The Buffalo Bills in 2019 had a great season and reached the AFC playoffs. The Bills came up short, but it was a long-awaited return for Buffalo to get back into the playoff win column. The Bills haven’t won a playoff game dating back to 1995 and are now are on a 25 year playoff win drought.
But 2020 will be different.
Another year under head coach Sean McDermott can only produce better results. The Bills looked to be light on pro-bowl talent in 2019, but the Bills might actually have the deepest roster as far as quality players across the board. Buffalo had three pro-bowl players on the roster from 2019, and it was anchored by star CB Tre’Davious White. The 2020 Bills looked to achieve a few things in the draft, but
increasing scoring was the key need. The Bills added a pair of wide receivers and a running back. Reports suggest WR Gabe Davis will start and play this season. The same goes for the 86th overall pick, RB Zack Moss. The Bills had a glaring issue last season, and that was in the kicking game. A new kicker was
brought in via the NFL Draft and Tyler Bass has secured the kicking duties this season. The Bills have also recently released Steven Hauschka. A combination of these picks could provide the help the Bills are looking for on the offensive side of the ball. Star wide receiver Stefon Diggs has departed Minnesota and now lands in Buffalo to help even out the Bills' passing game behind quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills offense as a whole should be much improved for the 2020 season.
PHOTO CREDIT: BUFFALO NEWS
Now, let’s talk defense.
Overall, this Bills defense was very good last season. They ranked 3rd overall in yards surrendered on defense in 2019. They were 4th in pass defense and 10th in rush defense. But the Bills still wanted depth and improvement on that side of the ball, so they beefed up the defense line and linebacking core with key free agency and draft moves. LB AJ Klein will assume a linebacker role who can provide added value in the pass and run defense. The Bills drafted Iowa DL AJ Espinosa, who is trending to be a starter this season.
All in all, the Bills' defensive line might be ranked #1 or #2 by season’s end. League veteran CB Josh Norman also works his way into the Bills' defensive fold. This should provide the Bills with depth, veteran leadership and a suffocating nickel defensive package. In my preseason rankings I have this Bills defense ranked #1 overall vaulting past my 2019 #1 overall defense in the San Francisco 49ers. The Bills also ranked #12 in sacks last season and ended up only +4 in turnovers. That I believe will change in a big way and provide Buffalo with even more wins this season. The Bills' season win total at most sportsbooks is set at 8.5 or 9.
One of the big benefits this season for the Bills is the lack of quality opposing offensive lines they will face in the 2020 season. The Bills are slated to play only three top 10 offensive lines this season. With a deeper and more talented defense coming into 2020, I believe they will increase both the sacks and turnovers by a good statistical margin from the 2019 season. One of the hidden values for this Bills defense might be the quality of quarterbacks they will see as a whole in 2020. The Bills will play in seven games against QB’s who threw double-digit interceptions last season.
The Bills will rely on DC Leslie Frazier, who is in his 4th year now, to get this defense to that #1 overall
defensive ranking. OC Brian Daboll, an Alabama and Patriots clone, will once ahead head this improving
offensive with newly-added weapons.
There is also a bright spot from 2019 that might be asked to do more not only from his coaches, but also from himself: RB Devin Singletary. Singletary was a key part of the Bills offense last season, gaining 775 rushing yards for an eye-popping 5.1 ypc. That’s very good, but he will need to do a great job as the Bills #1 because Zack Moss from Utah is gunning for carries. It looks to be a Thunder-and-Lightning combination for 2020 in the Bills' backfield. Moss has the power to break tackles as he ranked 8th in CFB last season in yards after contact. So the pressure will be on Singletary to keep his motor fresh and running as Moss is waiting in the wings. This one-two punch from the Bills will be much more effective with NFL all-time great Frank Gore opting now with the Jets. The Bills now have a much more youthful and explosive core in the backfield.
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY
Josh Allen and his growth will be the key this upcoming NFL season. Allen was an average passing
quarterback with a great upside with his running capabilities. Allen finished 2019 with just over 3,000
passing yards with 20 TD’s on the season. His big issue was in the turnover department, throwing nine
INT’s and fumbling the ball seven times, but only losing two. If Allen can be a more secure quarterback and use his new weapons to their strengths, this Bills offense could be very tough to compete with. The Buffalo Bills' schedule for this 2020 season is going to be one of the biggest driver’s behind a pick I
will reveal at this article's end. The Bills' schedule is far easier than it was in 2019. Buffalo will play 10 games against non-playoff teams from last year. The Patriots are looking to be a team in turmoil and the Dolphins and Jets are still a few years away. One key thing for the Bills in regards to the schedule is the home games. They play some of their toughest games at home against the Steelers, Seahawks and Chiefs. The tough road games this season would include Broncos, Titans and 49ers. I believe the Bills could potentially win 2 out of those 3 road games. Buffalo will also have 4 primetime games this season.
The toughest of those games will both be at home against KC and Pitt. That can only benefit the Bills against those two teams. Buffalo will have a tough stretch and it will include that same Kansas City team. Weeks 4, 5, and 6 will be the Bills' biggest challenge as they play back-to-back road games followed by a short week hosting KC in primetime. I see the Bills starting out the season 4-0 or 3-1. That tough stretch of games as mentioned above for weeks 4, 5 and 6 could provide a negative result. Week 7 through the final regular season game shouldn’t give the Bills much trouble. If the Bills can manage to squeeze out even two of the hardest games this season, I see no reason Buffalo can’t win 11 or 12 games. I think the ceiling for this Bills team is 13 wins.
I would suggest making a few wagers on this Bills team prior to week 1 kickoff, including Bills to win the
division at +120. The Patriots are the only real threat to Buffalo in the AFC East division, but the Patriots will be down this season. This is the one real chance the Bills have to not only win this division, but win it convincingly. I also like the "to make the playoffs" wager for Buffalo at -180. I think this Bills team finishes 12-4 this season. I also believe they will win their first playoff game and end the drought of no playoff wins in two and a half decades.