After defeating the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day in an impressive fashion, the Buffalo Bills have placed themselves in prime position for a postseason run. Buffalo, holding a 9-3 record as of week 13, has quickly become one of the most underrated teams across football with their surplus quarterback play from Josh Allen, rise of a profound defense, and all-together, they’ve become contenders for a wild card position in the American Football Conference (commonly referred to as AFC). Although, the only obstacle that Buffalo has yet to overcome is their remaining schedule, as they face teams with an average winning percentage of .646 within the last four games of the season. If the Bills can overcome their rather difficult schedule, expect to see them play for the Lombardi Trophy from January to February.
Buffalo Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, has quickly become one of the most improved signal-caller in today’s NFL, as he has thrown for 2,591 passing yards (2,074 in 2018), 16 passing touchdowns (10 in 2018), eight interceptions (12 in 2018), and has had an average yards per attempt (commonly referred to as Y/A) of 7.1 through 12 starts in the 2019 season. Along with his improved passing statistical measures, Allen has been a consistent threat in the rushing attack, as he has rushed for 430 yards and eight touchdowns, while carrying the ball 93 times in 12 contests, all according to Pro Football Reference. In his second year as a starter, Allen has impressed many teammates, including veteran wide receiver, Cole Beasley, who stated that “I feel like [Josh] has gotten better every game. But he’s still young. He’s only in his second year. Nobody can not get better. I’m in my eighth year, you know what I mean? The sky’s really is the limit for him. He has all the tools. He wants it, man. He works. There’s really no moment that’s too big for him, and through the ups and downs, he stays level,” Beasley said after week nine’s contest against the Washington Redskins, according to CBS Sports Radio. Overall, Allen’s vast rise to success has given the Bills a chance to win postseason games, especially when comparing them to last season’s underachieving, six-win team.
The Rise of Buffalo’s Defense:
While the new-look offense may be the biggest improvement on this season’s Bills team, Buffalo’s defense is without question the biggest strength of the team, as they’ve surrendered just 15.7 points per game (commonly referred to as PPG), making them more efficient on the defensive side of the ball in comparison to 2018 where they allowed an average of 23.4 PPG, according to TeamRankings. In addition to being statistically dominant defensively, the Bills added defensive lineman Ed Oliver to the mix (who has greatly improved their pass rush), and he has produced five sacks and seven QB hits through 12 games of his rookie season. Oliver will likely serve as an impactful defensive tackle for the foreseeable future, as he was described as an “elite athlete with high-end foot quickness, agility, and fluidity” by NFL analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. Overall, while the overall rushing defense has yet to significantly improve (allowing 104.2 rushing yards per game per TeamRankings), Buffalo’s passing defense has allowed just 195.8 yards per game (on average), which can more than carry the entire defensive side of the ball, especially against pass-heavy teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, if they were to match-up with them in the postseason.
As of week 13, the Bills hold a 9-3 record, and hold the fifth seed in the AFC, with a 95% chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. In addition to having an opportunity at a position in the playoffs, the Bills could potentially win the AFC East division by winning the remaining four games of their schedule, while the New England Patriots would have to lose two of their remaining games, including the week 16 match-up against Buffalo. The Bills has not only overachieved this season in terms of winning against relatively competitive teams such as the Titans and Bills, but they’ve also impressed NFL analyst Michael Silver, who believes the Bills “could be a tough match-up in the playoffs.” In conclusion, if the Bills can win the remaining games on their schedule, they should be in a prime position for a deep playoff run, depending on the seeding.