1. Why NFL.com’s Gil Brandt believes in the Buffalo defense
Buffalo’s defense is ranked fourth in points allowed, third in yards allowed, third against the pass and seventh against the run this season. NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt ranked the top eight defenses. Buffalo earned its spot at No. 2.
This defense does not boast a single All-Pro player, and the unit's only Pro Bowler from 2018, Kyle Williams, retired in the offseason. No Bill ranks in the top 10 in sacks or in Pro Football Focus' coverage grades. And yet, under head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the whole is much greater than the sum of the defensive parts in Buffalo. The Bills rank third in the NFL in points and yards allowed per game, which explains how a team with an offense that is barely averaging more than two touchdowns per game is 4-1. And Buffalo's defensive ranking should get even better after upcoming matchups against the Dolphins (Week 7) and Redskins (Week 9). McDermott is one of the top coaches in the NFL, and I'm feeling as confident as ever in my preseason prediction that the Bills will make the playoffs in 2019.
2. ESPN reporter tabs this Bills assistant coach as a head coaching candidate in 2020
ESPN writer Dan Graziano put together a list of 13 NFL assistants who could get head coach interviews. The list includes San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
The 4-1 Bills are one of the big surprises of the early season, but their defensive performance shouldn't be shocking. Buffalo has the league's fifth-best defense by yards per game allowed (317.9) and third-best defense by yards per play allowed (5.0) since Frazier became defensive coordinator in 2017. Since the start of the 2018 season, Buffalo ranks first (289.6 YPG) and second (4.8 YPP) in those categories.
Frazier was brought in when Sean McDermott became head coach in 2017 and interviewed to be head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. Frazier has previous head coach experience with the Minnesota Vikings from 2011-13.
Sure, coach Sean McDermott has a defensive background and obviously a major role in Buffalo's defense, but if all those Sean McVay offensive assistants can get jobs, why not McDermott's top defensive lieutenant?
3. What we’ve learned about the Bills offense via The Athletic
Analyzing the numbers, The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia took a look at what we know from each NFL offense after the first six weeks of the NFL season. Buffalo’s stats are a stark contrast to what they were in 2018.
Their run blocking has been outstanding. According to Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric, the Bills have been the best run-blocking group in the league. They’ve also had the best red-zone offense, converting touchdowns 71.4% of the time.
As a team, Buffalo ranks sixth in the NFL for rushing yards per game at 139.6. The Bills have earned nearly five yards per carry and gain a first down on 26.4% of runs which is ninth in the NFL.
Buffalo’s red zone offense could be even better after a kneel down to end Week 5 against the Titans ended the Bills red zone opportunity, counting against the stats.