For the first time in almost 20 years, the Buffalo Bills are in a Tom Brady-less AFC East. Although the odds to win the division still peg the Pats as favorites, they are giving the Bills some respect. This is due to Brady’s departure and the talent the Bills sport on both sides of the ball. Not only that, both the Jets and Fins are looking to rebuild.
Buffalo Bills’ 2020 Schedule
The Bills will play their own division, the AFC West, the NFC West, plus the Titans and Steelers. It’s the fifth-hardest schedule according to the NFL strength of the schedule rankings, but the easiest among the four teams in the division. The sportsbook sets their Over-Under for regular-season wins at 8.5 games.
|Week 1||Sept. 13||New York Jets|
|Week 2||Sept. 20||at Miami Dolphins|
|Week 3||Sept. 27||Los Angeles Rams|
|Week 4||Oct. 4||at Las Vegas Raiders|
|Week 5||Oct. 11||at Tennessee Titans|
|Week 6||Oct. 15||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Week 7||Oct. 25||at New York Jets|
|Week 8||Nov. 1||New England Patriots|
|Week 9||Nov. 8||Seattle Seahawks|
|Week 10||Nov. 15||at Arizona Cardinals|
|Week 11||Nov. 22||BYE WEEK|
|Week 12||Nov. 29||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Week 13||Dec. 7||at San Francisco 49ers|
|Week 14||Dec. 13||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Week 15||Dec. 19||at Denver Broncos|
|Week 16||Dec. 28||at New England Patriots|
|Week 17||Jan. 3||Miami Dolphins|
Following a disappointing 6-10 season, the Bills knew that failure was not an option, and they got out to a quick 4-1 start before their Week 6 bye. They matched their six wins from the previous season on November 3rd against the Redskins, and entered the month of December with a 9-3 record.
Even though they lost three of their last four regular-season contests, the Bills finished 10-6 and clinched a playoff spot during Week 15 against the Steelers. This marked their second time making the postseason in three years, as well as the first time they’ve won 10 or more games since their 11-win season in 1999. However, their postseason win drought is up to 25 years following a 22-19 loss in overtime to the Texans in the AFC Wild Card round. Despite racking up an early 16-0 lead, the Bills were still unable to break that nasty drought.
The heart of Buffalo’s success in 2019 was their defense. They averaged just 16.5 points allowed per game, the second-lowest in the NFL. They also ranked fourth with 195.2 passing yards allowed and 298.3 total yards allowed per game. The offense was a different story. Other than rushing yards, the Bills sat in the bottom-third of the league in most offensive categories. Buffalo was 23rd with 19.6 points per game and 24th in total yards per game with 330.2.
Among the key players returning this season is third-year QB Josh Allen, who Buffalo drafted seventh overall in 2018. Allen’s mobility and athleticism flash at times, but more consistency will be needed for the Bills to take the next step. He finished 2019 with 3,089 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 85.3 passer rating. Albeit, he played very poorly in the Bills’ Wild Card match, finishing the day with a 69.5 passer rating. Moving forward, the Bills have a competent, young quarterback who now has some postseason experience under his belt.
The team received a boost last season with the breakout of rookie RB Devin Singletary, who has a firm hold of the starting job entering the season. Singletary finished the year with 775 rushing yards and two touchdowns, but he did have four fumbles. WRs John Brown and Cole Beasley are another two players on offense who are returning.
The defense is full of playmakers in each position group. Along the defensive line, the Bills boast DE Jerry Hughes as well as stud DTs Star Lotulelei and Ed Oliver. Pro Bowl LB Tremaine Edmunds headlines the linebacker group, while All-Pro CB Tre’Davious White is one of the top corners in football.
By far and away, the biggest splash made by the Bills this offseason was acquiring a true number one receiver in Vikings WR Stefon Diggs. Buffalo traded away four draft picks, including this year’s first-rounder, to acquire Diggs in the hopes that he and Allen will develop a strong connection immediately. In addition to Diggs, the Bills continued to add pieces to their strong defense, signing Panthers DE Mario Addison for three years as well as his teammate DT Vernon Butler, plus former Seahawks DT Quinton Jefferson. Buffalo also added Saints LB A.J. Klein and took a chance on former Redskins All-Pro CB Josh Norman. Along the offensive line, they continued to add former Panthers, signing OT Daryl Williams.
Stefon Diggs is a Buffalo Bill. 😱 pic.twitter.com/7gFL6IHoGR
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) April 24, 2020
For the draft, Buffalo didn’t make a selection until the second round after trading away pick number 22 to the Vikings for Diggs. In the second round, the Bills landed Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa, who will see plenty of time on the field right away. They targeted offense for the majority of their remaining picks, selecting Utah RB Zack Moss as well as UCF WR Gabriel Davis and Oregon State WR Isaiah Hodgins. They also drafted an intriguing QB option in the fifth round in Georgia’s Jake Fromm.
Buffalo’s defense will likely still be very good this fall, but a few key members from last year’s group are gone. Along the line, DE Shaq Lawson signed a multi-year deal with the Dolphins, while DT Jordan Phillips agreed to join the Cardinals. CB Kevin Johnson also signed a deal with the Browns. Elsewhere on the defense, longtime LB Lorenzo Alexander retired while both DT Corey Liuget and S Kurt Coleman remain free agents. Their biggest subtraction on offense was veteran RB Frank Gore, who signed with the division-rival Jets.
As mentioned earlier, the AFC East seems ripe for the taking – mainly due to Brady’s departure from New England. The Pats will now turn to former MVP Cam Newton to lead their offense. Newton will be joined by WR Julian Edelman and RBs Sony Michel and James White. The defense should still be good, but LBs Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins left in free agency. Buffalo went 0-2 against them last season.
The Jets, who went 7-9 last season, bolstered the offensive line in front of QB Sam Darnold. They added a couple of veterans in free agency, while also drafting Louisville OT Mekhi Becton in the first round. They also have RB Le’Veon Bell and S Jamal Adams, but are still a young team that will experience growing pains. Buffalo split the season series with them in 2019.
Then there are the Dolphins, who are the ultimate wild card team. Miami tanked last season and finished at 5-11, but enter this year with a new-looking roster. They signed not only Lawson and Van Noy, but also Cowboys CB Byron Jones and Redskins OG Ereck Flowers. They also had three first-round picks, headlined by Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. This is a group that could make a push for a Wild Card spot or bomb, but they’ll be an intriguing opponent for Buffalo, who won both matchups in 2019.
Buffalo Bills’ Offense
The Bills’ running game earned high marks last season, ranking 7th overall with an average of 130.94 yards per game. The passing game, however, had a tougher time. In the end, they finished 27th in the league in passing, with 204.8 yards per game.
Scoring was mediocre for Buffalo and they finished 23rd in the league, putting up just 19.6 per outing. Ultimately, it was their running game, coupled with that strong defense, allowing Buffalo to achieve a 10-6 record and a Wild Card berth in 2019.
If their offense can develop and improve, the Bills could be a frontrunner for this division.
Buffalo Bills’ Defense
As abovementioned, the defense was truly Buffalo’s strength during the 2019 NFL regular season. They finished 2nd in points allowed (16.5), 4th in passing yards allowed (196.5), and 11th against the run (105.4). Since they were weaker against the run, it’s not surprising to see they ranked 17th in time on-field.
Granted, it’s likely that Buffalo’s offense also contributed to this stat. And since Buffalo’s defense ranked 4th in yards per play, pinning the blame on the Bills’ offense seems like the right thing to do.
If Buffalo is to win the AFC East in 2020, they’ll absolutely need their defense to pick up where it left off last season.
What is the Buffalo Bills’ all-time record?
Who owns the Buffalo Bills?
Kim and Terry Pegula.
How many Super Bowls have the Buffalo Bills won?
The Bills have won zero Super Bowls. However, they have made 4 Super Bowl appearances and have two AFL Championships to their name.
Who is the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills?