The Buffalo Bills look to build off their first AFC Conference Championship Game appearance since the 1993 NFL season. They will once again head into 2021 as one of the teams to beat in the AFC.
Able to retain key pieces in the offseason, the team inked deals with linebacker Matt Milano and tackle Daryl Williams. Furthermore, after releasing wide receiver John Brown, the Bills bolstered their potent offense after signing Emmanuel Sanders.
Agreeing to a one-year $6 million contract, Buffalo also came to terms with running back Matt Breida. Faced with many positional battles across the roster as the team continues with OTAs, the Bills will look to improve their pass-rushing core from a year ago. Registering just 38 sacks in 2020, the team spent their first two draft picks on edge rushers Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. In the middle of a wide-open Super Bowl window, Sean McDermott’s group has one of the best young rosters in football. They will once again hope to get an MVP caliber season from superstar quarterback Josh Allen.
Can Josh Allen follow up his stellar 2020 campaign next season and cement his place among the league’s elite quarterbacks?
True. Breaking out in his third year in the league in 2020, Allen led the Bills to a 13-3 record. Helping the team earn the no. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs, the 25-year-old threw for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns while completing over 69 percent of his passes. Ultimately failing to capture his first-ever MVP award after Aaron Rodgers won it, he helped lead Buffalo to the conference championship game.
Looking to build momentum off last season as they move into 2021, the team heads into next season with star wideout Stefon Diggs, and Cole Beasley set to return after they both received all-pro honors a year ago. Furthermore, with Sanders set to join Brian Daboll’s offense, look for Allen to enjoy another strong campaign in 2021. Currently heading into next year with the third-best odds to capture the MVP award behind Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, look for the leader of the Bills to put an exclamation point on his status league-wide and cement his place among the NFL’s elite.
Can the team run the ball better in 2020 with Matt Breida joining the tandem of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss?
True. Scrutinized all season long for their inability to run the football effectively, the Bills averaged just 4.2 yards per carry. Led by the tandem of Singletary and Moss, the team’s rushing attack was unable to establish consistent production. A direct result of having one of the best passing attacks league-wide, Buffalo ranked 26th in the NFL with just 24.5 rushing attempts per game.
Focused on being more efficient next season as they once again aim to be a pass-first offense in 2021, general manager Brandon Beane retained all of Buffalo’s starting offensive linemen from a year ago. In addition to this, with Breida set to join the running back room, look for the 26-year-old to provide them with a home run threat for a much-improved running game next year.
Should Buffalo trade for longtime Eagles tight end Zach Ertz to help get more production out of the position?
True. Linked to the Bills all offseason long, Ertz’s days in Philadelphia appear to be nearing completion. Reportedly unhappy with the team as he remained a no-show at the Eagles offseason workout programs, the former second-round pick accounts for nearly $13 million against the cap in 2021. Looking for a fresh start, with up and coming tight end Dallas Goedert set to take a more prominent role in Shane Steichen‘s offense, general manager Howie Roseman has reportedly been looking for a third or fourth-round pick as compensation for the 30-year-old. Looking to upgrade at the tight end spot after Dawson Knox started just seven games a season ago, the Bills signed former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister early on in the offseason.
Furthermore, the group remains set to get back Tommy Sweeney after he missed all of last season with COVID-19 complications. However, with all three players hauling in just 175 receptions combined throughout their careers, acquiring Ertz would give Buffalo a true dynamic threat at tight end to help take their passing game to the next level. Fresh off a season in which he battled a high ankle sprain, the eight-year veteran set career lows in receptions and receiving yards. Nonetheless, with 9.3 yards still averaged per catch, he can be the final piece to the Bills championship puzzle.
Will the Bills run away with their second consecutive AFC East title in 2021?
False. After capturing the AFC East for the first time since 1995 a year ago, the Bills remain the favorites to repeat as champions in 2021. However, after signing Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, the New England Patriots will likely be better next season after faltering to a 7-9 finish. In addition to this, with Bill Belichick’s group set to get back multiple defensive starters after they opted out due to COVID-19, Buffalo will remain in a dog fight to fight off their arch-rivals for the division crown.
Active in free agency like the Patriots, the Miami Dolphins inked deals with wide receiver Will Fuller, running back Malcolm Brown, and defensive tackle Adam Butler. Narrowly missing out on the playoffs a season ago, Brian Flores‘s group was swept by the Bills, including a blowout victory in Week 17. Nonetheless, with the Dolphins sporting one of the brighter young rosters in the NFL and the Jets under a new direction with Robert Saleh and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson at the helm, look for the path to an AFC East title to be tougher for Allen and company next season.
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