AP Photo via Adrian Kraus
2019 was a breakout season for the Buffalo Bills. They won 10 games for the first time since 1999, and made the playoffs for only the second time since 1999. Led by a defense that ranked third in total defense and fourth in pass defense and a top ten rushing offense, the Bills were a solid team that established themselves as one of the NFL’s up and coming teams. The postseason, however, was heartbreaking for Bills’ Mafia as they lost 22-19 in overtime after blowing a 16-0 third quarter lead to the Houston Texans. Despite the loss, the Bills still have a bright future.
The Bills have gone to work this free agency period. They have signed defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson, Vernon Butler and Mario Addison to bolster their pass rush and rush defense. They have also signed cornerback and Josh Norman and linebacker AJ Klein to give them depth at positions they already have quality players at. The biggest move was giving up a first, fifth, sixth and a fourth-round pick next year to pick up Minnesota Vikings’ star wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
This move was made to boost what was a passing offense that ranked 26th last season. Josh Allen showed flashes as a good quarterback but in some ways, he was better as a running quarterback than a passing one. Diggs last season had eight receptions that totaled more than 40 yards. That is the same amount as the entire Bills team last season, so this trade is designed to make this offense more explosive. Josh Allen has proven to have a strong arm and having Diggs should allow him to utilize this trade.
2020 will be a big year for the Bills. The New England Patriots have won the division every year since 2001 except for 2002 and 2008 and have dominated the Bills for the last two decades. However, the quarterback responsible for that reign of terror, Tom Brady, has left to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Currently, the Patriots still have not improved their weak receiving corp and have not found a replacement for Brady. This means that the Bills, coming off a 10-6 season, are in prime position to take over the AFC East now that the dynasty in New England appears to be over. The Bills must take advantage of this new situation if they are going to be true contenders in the NFL.
2020 is also a big year for Josh Allen. He showed flashes a season ago but hardly looked like the quarterback that could lift a franchise on his shoulders and carry them. His wide receiving corp left some to be desired but now, they have one of the league’s best deep threats. Allen has good weapons and a defense that should be even better this season. There are no more excuses for Allen to fail next season.
The Patriots’ dynasty seems over, the Bills added depth on defense and an explosive weapon on offense. There is no reason why the Bills cannot at least win the division this season. Their core looks solid but if they cannot deliver this season, changes may need to be made this time next year.