Whole Nine Sports

Buffalo Bills: Best Team in the AFC

Buffalo Bills
Russell Jakubowski
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The Bills surged last season and recorded their first ten-win season since 1999, now they have all the pieces together to be the best team in the AFC. The AFC features some of the hardest competition in the NFL, Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, The Baltimore Ravens who had the NFL’s best record at 14-2, the Steelers who will be getting Ben Roethlisberger back, and the Titans who ran the table all the way to the AFC Championship game. The Bills had one of the NFL’s best defenses last year and one of the NFL’s most average offenses. The Bills made huge acquisitions, one in particular, that will retooled the offense this offseason and they’re primed to be the team to beat in the AFC.

It all starts at the top, the Bills have one of the NFL’s best general managers in Brandon Beane. Coach Sean McDermott is a great motivator and defensive mastermind. McDermott masterminded the Carolina Panthers 2016 Super Bowl defense. They have two stellar coordinators in Leslie Frazier and Brian Daboll.  Daboll was rumored to be in some head coaching conversations including the Cleveland Browns. Frazier led a Bills defense that gave up the second-fewest points and third-fewest yards.

Josh Allen

The Bills offense was spearheaded by second-year quarterback Josh Allen who showed substantial growth from his 2018 rookie season, he set new highs in passing yards, better completion percentage, passing touchdowns, and fewer interceptions. Josh Allen should get even better with two years’ experience under his belt. They gained superstar wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs is one of the NFL’s best route runners and is dangerous with the ball in his hands, he was fourth in yards per reception.

The other stars on the Bills offense are strong, they have John “Smoke” Brown who racked up over 1,000 yards for the second time in his career. Rookie Devin Singletary rushed for 775 yards in only 12 games and had 5.1 yards per carry. They have an exceptional slot receiver in Cole Beasley, who excels as a possession, quick check down receiver. Dawson Knox did very well at tight end, the position is known for having arguably the NFL’s biggest learning curve. Knox is an efficient run blocker and just needs to work on lessening his drops.

Ed Oliver

The Buffalo Bills offensive line remained steady in the sacks allowed department but they did slightly regress from 41 to 43. The run blocking increased drastically and the team could finally utilize an efficient running game. They retained all five starters from last season while adding Daryl Williams, Brian Winters, and Evan Boehm for depth.

The defensive front four is stacked with talent, they have 2019 top ten pick Ed Oliver who recorded five sacks on just 54% of snaps. They signed Mario Addison who has 38.5 sacks in total over the last four seasons and drafted Iowa star A.J. Epenesa in the second round. Jerry Hughes has been the long term staple of the Buffalo defensive line since 2013 and that will continue in 2020.

The Bills linebacker core is commanded by Pro Bowl middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Edmunds is a pro at stopping the run and defending the pass. Edmunds will only get better through experience and has plenty of time to grow at only 22 years old. Matt Milano sets career highs in tackles and passes defended. He is an athletic off-ball linebacker who can cover and blow up the run, he is a great blitzer and has his timings down as well. A.J. Klein was signed from New Orleans last season, he played a majority of snaps there and was a solid tackler in his time. They also added a stand out special teamer in Tyler Matakevich from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tre'Davious White

The secondary is their strong position group, they have two pro bowlers and a washed pro bowler. Tre’Davious White was the gem of the entire defense, he intercepted six passes and allowed the second-lowest passer rating in the NFL. The other corners playing opposite of him aren’t quite as strong. The Bills hope for the former Pro Bowler Josh Norman of old when he was a superstar in McDermott’s Carolina defense. They have one of the NFL’s best safety duos in ball hawk Micah Hyde and hard-hitting Jordan Poyer.

The final results for the offense are a growing quarterback, one of the NFL’s best receiving core and a revamped run game. The Buffalo Bills defense is still one of the NFL’s best and it added depth at most levels. This team will at a minimum make a deep postseason run and should be considered the frontrunners in the AFC.