Rex Ryan has high hopes for his former team, the Buffalo Bills, who carry the NFL’s longest playoff drought (17 seasons) into the 2017 season.

Though he was fired from his job as head coach last year, Ryan has no bitter feelings towards Buffalo. In fact, in a phone interview with BuffaloNews.com, Ryan called Bills owner Terry Pagula “a great owner” and expressed regret that he was unable to help the team break that playoff drought.

Ryan also blasted a USA Today prediction that his former team would only win four games this season.

“There’s no way in hell,” Rex said. “That’s a coach’s dream, to have that kind of prediction because there is no pressure on you but I think that is total bull. If that is the case, why was I fired when I was fired if that’s how bad this team was? So I don’t get that. To saddle them with four wins, I totally disagree with that.”

In true Rex Ryan fashion, the currently jobless coach elaborated, saying the Bills could be a playoff team this year.

“I feel the Bills will surprise a ton of people,” he said. “They are kind of trying to float this under the radar stuff, which I get. That’s probably the way to go, that’s the way everybody goes. Undersell and overproduce. I get it. I believe they will have a lot better year than the experts. Could they be a playoff team? They might very well be.”

While it’s not crazy to think the Bills could sneak into the playoffs as a wild card team, the reality is that it’s going to be darn tough to break the streak. A four-win season is probably off the mark, but the Bills are probably not going to win more than eight games this year. We know they’ll win two games at least (against the New York Jets), but aside from that every game is going to be a battle of execution and will.

Adding free agent receiver Anquan Boldin on Monday will absolutely help the offense. If Tyrod Taylor can get on the same page with his new receivers and stay healthy, then Buffalo could feature quite a potent dual-threat offense with LeSean McCoy and Jonathan Williams pounding the rock behind a very good offensive line.

Defensively, it’s hard to know what to expect under new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. There is some very nice talent at all three levels, and the Bills might be better than expected on this front.

Buffalo is an intriguing team heading into 2017. For the sake of #BillsMafia, we hope Ryan’s prediction proves true, because nearly two decades without a single sniff at the playoffs is just depressing.