Sam Schneider | June 5th, 2020
During their 60th NFL season in 2019, the Buffalo Bills finished with a record of 10-6, which was good for second in the AFC East. They booked a trip to the playoffs for the second time in three years but were unable to secure their first postseason win since 1995 after a heartbreaking overtime loss to Houston and turned their sights to 2020 free agency and the draft.
Tom Brady is gone from New England, but the defense is still there. The Dolphins and Jets continue to make strides towards competing, yet one can’t help but feel that this is a two-team race. The Bills brought in several veterans during free agency, not knowing at the time that the move could be particularly savvy as the COVD-19 restrictions have limited workouts, and the more experience they have on the roster, the better. We’ll start with those vets as we look at five bold predictions for Buffalo in the 2020 season.
Make sure to check out all of our other team bold predictions here.
Defense finishes first in the NFL
This is a no-brainer. Leslie Frazier has a group that finished second in the NFL in points allowed for 2019, trailing only the division rival Patriots. Buffalo tallied 44 sacks, 16 forced fumbles (recovering nine), and picked off 14 passes. Even still, the Bills added to the defensive unit in free agency. Although they lost a vocal veteran in Lorenzo Alexander, they also went out and added Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson (who can play multiple positions), and second-round draft pick A.J. Epenesa, who should make an impact in his first season. The defensive front is stacked, and teams will struggle to move the ball against the Bills again in 2020.
Tyler Bass sets two records
Bass, the sixth-round pick out of Georgia Southern may steal the show in Buffalo. Thanks to some iffy red zone play by the offense, he will set the single season mark for most points by a kicker (currently David Akers’ 166 points in 2011). Not only that, but he will also knock through a 65-yard kick to break Matt Prater’s record of 64 which has stood since 2013. Prater did have the luxury of playing in the thin air of Mile High Stadium, but with a touch of help from the wind, Bass absolutely has the leg to do it, as evidenced by a pretty impressive video of him nailing a 60-yarder from a standstill.
Josh Norman has a resurgence
The aging veteran has been labeled as “washed up” by more than a few talking heads after an ugly 2019 that saw him battle a hamstring injury and eventually ending up benched towards the close of the season. Buffalo is hoping that reunification with head coach Sean McDermott (his defensive coach in Carolina) is the cure for the 2015 First Team All Pro’s issues. Their gamble (just $6 million dollar deal plus incentives) pays off as Norman immediately meshes with Tre’Davious White and they form a scary tandem in the secondary. The 32-year old will not ever return to the form he had from 2014-2016, but he proves he’s still got gas in the tank and sets himself up for a more lucrative 2021 offseason.
John Brown hits 1,300 yards receiving
As the shiny new toy in Buffalo, Stefon Diggs is going to see his fair share of targets and catches but it will be the veteran that benefits most from his arrival. If quarterback Josh Allen can continue to improve his completion percentage (52.8% in 2018 to 58.8% in 2019), everyone will reap the rewards. In 2019, Brown was perhaps the most under-the-radar receiver to anyone outside of Buffalo, quietly racking up 72 catches and over 1,000 yards. He did that partially from lack of alternative options but having a threat like Diggs lining up on the other side only helps him. Brown is unlikely to duplicate his almost 15 yards per catch from last season but will get more chances to show off his skills in the open field as Diggs draws additional coverage.
The Bills win the AFC East
This probably does not sound terribly bold, as everyone is pointing at Buffalo ever since the departure of Brady from the Patriots. That said, their division mates in New England still have an outstanding defense, an offensive playbook that favors a young quarterback and a coach that will not go quietly into the night. The Bills defense is poised for a big year while the offense improves on last season’s numbers and after dismantling the Dolphins on January 3rd, they end an 11-year Patriots reign by celebrating a division title.
Questions and comments?
Hit us up on the Socials:
Check out our Facebook Group where you can read and post articles at The Scorecrow
Reddit Group where everyone can post without fear of being banned at The Scorecrow
Follow Sam Schneider on Twitter @BuyAndSellYou
Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images