1. USA Today predicts Bills as division winners
They're certainly not alone in their assessment, but USA Today just released their record predictions and playoff prognostications for 2020 in their season preview, and they're bullish on the Bills in terms of the AFC East.
They have the Bills posting a 10-6 record, identical to their mark in 2019, and winning the AFC East. Here is their assessment.
Buffalo Bills (10-6): Their September schedule (Jets, Dolphins, Rams) appears inviting – and the ascendant Bills are advised to start hot given they'll see the 49ers, Steelers, Broncos and Patriots in December. Keep an eye on RBs Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss, who could stealthily form one of the league's best tandems. And if Diggs gives QB Josh Allen the expected boost, Buffalo might finally return to the top of a division it hasn't won since 1995.
As far as the postseason however, USA Today predicts the Bills as the four seed, losing to the fifth-seeded Steelers in the Wild Card round.
2. The best gunner tandem in the league?
The Bills made some key player acquisitions in the offseason to bolster their special teams unit, which made some positive strides in their first year under new coordinator Heath Farwell but are looking to take another step.
One area where the Bills are looking to improve is punt coverage. Last season, Buffalo ranked 23rd in opponent punt return average (8.7 yards).
Farwell believes the re-acquisition of special teams ace Taiwan Jones has given the Bills an elite pairing at the gunner positions on their punt team.
"He's a fantastic gunner," said Farwell of Jones. "With him and Siran (Neal) on the outside, we have two of the best gunners in the league. (Jones) has taken on a leadership role here and everyone was excited to get him back here. I've seen him on tape a million times and was hoping to get him here. I love him on the field, love him in the room, practices hard, does everything right. A veteran presence who can be an influence on the whole group and with a guy like Siran Neal, who is an up and coming special teams gunner, who is loaded with talent. Him being on special teams is so valuable."
Farwell said Jones is also an accomplished jammer on punt return, and it's uncommon to see running backs in the jammer position. The Bills ranked 14th on punt returns last season.
3. Going with 'Dame Time'
Bills nickel corner Taron Johnson is a proud Weber State alum. So it was no surprise when asked which team he's picking in the NBA playoff series between the Portland Trailblazers and L.A. Lakers that he picked the underdog Blazers.
Portland's do-everything guard and leading scorer Damian Lillard, like Johnson is a Weber State alum, so for Johnson the pick was an easy one.
"Portland," said Johnson. "Damian Lillard is a Weber State guy, I'm a Weber State guy, so I'm going with them."
The Trailblazers surprised the Lakers with an upset victory in Game 1.