It might feel like panic time if you’re a Buffalo Bills fan. After back-to-back primetime losses, it seems like many of the newly-acquired bandwagon riders have decided to jump off. However, when taking a big picture look at the team as a whole so far this season, the Bills are enjoying a resurgence like never before. The timing couldn’t be any more perfect as the AFC East seems to be up for grabs with the New England Patriots being in an unfamiliar and vulnerable place. As it currently stands, the Bills find themselves sitting atop the AFC East at 4-2, and they’ve had success largely because of the play of Allen.
Through six games, Allen ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yardage and has exceeded expectations in his third year. What’s left Buffalo fans optimistic is that his valleys aren’t as bad as they have been in the past. For instance, in Buffalo’s loss against the Tennessee Titans, he still completed 63% of his passes—which was better than his overall average the past two years. In fact, heading into the Chiefs game, Allen had a 69.3% completion percentage, 8.4 yards per attempt, and a 113.0 passer rating—far and away the best season of his career thus far.
However, it remains to be seen if Allen has progressed enough as a passer to propel the Bills to a deep playoff run. In my estimation, if they are to make a deep playoff run to the AFC Championship Game or Super Bowl, they have to win in multiple ways.
Defensively, they’ll have to return to the stellar play they’ve enjoyed the past couple of years. Over the past two seasons, their secondary had played at an elite level, finishing in the top five for two consecutive seasons. This year, they are ranked near the bottom of the NFL in pass defense. The run defense has been even worse. In Monday’s game against the Chiefs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 162 yards at a 6.2 yards per carry clip. That will not get it done if Buffalo has championship aspirations.
Offensively, they have to run the ball better. Devin Singletary was drafted with so much promise in mind. However, he has yet to become the big-play back they’d hoped he would be. Zack Moss returned Monday, but his impact was also minimal.
Ultimately, Buffalo will go as far as Allen takes them, but he needs help. Allen’s had some outstanding moments as a passer this year. However, his accuracy has still been inconsistent. Even on his completions against Kansas City, it seems as if he rarely gives the receiver a chance to run with the football after the catch. Obviously his strong arm and athleticism are a luxury that all quarterbacks wish they had, but this team has not progressed enough to win one-dimensionally.
In order for the Bills to advance deep into the playoffs, they will need to win collectively. They will need to run the ball effectively and Allen has to play better than he played on Monday night and eliminate the negative plays which plagued him last season. Defensively, their front needs to stop the run better, which will also help their pass defense that’s plummeted in 2020. Ultimately, Buffalo has to play better collectively and at the right time in order for them to reach their ultimate potential and win the AFC East this year, which hasn’t been done since 1995. Buffalo fans are hopeful that the Bills will not only do that, but also have an extensive playoff run this year.
- Dec 08, 2022
- Dec 08, 2022