The Buffalo Bills had a roller coaster ride of a season in 2018. Despite little optimism heading into the year, Buffalo managed to pull out 6 wins. While this may not initially sound impressive, Buffalo was able to win 4 of their last 7 games and ride some momentum into 2019. Rookie quarterback, Josh Allen, was inconsistent yet promising in his first season under center. He showed flashes of brilliance, but also had his fair share of bonehead moves. This is to be expected from an inexperienced play caller and there were more positives to build on than negatives. I will break down the Bills’ recent moves and analyze their 2019 over/under for total wins.
Over 7 Wins (-140)
Under 7 Wins (+110)
Buffalo Bills 2018 Season Overview
Buffalo entered the 2018 season with a serious question mark surrounding the quarterback position. They spent a first-round pick on Josh Allen, but wanted to groom him for a year before he assumed the starting role. Nathan Peterman took the field for the first game, even though he was not a proven starter by any stretch of the imagination. This experiment was a disaster and Buffalo went on to lose 47-3 to the Ravens. Peterman completed 5-18 passes for 24 yards, on his way to throwing two interceptions. This gave him a QBR of 0.8, tied with Mark Sanchez for the worst performance of the season.
Allen achieved great success once he took over the starting spot. He was able to win games on a somewhat consistent basis, often with an inferior supporting cast. A testament to his playmaking ability, Allen’s record as a starter was 5-6 in his rookie campaign. Without a doubt, this would have exceeded even most expectations going into to the season. Allen seemed to elevate the players around him and was able to take down well-established teams like the Vikings. The Bills showed enough promise to be hopeful for the upcoming year.
Buffalo Bills Offseason Moves
The Bills were incredibly active on the free agent market and took the right approach to fixing their roster problems. Buffalo completely revamped their offense during the offseason, adding at least a handful of presumed starters. Their primary focus in free agency was to stock up on tier-two veteran talent – a perfect remedy for a struggling club with an inconsistent roster.
Their offensive overhaul will provide support for Josh Allen after lacking weapons and a consistent offensive line a year ago. Kelvin Benjamin’s departure left the Bills with the chore of finding talent at the receiver position. Buffalo was able to diversify their receiver portfolio, with the likes of Cole Beasley and John Brown. These two will work well in tandem – one provides a go-to possession receiver while the other provides excellent speed on the outside and the ability to take the top off a defense. Allen will benefit greatly from having a proven possession receiver, an invaluable asset for a relatively green quarterback. Allen didn’t have much talent to work with last year, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fairs with a season under his belt.
The average sports fan doesn’t bat an eye when they hear about offensive lineman in free agency discussions. Well, you can’t avoid it now because the additions to Buffalo’s line will likely be their most impactful free agency signings. The Bills had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year and they addressed this issue head-on, putting their biggest free agency price tag on center, Mitch Morse. Buffalo went on to add depth to their line by signing Ty Nsekhe and LaAdrian Waddle. Not to mention, they took Cody Ford early in the second round of the draft. The Bills couldn’t have done much more with the resources at hand.
Free NFL Pick: Over 7 Wins
The Patriots are the obvious favorite to win the AFC East, which would make it the 11th year in a row. The Dolphins are a long shot to take the division and will likely serve as the punching bag, with the Jets and Bills filling in the middle two slots. That being said, the Bills have the potential to be a contender after getting better on both sides of the ball.
There is no legitimate reason to believe the Bills will regress this season. Aside from the offensive talent, they were also able to pick up Ed Oliver in the draft. Oliver is a frontrunner for the 2019 defensive rookie of the year and joins an already-productive defense. Even though they seemed helpless at times, the Bills were the second ranked defense in terms of total yards allowed in 2018. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills add a win or two to last season’s total and find themselves in the playoff hunt this year. I’m riding with the Bills Mafia and taking over 7 wins.