The 2019 NFL season seems like it will be one of the most competitive in a long time. While some teams, like the Patriots and Saints, are still heavy favorites to win their respective divisions, the race for the playoffs looks to be a tough one overall. There are a few teams in particular who have quietly improved over this past offseason. Although these teams did not make the playoffs this past season and will still likely struggle to make the playoffs this season, they’ve placed themselves in a much better position to have a chance. The 2019 Buffalo Bills are one of the teams with a chance to break into the postseason this year.
Under-the-Radar Risers 2019: Buffalo Bills
2018 Record 6-10
While the New York Jets are the heavy favorites to take the number two spot in the AFC East, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Bills were able to earn it instead.
The Bills were quietly the number two ranked defense in the league last season, ahead of the Chicago Bears. That the Bills defense doesn’t have a single superstar player and can still be so effective is a testament to Sean McDermott’s scheme and ability as a coach. That is impressive, and the defense looks to be getting even better this season.
The Bills had the second-best pass defense last season with an injured Tre’Davious White. White seems to have made a full recovery and appears to be having a phenomenal camp. If there was a weakness on this defense, it was definitely up front. By drafting Ed Oliver, the Bills have almost entirely mitigated this issue. If Tremaine Edmunds can make a year two jump and live up to his first-round potential, the Bills’ defense may remain without weakness for the coming season.
Obviously, with such a good defense, the offense must have been atrocious for the Bills to still go 6-10. It was. Josh Allen only hit on 52.8% of his targets. To be fair to him, he was playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and throwing to one of the NFL’s worst group of receivers. This issue was also largely mitigated this offseason. Speedster John Brown seems to be building good chemistry with Josh Allen and his cannon arm. The two have the potential to become a dangerous combo. The Bills also added Cole Beasley in the slot.
The Bills added seven new offensive linemen this offseason, including center Mitch Morse and rookie tackle/guard Cody Ford. Mitch Morse has been one of the best centers in the league when healthy. At the moment, Ford is slated to play right tackle. However, with Ty Nsekhe challenging incumbent Dion Dawkins for the left tackle spot, Ford might get to play at right guard. This would prospectively leave left guard as the only weak link on the line.
Unfortunately for the Bills, both of their anticipated starting tight ends, Tyler Kroft and Dawson Knox, are injured. Tommy Sweeny has been impressive in the reps he’s gotten due to their injuries, however. There’s a chance that although the tight end situation seems poor at first, tight end becomes a position of strength for the bills down the line.
Last Word on the Buffalo Bills
The Bills have a great defense and it looks to be even better this coming season. The offense was terrible last season but has been completely revamped for this year’s campaign. If the offense can play at just an average level, the defense might be able to carry the Bills to a successful 2019.
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