1. Why B/R believes Buffalo can be the "NFL's perfect playoff spoiler"
Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon thinks the Buffalo Bills can give any AFC team a tough matchup in the playoffs because of Buffalo's defense. Gagnon looked at the defense's performances through the season pointing to different reasons as to why opposing teams should be scared to face the Bills in the postseason.
The Buffalo Bills have played three road games this season against teams that are currently at or above .500. After beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in prime time at Heinz Field on Sunday night, they're 3-0 in those games.
In those three wins over the Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo has surrendered just 10.7 points per game.
Bleacher Report says the offense hasn't had to score many points because the defense holds opponents to uncharacteristic lows.
The Bills are always in games because they rarely bomb defensively. They've surrendered more than 21 points just twice all season, and it's become clear that the 31 they gave up to the Philadelphia Eagles was a tremendous aberration. Only the Bills and Seattle Seahawks have held Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens offense to fewer than 20 first downs this season, and only the Bills, Patriots and New Orleans Saints have held the Cowboys' highly rated offense to fewer than 20 points.
As the playoff picture begins to take form with two weeks left in the regular season, Gagnon thinks Buffalo will be tough to beat no matter who they face.
The AFC West-winning Kansas City Chiefs had a minus-12 scoring margin at home before recently beating up on the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos at Arrowhead, and they've lost at home to the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers. Buffalo appears to be a taller hurdle than all three of those foes, so it's safe to assume the Chiefs want nothing to do with a tough team like the Bills on Wild Card Weekend.
Buffalo could end up drawing the Titans on the road that weekend, which would be daunting for a Tennessee team that was completely smothered by the Bills defense in a 14-7 home loss to Buffalo in October. But the AFC South is more likely to go to the Texans, who just a week ago were embarrassed by the lowly Broncos at home.
2. Dion Dawkins: It's self-made and not by luck
Dion Dawkins joined the Howard and Jeremy Show this week on WGR detailing the emotion in clinching the playoffs and his connection to the offensive line this season. Dawkins explained there's something unique about making the playoffs this time around because the team didn't have to rely on anyone but themselves.
"This time around it's something that we did," Dawkins said. "It's definitely a different feeling, definitely different because it's self-made and not by luck."
Being through almost an entire regular season with a new offensive line, Dawkins says the group is closer than any in his time with Buffalo.
"It's definitely a brotherhood and these guys are definitely bonding," Dawkins explained. "They really like each other. We hang out and go out to dinner every week. That's something that we have never done here. It's consistent, guys just want to continue to be around one another. It feels good that guys are playing for the guy to their left and their right instead of just playing for themselves."
After putting together a game-winning drive against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football, Dawkins thinks it's easy to see the strides Josh Allen has made this season.
"Every week Josh is getting better and better," Dawkins said. "He's impressing us and he's also impressing the world. He's growing and continuing to take that step. I think he's growing at an extremely fast rate and in the years to come it will be extremely scary to see his impact on the football field."
3. One ESPN writer compares the Bills to the Patriots for this concept
In ESPN's Daily podcast hosted by Mina Kimes, Kimes asks ESPN writer Bill Barnwell if there's anything other teams in the NFL can learn from Buffalo with the way they have rebuilt their team. Barnwell believes they are similar to the Patriots in the way they have restructured the team.
"I'm going to make a comparison that I'm sure Bills fans are not going to really love, but there's a lot of Patriots in what the Bills have done in their philosophy," Barnwell said. "The Bills have been great at pro scouting. They have really found a way to bring in those players, like I said, who were struggling elsewhere, who were just guys elsewhere and turn them into much better contributors with Buffalo. They've done great work with undrafted free agency, have a couple starters in their secondary from there as well."
Barnwell also admires the way the Bills have adapted their scheme to fit player's strengths.
"They've built their scheme to really accommodate players and that's not just a Patriots thing but also a Ravens thing," Barnwell explained. "We see that with Lamar Jackson and all the great stuff they've done on offense. The Bills don't have a scheme that throws the ball up 15 times a game down field just because Josh Allen has a strong arm. They create better throws for him that play to his arm strength as opposed to just trying to hit a big play because Josh Allen has that in his arsenal. I think in the big picture there's this idea that you shouldn't just blindly follow what the NFL does with their trends."