John Clayton: No playoffs for 2013 Bills

Can the Buffalo Bills challenge the New England Patriots in the AFC East? Not this year, according to ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton.

Clayton addressed Buffalo's present and future in his latest mailbag Tuesday when asked if the Bills can make the postseason by winning 9-10 games.

"That’s too much to ask," Clayton responded. "The quarterback position is in transition. The receivers are too raw. The defense is switching back to a 3-4. That could lead to a tough start. As the season goes on, EJ Manuel might take over at quarterback. As long as the team can finish the season respectably, the Bills could start building toward 2014."

Buffalo has talent in several areas, and in some ways the team underachieved during its 6-10 season in 2012. The 2013 Bills have a chance to be a threat if they find a way to put it all together and get quality quarterback play from Manuel or veteran Kevin Kolb.

Improvement in coaching also will have a lot to do with Buffalo's success. Former Bills head coach Chan Gailey and former defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt didn’t do a good job of managing Buffalo’s talent. It’s too early to tell if rookie head coach Doug Marrone will be noticeably better in that area.