a different college game) … BUT…
It’s pretty much Buffalo Bills, and NFL football around here.
(Oh, and for the next couple weeks, our football weekends culminate with our own Monday Night (flag) Football games! Those are great fun, too!)
On The Road
So this week, the very promising, young Bills get to play their first game away from The Ralph.
In two games at home, they have performed admirable, and at times, messily. Penalties, turnovers, dropped passes, missed passes, and in Week One, a CJ Spiller who forgot he was good. That has led to a 1-1 record, thanks to EJ Manuel and company pulling it together on the final drive. And also, thanks to a defense that looks… impressive. Even missing two of its best players: CB Stephon Gilmore and FS Jairus Byrd.
Will that continue on the road? How much does the raucous crowd in Orchard Park aid this team? Can this young team with a rookie QB, and a rookie Head Coach, have the same—or better—success on the road???
We’re about to find out!
The Opponent: New York Jets
The Jets are favored by 2.5 points. That actually means that Vegas thinks the Bills will win the game. (Home teams are given at least three points, just for hosting the game.) The line makes sense, based on their records through the first two weeks: both teams at 1-1, both wins being last minute, come from behind wins. (The Bills loss to the Patriots was much closer than the Jets loss to the same team, though, as the Jets were never really in that game, despite the appearance on the score board.)
Such a tough game to figure out. It would seem that the Bills have the edge in talent, and they have performed overall much better than their division counterparts. But both teams are young. The Jets have an established, veteran (mostly respected) head coach… but the Bills have the Jets’ former Defensive Coordinator! Ha!
Really, should be an interesting matchup. Can’t wait to see it!
I really think the Bills defense is improved. Six sacks last week. The backup corner backs are playing MUCH better than anticipated. Rookie LB Kiko Alonso was overshadowed last week by fellow rookie, EJ Manuel’s last minute drive to win the game. (And Stevie Johnson FINALLY catching the big pass!) Alonso is pretty great so far, actually. He ended the game by sacking Cam Newton, when they still had a (very small) chance to win that game. He also had an interception early in the game.
Look for Mike Pettine’s defense to continue improving, and confuse Jets QB Geno Smith, and shut down whomever else they have on their offense. (Who do they have?)
And on offense … with a steady young, unflappable QB, a really talented group of wide receivers, and um… CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson? If they don’t hurt themselves with penalties and turnovers, this should be a comfortable win for the Buffalo Bills.
Final score: 27-13 Buffalo.
The Bills, if they really are improved, and “heading the the right direction”—as most Bills fans think they are—really need to win this game. It’s against a division opponent, that has befuddled and annoyed them for years.
This Sunday we could start to see that turning around.
Enjoy your football weekend!
Forward never stops. The next moment forces itself upon you whether or not you’re ready to leave the current one behind. And then again, without asking, there is another moment stepping in to replace its predecessor.
The sun rises, travels across our sky, and sets every day. The seasons advance relentlessly, reliably.
There is comfort in this unceasing cycle. Comfort, awe, helplessness, and a perspective-inducing, throw-up-your-hands sense of irrelevance.
Time marches relentlessly forward. We hold to the past… and we try to flee it. But it really doesn’t matter. We are compelled to move forward. I would posit that we might do better when we move with the natural rhythm of life, but then the realization that whether or not we comply, forward we go.
Thus, whenever we do hold on to our past, we are really ignoring reality.
If our past mistakes—be they small, numerous, or large, injurious—render us incapable of living now, free, able to experience life, and even joy…
If our past victories—again, large and well-known, or small, frequent, even unknown to others—are constant reminders of where we’d rather be, or even who we’d rather be…
If hurt—even deep, scarring, wounding, killing hurts—in our past fill our hearts, minds, bodies with life-drawing sadness, yearning for what was, and could have been…
We are trapped in an existence that time has simply altered, and continues, relentlessly, to further alter.
The good news here is that with this irrepressible forward motion, there is always new, always hope. I believe this is the “gospel” message. No matter what you’ve done, or who you’ve been (“good” or “bad”) we move forward. You are accepted, loved, even cherished, sought after. Time moves us forward. No grudges, no lists of wrongs… forward.
There are always consequences for actions (and inactions) in the Forward. That is part of its nature, too. Something done, or left undone, in this moment comes to fruition in the next—consequence.
But grace is in the next moment Forward.
“And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” —Jeremiah 31:34
We can not change anything that has already happened. We usually can’t repeat it, either.
Certainly there is value in cherishing the good from our past, and learning from the bad, but forward we must go. There is no other option, really.
Forward never stops.
As a point of curiosity from me, what did you first see in the photo above? Is it a beautiful sunset? Or a sunrise? I am regularly fascinated by how our mindset shapes the world we perceive. Not that a sunset is any less forward than a sunrise, but one is generally considered a “closing” and the other a “beginning” … hope, versus a lack of hope? Again… just curious. And maybe incorrect.
Every once in a while I get to noticing my age.
It might come from stiffness in some joint, or soreness in some muscle. Alternately, I might just ponder the numbers which track my cyclical journeys around the sun. (They do keep increasing…)
On some days, it’s just watching the people around me growing up. My oldest son is just over a year away from driving himself around (and right now he has us doing that many times to many places!) and my daughters will be women before I can blink.
Whatever might trigger it, I can easily be reminded that I am old.
But then I consider that my age still begins with a three. I know that’s not old. I realize there’s likely much life ahead of me, should God decide to number my days so.
My second parents are septuagenarians. My own parents are sexagenarians. And my grandparents are octogenarians. Many important people in my life are still nearly double my age, despite my sometimes feeling ‘old’.
I mean, I am barely old enough to be President, for goodness sake!
So I’ve been thinking—I’m not old, but I’m not young…
I think I’m middle aged!
That’s supposed to mean it’s time for my “crisis”, right? At some point around now I am to realize that I’m further into my life than I have remaining ahead of me. A reflective overview of what I’ve accomplished—and what I’ve not accomplished—is to set me into a spiraling tizzy, ending with the purchase of some wild vehicle, or some other wild (even scandalous) adventure.
I can’t emphasize enough how much that is not going to happen.
For me, this probably mainly stems from my lack of personal ambition or other such motivations. I’m not sure if that’s the only thing that would push someone into a mid-life crisis, but it seems to me unfulfilled expectations might do just that.
What I do know is that it’s pretty odd here in the middle.
Some days I think I want to be old. I want to fast-forward through today’s tough parts, and maybe enjoy the fun parts of being a grandpa. Perhaps enjoy the fruits of all the years lived and wisdom gained. There are certainly benefits to being aged.
But there are advantages to still being young, too. (Which I do admit, I am quickly leaving behind.) My body can still keep up with my inner athlete. Running continues to be an enjoyable activity, and I love playing sports with my older boys (who are now old enough to keep up with me!)
Youth is still part of me, but beginning to show signs of departure. Age is coming, but only still on the outskirts of my view.
I’m right in the middle, enjoying bits of both worlds.
And I hope to remember, for as long as I remain here, that this is the place I’m meant to be. Right now. Right here.
Right in the middle.
Today is a musical post.
In a former life, I was a musician. It’s true! I broke out the recording gear for this song, and when my youngest two children discovered its presence in my office they were pleasantly astounded. I confessed to them that their mom & dad used to be something akin to rockstars. This made them giggle and smile even more. They’re fun.
This type of post will be rare here. I just recently rediscovered this song, penned last October, and really wanted to share it here. The audio is just me and a guitar (with a tiny bit of reverb in GarageBand) … but it should help get the point across.
©2012 Greg Campbell
There are no guarantees in this world
We can not manipulate it
Though we often try to fake it
We are not the ones who made it
But maybe we made it …This way
Don’t try to anticipate it
We never see clearly up ahead
Today has enough trouble of its own
No need to add on tomorrow’s or yesterday’s
We have no guarantee of our next breath
Let alone a day, let alone a day
We have no guarantee that we’ll not know pain
It’s almost certainty that there’ll be some today
It seems my dreams nev’r come true
The more I hope for it, seems
The less hope there is
I see everything so clearly
But clearly, I just can’t see
Why things go so poorly
What have you got against me?
I may fail at everything, and I may never be loved
My life may crumble around me … there are no guarantees
To listen to and purchase Greg & Jen’s music, please visit http://basicmusic.bandcamp.com.