Could the Buffalo Bills be a Dark Horse Contender in 2020?

Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Brayden Ramsay, Sports Writer


When thinking about the 2019 NFL Playoffs, the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, and maybe even the Tennessee Titans may come to mind. Is there a good chance that these teams will have a solid chance to get back to contention for a Super Bowl appearance? Absolutely. But what if I told you that one playoff team from last season could be a sleeper-pick for a deep playoff run in 2020?

Tom Brady’s final season as the signal-caller for the New England Patriots won them the AFC East for the 17th time in 19 seasons, but it’s the team that finished in second place in that division that has NFL fans excited about what’s coming.

The Buffalo Bills finished 2019 with a 14-7 record behind the big arm of Josh Allen and a defense that finished among the top in the NFL. Although they squeaked into the playoffs in a wildcard spot, the Bills made a statement in Houston before falling to the Texans in overtime.

What has Buffalo done since that fateful day that ended their 2019 campaign?

First off, let’s talk about defense. The Bills signed a defensive back named Josh Norman who was a part of the Carolina Panthers Super Bowl team back in February 2016. Norman has solidified himself as one of the top corners in the game and is likely to continue his defensive dominance lining up alongside some of the best cornerbacks in the league.

The Bills defense is stacked. Not only is former Ute Star Lotulelei plugging up holes on the defensive line, but the Bills also have lots of young talent at the linebacker and defensive back positions. Tremaine Edmunds is one of the top young linebackers in the league and reached his first Pro Bowl in his second season. Having the defensive line and linebackers violently rushing the backfield of opposing teams will force quarterbacks to make quick decisions. Those decisions just got a lot harder with Norman added to a talented group.

Norman will probably line up on the opposite side of the field as another Pro Bowler in Tre’Davious White. Those two, paired with Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde at safety, should help the Bills finish as a top defensive team once again in 2020.

Secondly, Josh Allen is arguably one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL. Allen is entering his third year in the league and has already led the Bills to a playoff appearance. His strong arm, running ability, and confident mentality could be a great asset for Buffalo for many years to come.

Among other reasons why Allen is so confident is his supporting cast of wide receivers. In 2019, the Bills added a sure-handed Cole Beasley in free agency, while also picking up a rising star in John Brown from the Ravens. If the Bills could only add one more speedy, sure-handed receiver to make things even more difficult for opposing defenses, they might be contenders for the AFC East against a Tom Brady-less New England Patriots.

On March 16, the Bills did just that with the addition of Stefon Diggs. Diggs is entering his sixth season in the NFL from the University of Maryland and was a top target for Kirk Cousins during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Diggs is known for his “Miracle in Minnesota” catch that catapulted the Vikings into the NFC Championship game in 2018 before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles. Known for his speed and hands that can catch almost anything, Diggs is going to benefit from the air attack for the Bills tremendously.

In an interview with NFL Total Access, Deion “Prime Time” Sanders said, “The first thing that comes to mind [when talking about the best offseason moves] is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but I’m going to dig a little deeper. I like the Buffalo Bills.” Sanders continued, “Defensively they’re within the top three or four among the league. Then you go out there and add a Stefon Diggs and Josh Norman to coincide with Tre’Davious White which is arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the game. If they could go to the draft and find a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, I like it. And that kid at quarterback, Josh Allen. He has a grown man outside to throw to that can win one on ones and I love what they’re planting. Look for this team to ball out this season.”

Sanders isn’t the only analyst who’s liking the Buffalo Bills, Stephen A. Smith on ESPN First Take said, “Believe it or not, I like Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.” Smith continued. “First, the Buffalo Bills are exceptionally well-coached. Number two, this defense is real. They were number two overall, number three in yards allowed, and number four against the pass. They’ve got a secondary, that’s big time. Then you have to think about Josh Allen himself. I think his coming-out party was against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Because I watched this kid get released by (Sean) McDermott and he was allowed to use his legs to pull that off. The fact that you’ve acquired a Stefon Diggs from the Vikings is an additional weapon. In the end, with Tom Brady out, I think Josh Allen is in the best situation [in the AFC East] to succeed this upcoming season.”

I’ll add my voice to other analysts around the country. With the weapons that Buffalo has acquired this offseason, combined with the firepower that they already have, look for the Bills to be a dark horse contender in 2020. Watch also for the Bills fanbase to live up to their reputation of being some of the best in the NFL. Many exciting things are going to happen for the Bills Mafia.

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