For the first time in a quarter-century, Buffalo is taking the AFC East. By multiple games. And for good measure, the Bills are going to notch their first playoff victory since that division-title-winning group completely overwhelmed Dan Marino’s Dolphins in what was then called Rich Stadium. The droughts end this season, Bills Mafia. The fine football fans out in lovely Western New York are gonna party like it’s 1995.
Yes, with great hype comes great pressure. Last offseason, I christened Buffalo as my Cinderella team for the 2019 campaign, and the Bills reached double-digit wins for the first time this millennium before losing in overtime at Houston on Wild Card Weekend. This offseason, the Bills bandwagon’s filling up, especially with Tom Brady out of the division and Stefon Diggs on the roster. The most important individual figure, though, might be Sean McDermott. In Year 4 on the job, McDermott’s a gem of a head coach; he’ll have Buffalo ready to meet the great Jim Kelly’s lofty expectations. McDermott’s fingerprints are all over the ferocious defense, which boasts playmakers on every level, including a pair of young Pro Bowlers in LB Tremaine Edmunds and CB Tre’Davious White.
On the other side of the ball, QB Josh Allen took great strides as a thrower in Year 2, boosting his touchdown passes (20, up from 10 in his rookie campaign), completion percentage (58.8, up from 52.8) and quarterback rating (85.3, up from 67.9), while reducing his interceptions (9, down from 12). Not to mention, nobody had more fourth-quarter comebacks (4) or game-winning drives (5) than Allen in 2019. I think, under the watchful eye of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, the 24-year-old takes another big step forward this season. In fact, as I wrote last month, I see Allen blossoming into a dark-horse MVP candidate, with Diggs now headlining a stellar receiving trio that also includes John Brown and Cole Beasley.