1. ESPN analyst puts Bills playoff chances at over 80 percent
The Bills are off to a 3-0 start and while visions of playoffs already dance in the heads of Buffalo fans, ESPN's Bill Barnwell took a deeper look at each of the league's seven remaining undefeated to see which ones could sustain their hot starts to the 2020 campaign.
He also used analysis to assess each team's current playoff chances. For the Bills he had their odds of reaching the postseason at 81.3 percent. Here's his assessment of the Bills postseason hopes.
After taking a step forward in 2019 and improving his decision-making, he has taken an enormous stride this season. In 2018, Allen was a hindrance to the Bills' chances of winning. In 2019, he was good enough to stay out of the way. In 2020, he is driving Buffalo's success. This team would not be 3-0 without Allen playing as well as he has.
Through three games, he has 14 completions on passes of 16 or more yards, more than any other quarterback. Last year, he had 36 such completions across a full 16-game schedule. He's completing 70% of his deep attempts and averaging 20.6 yards per attempt, both of which rank in the top five. He has a 99.9 QBR on deep throws, trailing only that of Wilson and Jared Goff through three weeks.
The addition of Stefon Diggs has given the Bills one of the NFL's best wide receiver groups, and after serving as an efficiency monster in Minnesota, Diggs is averaging 10.3 yards per target so far in Buffalo. Allen has thrown touchdowns to eight receivers so far this season in addition to scoring two as a runner.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has also put his quarterback in position to succeed. Allen's play-action rate is way up, going from just over 22% in 2019 to a shade under 37% so far this season. Just as this has helped players such as Goff and Ryan Tannehill, the added play-fakes have made Allen's life easier. He has a 152.3 passer rating with play-action through three weeks, falling to 108.9 without play-fakes.
What he has accomplished so far shows that he has the ability to reach what appeared to be an impossible ceiling coming out of school and that he's a lot closer to realizing that potential on a regular basis than I expected after last season. If he can be this guy week in and week out, the Bills have a credible case as one of the three or four best teams in football.
2. Raiders radio analyst sees high scoring affair on Sunday
The Bills have been in some see-saw affairs the past two weeks with the Dolphins and Rams and have pulled both of them out for victories. Their matchup in Week 4 could be another such game as the Raiders have produced almost as much scoring punch as Buffalo.
Las Vegas ranks eighth in scoring, and their scoring average (29.3) is less than two points off of Buffalo's average (31). The problem for the Raiders is they've found it difficult to stop opposing offenses.
"I've said the Raiders need to score at least 30 points a game if they want to win," said Raiders radio analyst Lincoln Kennedy. "Their offense is clearly the strength of their team. When you look around the league at the potent offenses in the AFC, you've got to be able to put up points. Long gone are the 10-7 ball games and if these two teams have any aspirations of making it to the playoffs and a championship run they'll have to score a lot of points. It's almost like the league has gone the way of the Arena league where the team that has the ball last is going to win."
That proved to be the way Buffalo's Week 3 game finished.
The Bills defense is hoping to more effectively lock things down this week in Las Vegas, so their offense doesn't have to pull another victory out of the fire.
"We have to tackle better," said Micah Hyde. "We've been doing it for a long time. I'm a firm believer that you can't just have no preseason games and then no contact and practicing and go out there in the first game and be the best tackling team ever. I think you'd have to do it in practice and I know for myself speaking personally I have to do a little bit of it in practice. I have to put my pads on people in practice to get better at it in the game. So I think that's what the coaches are saying and as a player I agree with that."
3. Billick: Josh Allen's improved accuracy is unprecedented
Former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick has co-authored a book called 'The Q Factor' which is based on the quarterback class of 2018. Josh Allen is obviously a part of that class and Billick in describing all the drawbacks on each of the quarterback prospect in that class cited Allen's completion percentage as his main sticking point for talent evaluators.
In an appearance on ‘One Bills Live’ this week, Billick considers the Bills organization fortunate that Allen was able to overcome his 56 percent completion percentage in college.
"It was a real leap for Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane to look past what was clearly an issue with Josh Allen's accuracy to believe he would get better," said Billick. "Obviously they're on the plus side of 50-50 now."
When asked how rare it is for a young quarterback to improve their completion percentage by 12 percent as Allen has done from 2019 to 2020, Billick said it's unprecedented.
"It has never happened," Billick said. "I've been in this game for 40 years. I've never seen that kind of improvement with that kind of track record where clearly there were issues with the completion percentage. It was undeniable. For him to refine his game and improve his deep ball. Knowledge certainly helps as well. He's more comfortable with what's going on around him and he's a tremendous talent, but we've never seen this before.
"It's got to be exciting for Bills fans. This young man is going to be the whole package. Now he's unlikely to sustain his completion percentage at 70 percent for the entire year, but he's gotten over that inefficiency in the completion percentage. It's been fun to watch."