The New England Patriots are on their way down in the AFC East Finally.
There is a New Sheriff in town, and they are the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills proved to be a hard team to beat this season. In addition to the scrubs like the FIns, Giants, and Skins, they got wins over the Titans, Steelers, Cowboys, and Patriots. And they were just a hair’s breadth away from beating the Houston Texans and moving on to the AFC Divisional round.
But what’s next? Are the Bills going to rule the East? And what do they need to do to stand on top as kings of the hill? The Bills are on the early Futures NFL odds boards to win the 2021 Super Bowl at +4000 IMO this number massively under-values Buffalo
Josh Allen has improved leaps and bounds in just one year. In the 2018 season, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns and had a passer rating of just 67.9 along with a completion percentage just barely over .500 (52.8). He did nudge the yardage stat just past the 2000-yard mark. But in 2019 he dropped 3,089 yards on his opponents, passed for 20 TDs with just 9 INTs and finished with a passer rating of 85.3. These numbers are so much better!
That said, he was still inconsistent at times and the Buffalo offense found it difficult to put up points. They rank back at No. 23 with just 19.3 points per game scored and averaged just 14 in their last three games. If Josh Allen gets his completion percentage up, the Bills were still dead last in the league, at least to the league average and I think he will the Bills will be in a much better position to put points on the board more often.
Allen has grown leaps and bounds. But he still has some work to do. Especially when it comes to just settling down and avoiding herky-jerky, frantic plays. Once this happens, he will turn into one of the league’s greats.
Keep the Defense in Tact
It didn’t matter that the Bills were in the bottom two-thirds of scoring offenses because the defense didn’t let other teams score for the most part. They finished with the No. 2 scoring defense in the league at 16.5 per game allowed, which is a full two points better than the Baltimore Ravens’ No. 3 defense.
They played particularly well in the second quarter, allowing just 3.6 on average, good enough for the top spot in this stat. Although the Bills were No. 4 at keeping teams from racking up yards, the fact that they are No. 2 in scoring speaks volumes about their Red Zone defense.
There is a lot of talk about replacing Shaq Lawson. They say things like, DEs should get more sacks, Shaq Lawson only got 6.5 sacks, the DEs only combined for 17 of the team sacks ok sure. But the team still got sacks and a ton of pressure from elsewhere. They have the No. 2 scoring defense in the league; the setup works. Why mess with it? Especially since the guys coming up on the market are going to cost a pretty penny.
If they want a truly elite DE, like Clowney, Quinn, or Ngakoue they are going to have to dip into the coffers for at least 90 million. What kind of mess would that cause with the cap? What other pieces would they have to let go to fix something that isn’t really broken?
The wise thing to do would be to try and keep the defensive unit as intact as possible and focus on moving the pieces around on the offensive side of the board. Cole Beasley and John Brown were wise decisions and should be kept on board. TY Nsekhe at tackle and Jon Feliciano at guard should stay. Quinton Spain will probably stay. But LaAdrian Waddle could go. Spencer Long should be sold off. Jake Fisher is expendable and Tyler Kroft is also on my chopping block. TJ Yeldon should also find a new home. The offense also needs to do something with TJ Yeldon. EIther find a better way to utilize him or trade him for someone who fits the program.
If the defense remains intact (with a few exceptions) and the offense gets a bit of an upgrade, especially at TE, Guard, and an RB who can actually trade snaps with Gore, the Bills could make a deep run into the playoffs in 2020, perhaps even win the AFC.