Not only are the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl contenders, but they have a chance to be a truly special team. Predicting the Bills to win the championship isn't even bold; Vegas has them as the favorites.
I'll explain why the Bills are not only Super Contenders but might be one of the best teams we've seen in a while.
Buffalo Bills, Championship or Bust
Last year in the playoffs, Josh Allen painted his masterpiece. Against the New England Patriots, who were a top-five defense by any metric you use, Allen went 21/25, completing 84% of his passes for 308 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. According to Pro Football Reference, that was good for a 157.6 QB rating and an eye-popping 16 Adjusted Yards Gained per Pass Attempt (AY/A). It wasn't even a contest, the Bills won 47-17, and it wasn't even as close as the score suggests.
The following week against a menacing Kansas City Chiefs team, Allen continued his work on football's version of the Sistine Chapel; Four touchdowns, no interceptions, 329 yards, completed 73% of his passes, and had 11AY/A. He also rushed for 68 yards, converted multiple 4th downs and a two-point conversion just to put an exclamation point on his work.
It took Patrick Mahomes 13 seconds and a bucket of red paint to undo everything Allen was working towards.
The Bill's offense as a whole wasn't as efficient as those monster playoff games would lead you to believe. They were good, top five to ten in most relevant categories, but nothing eye-popping. They had listless games against the Steelers and Titans, then had their worst performance of the season in a loss to the Jaguars that featured some Josh Allen on Josh Allen crime. There's also concern with the departure of Brian Daboll.
I'm not worried about any of that. The Bills are all in. Buffalo addressed their biggest need on offense by signing Greg Van Roten and Rodger Staffold to shore up the interior of the offensive line. As a result, Josh Allen will get a couple more seconds in the pocket instead of stiff-arming defensive tackles to the turf every other play.
When Josh Allen has time, good things happen. Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah McKenzie are threats on all levels of the field. The Bills also brought in Jamison Crowder as an upgrade over Cole Beasley. If you're not impressed by Crowder's production over the past two seasons, remember he played for the fucking Jets.
While the Bills running attack was surprisingly efficient, 5.3 Yards per Attempt, good for 5th in the league, they still lacked a home run hitter on the ground. Enter Buffalo's 2nd round pick, James Cook. Cook didn't get a ton of reps at Georgia, but he made the most of every opportunity. He has sub-4.4 speed and leaves defenders tackling ghosts out in space. Cook also excelled as a pass blocker, a trait often ignored when evaluating backs. Running backs can often make a difference from day one in an offense, and I'd expect that from James Cook.
There's not much I can say about Josh Allen that I haven't already said, he's a baller. Beyond being unafraid of any moment or throw, he's also better under pressure than any other QB in the league by a country mile.
The Bills' defense was outstanding all season, best in the league by most metrics. However, they still owe their offense a beer... and a Super Bowl for blowing it with 13 seconds and forever to go.
Bring on the reinforcements. Buffalo signed Von Miller to assist an already ferocious pass rush and drafted standout Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam, to join their smothering secondary. The rich are getting richer in Buffalo. The Bills already had the best safety duo in the league with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. If Tre'Davious White bounces back from injury and Elam lives up to the hype, Orchard Park will be declared a no-fly zone.
Buffalo Bills are Super Bowl Favorites
The pressure is on for Buffalo to get the monkey off their back. Their quarterback, coaching staff, defense, and receivers are all ranked among the league's best. Due to the variation from the NFL's one-and-done playoff system, you can make a case Buffalo was already the best team in the league last season.
But none of that matters in the eyes of fans and media. They were great last year and are better on paper this year. They're my pick to bring the Lombardi home in 2022, but Buffalo is no stranger to falling just short of the championship.