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Buffalo Bills’ head coach Sean McDermott looked like a genius in 2017 when he took his new team to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade and a half, but last season the Bills got back to their mediocre ways and watched the playoffs from the comfort of their couches.
This offseason, though, the front office has addressed the Bills’ weak offense by using free agency and the draft to their full advantage, but only time will tell if their improvements will be enough to protect the mobile Josh Allen, their second-year quarterback star.
Though general manager Brandon Beane failed to snag a big name receiver (talking about you, Antonio Brown!), he did manage to add some more targets for Allen to throw at, and here we take a look and some of these offseason moves, plus the odds and predictions of the Bills’ 2019 season.
Despite a stellar 2017 where the Buffalo Bills finally got to the playoffs (albeit briefly) for the first time in seventeen seasons, the 2018 run was disappointing, to say the least since the Bills put up a 6-10 record and a 3rd place finish in the AFC East.
Responsible for six of those losses was rookie quarterback Josh Allen, who saw regular season action as early as September after starter Nathan Peterman posted a 0.0 passer rating.
The Bills started the season slowly with a 2-7 run but showed promise by winning four of their final seven games, though their season seemed doomed from the get-go due to losing so many players to trades, roster cuts, and retirement.
Absolutely, though chances are head coach Sean McDermitt was hoping to keep Allen on the sidelines learning the playbook a little longer than he was actually able to do last season.
Allen’s record was 5-6 in the games that he started, and he ended the season with 2,074 yards through the air and 10 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, while also rushing 89 times for 631 yards and 8 touchdowns with 8 fumbles.
The offensive line allowed 41 sacks last season (T-14th most), and Allen was sacked 28 of those times, so general manager Brandon Beane made it a point to strengthen his offensive line this offseason using free agency and the draft.
The Bills have signed five offensive linemen through free agency this offseason, and they are:
Buffalo also traded up two spots and used their second-round pick to select Cody Ford, an impressive offensive lineman from Oklahoma.
It will be the job of new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson to see that this new squad protects Allen better than he was last season.
The Bills were ranked 30th in scoring last season, averaging just 16.8 points per game, so the main strategy this offseason was to make their offense more productive.
They did that by greatly improving the offensive line (see above) and by snagging more targets for Allen (free agent receivers John Brown, Cole Beasley and tight end Tyler Kroft), as well as bringing in running backs Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon to beef up their ground attack.
Their defense was already strong and ranked second in the league overall, and add first-round pick defensive tackle Ed Oliver to that mix and the Bills defense in 2019 should be even more bothersome than ever.
Guard John Miller, who agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, with $6.5 million of that money guaranteed.
Tight end Charles Clay, who signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals worth $2 million, with $350,000 of that guaranteed.
Tight end Logan Thomas, who signed a one-year deal worth $895,000 with the Detroit Lions, with $30,000 of that guaranteed.
Offensive tackle Kyle Williams, who retired last season after a 13-year career in the NFL with the Bills, as a 6x Pro Bowler.
Center Mitch Morse, who signed a four-year, $44.5 million contract, making him the highest paid center in the NFL, with $26.175 million of that guaranteed.
Wide receiver John Brown, who agreed to a three-year deal worth $27 million, with $11.7 million of that guaranteed.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley, who took a four-year deal worth $29 million, with $14.4 million of that guaranteed.
Offense: Wide receiver, tight end.
Defense: Edge rusher.
The Bills ended up with 8 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they were:
Over the last decade, the Buffalo Bills have been to the playoffs just once, which was in 2017 when, for the first time since 1999, the Bills played in the postseason, which was a Wild Card Game they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 3-10.
For four years in a row from 1990-1193, the Buffalo Bills appeared in every Super Bowl and proceeded to lose all four: Super Bowl XXV to the New York Giants, Super Bowl XXVI to the Washington Redskins and Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Bills have never won a Super Bowl in the history of their franchise, though they did win two AFL Championships back in 1964 and 1965.
The oddsmakers have predicted the 2019 Buffalo Bills to be third place finishers in the AFC East and they give 13 other AFC teams better odds of making it to the Super Bowl.
If they actually did win Super Bowl LIV, anyone who bet $100 on the Bills would win $10,000, but there are 26 other teams that have a better chance of making that happen.
Maybe Buffalo won’t totally dominate, but with a much better front line and some better targets for Allen to throw at, it’s a good bet that the 2019 Bills will at least turn in a better season than they did in 2018.
Is Josh Allen ready to lead his team from the get-go, or is the second-year man still too young and new (and inaccurate) to guide his team to victories?
Will the upgraded Bills offensive line keep Allen protected, or will opponents continue to get after the mobile young quarterback?
Can the Bills defense continue to dominate with the addition of Oliver, or was last season just an impressive fluke?
Is head coach Sean McDermott capable of leading his team back to postseason play as he did in his first season, or is his Bills offense still incapable of getting the fourth-quarter job done?
There are a lot of Bills experts and fans alike who were giddy about their productive offseason, but you would have to be extremely optimistic to buy into the idea that their time is now.
Buffalo Bills Postseason
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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