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What They're Saying

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National analysts share these opinions on the Bills after securing a 2021 playoff berth

Spencer Brown (79) Harrison Phillips (99) Greg Rousseau (50) Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons at Highmark Stadium on January 2, 2022.Photo by Craig Melvin
Spencer Brown (79) Harrison Phillips (99) Greg Rousseau (50) Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons at Highmark Stadium on January 2, 2022.Photo by Craig Melvin

Who benefits more from winning the AFC East?

Dungy: I really think Buffalo needs it because they've gone into New England once and won, how hard is it to go in and win twice. Again, this looks like it's setting up for Buffalo/New England rematch in the playoffs, I want that game at home if I'm the Bills.

Brees: I think just the expectations coming into the season for Buffalo were that they were the clear favorite in the division. It's been much more of a battle for them. In fact, they've lost it for a while and then had to regain it again. So, I just think the journey that they've been on is setting them up to make a good playoff run.

Florio: I look at it this way, if the Bills don't win the division, it will mean that they lose next week at home to the Jets. So, if you can't beat the Jets at home with the division on the line, you don't deserve to win the division. It's that simple. This should be an easy win, they proved themselves and New England comes to them.

As of this moment, my money would be on a New England-Buffalo show for the first-ever Monday night wild-card game. The AFC, in fact, is gold for first-round matchups, if form holds. Imagine Raiders or Chargers at Kansas City in the 7-2 game, Colts-Burrow in the 6-3 game (Burrow's going to be must-see as long as the Bengals are in it), and Patriots-Bills in the other one. Imagine three Buffalo-New England games in a 43-day span, with the rubber match on a frigid Jan. 17 night in the northeast.

Bills' grade for Week 17 win

Buffalo 29-15 over Atlanta: Josh Allen played his worst game of the year, but it didn't end up hurting the Bills and that's because Devin Singletaryand the Buffalo defense were able to pick up the slack. Singletary rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns for a Bills offense that did most of its damage on the ground. As for Allen, although he struggled through the air with three interceptions, he made up for that on the ground by rushing for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Bills shut the Falcons down when it mattered most: Not only did Atlanta only convert one third down in the game (1 of 7), but the Bills also limited the Falcons to just one touchdown on four trips to the red zone.

Grade = B

PFF gives love to these position groups from Week 17 win

Offensive Line

Buffalo's offensive line held up well despite Josh Allen's long average time to throw (3.4 seconds). Not one of the starters was responsible for a sack or a hit on the quarterback, and the group combined for six hurries allowed on first review. Center Mitch Morse was the lone player to pitch a shutout with no pass-block losses on the day.

Defensive Line

Believe it or not, the most productive players in the pass rush for Buffalo included interior defensive linemen Harrison Phillips and Efe Obada. Those two have been afterthoughts in the pass-rush this season but ended up ranking first and tied for third among those on the team in pass-rush wins.

Running Back

Devin Singletary had the best game of his 2021 season. He handled a season-high 23 carries, and 94 of his 110 rushing yards came after contact. Singletary broke five total tackles and averaged 4.1 yards after contact per attempt.

The biggest takeaway from Sunday's win

The Josh Allen roller coaster was a wild one Sunday. Allen got the Bills on the board via two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter, then became a turnover machine, ending Buffalo's next three possessions with interceptions. Buffalo's greatest strength Sunday proved to be an ability to overcome giveaways, allowing Atlanta to turn the takeaways into 10 points, but crucially preventing the Falcons from producing points off Allen's third interception. With snow on the field and more falling, Buffalo wisely turned to the run at a rate as high as we've seen all season, with Devin Singletary rushing 23 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Add in Allen's 15 carries for 81 yards and two scores, and you have a throwback win for the usually air-reliant Bills. Thankfully, they didn't need to rely on Allen's arm to prevent an upset loss.

NFL Research: Josh Allen is the first player with two-plus rushing TDs and three-plus interceptions in a game since Cam Newton in Week 11, 2011 at Detroit. Allen is the first player to hit each of those marks in a win since Drew Brees in Week 7, 2009 at Miami.

These two Bills were selected to Barnwell's All-Pro list

Let's run through my picks for the All-Pro team for the 2021 NFL season. We still have two weeks of football left, but in most cases, the players I've put on my first and second teams have done enough already to earn their spot.

Linebackers - Micah Parsons, Cowboys, Darius Leonard, Colts

Second team: Matt Milano, Bills; Demario Davis, Saints

… After Parsons, we're again dealing with a wide range of talents. I have to go with Leonard, who seems to be in on every big play the Colts make, with three picks and six forced fumbles this season. Milano is a stalwart on what might be the league's best defense in Buffalo, and Davis is the heart and soul of the league's top run defense.

Safeties - Jordan Poyer, Bills, Budda Baker, Cardinals

Second team: Adrian Phillips, Patriots; Kevin Byard, Titans

Poyer has been an eraser in the secondary. When teams have been brave enough to throw in his direction, the result has been a downright depressing passer rating of 3.6. He has five picks and nine passes defensed while allowing 3.1 yards per target and continuing to contribute as a run defender. The Bills rank second in the league in defensive DVOA, and with cornerback Tre'Davious White out for the season, Poyer's partnership with Micah Hyde has kept the team afloat on that side of the ball. …

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