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What They're Saying

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What they're saying | National analysts predict the Bills' offseason & assess their future in 2023 

Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots, Week 13, December 1, 2022 at Gillette Stadium.
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots, Week 13, December 1, 2022 at Gillette Stadium.

The winner of Super Bowl LVII has been crowned, the early power rankings are in, and now it's officially time for the GM Brandon Beane to rework the roster this offseason in hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Las Vegas next February. The Bills went into the 2022 season as Super Bowl favorites and despite their early playoff exit, some analysts believe they still have the potential to make a strong playoff run in 2023.

Here's what national analysts are saying about the Bills offseason needs and what their 2023 season could look like.

Not too long after the 2022 season ended with a Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl win, SI Sportsbook released the top Super Bowl contenders for next season. While Kansas City opens up as the favorites at + 600, the Bills (+750) are right behind them.

"It should come as no surprise that all of the top contenders for next season made the playoffs this past season. As of Monday morning, the Chiefs boast + 600 to win next year's title, while the Bills (+750), 49ers (+750), and Eagles (+800) round out the top four betting favorites." — Williams

The 2023 schedule has yet to be announced but we do know the Bills will be playing against the Chiefs in Kansas City. Since the Super Bowl champions traditionally kick off the season on their home field, Around the NFL Writer Kevin Patra explains why the Bills could potentially be the Chiefs' opponent to open up next season.

"Can I interest you in Josh Allen versus Patrick Mahomes to start the 2023 campaign? The NFL might not want the Bills in the kickoff game in back-to-back seasons, but there is no denying the intrigue Allen & Co. bring to the table. After a disappointing end to the season, Buffalo is in reload mode, hopefully adding more playmakers to the offense around Allen and Stefon Diggs this offseason. If Von Miller makes it back for Week 1 from his season-ending injury, it will bring added juice to the kickoff game as the legendary pass rusher attempts to corral the MVP. The Bills have knocked off K.C. at Arrowhead Stadium in each of the past two seasons, which could help build fuel for the Super Bowl champs." — Patra

Now that the 2022 season is in the books, 2023 is on the horizon. According to Sam Monson, the Bills focus throughout the offseason should be on strengthening the offensive line.

"Buffalo's playoff loss to Cincinnati highlighted a problem that had been brewing for the team all season — an offensive line in decline and reaching a problematic level of play. The Bills offensive line ranked as low as 28th in PFF's offensive line rankings at one point this season, and they surrendered 211 pressures over the entire season. While they could certainly use an extra receiver to complement Stefon Diggs, they need to ensure that the offensive line reaches a higher baseline of play in 2023." — Monson

The Bills have 7 2023 draft picks and a handful of contract situations that need to be worked out ahead of free agency. With the uncertainty of next year's roster, the ESPN staff broke down the offseason priorities, touched on a few roster question marks, and provided an outlook on the 2023 NFL draft.

Biggest offseason priority: How will the upcoming defensive holes be filled? Both safety Jordan Poyer and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds are scheduled to hit free agency this offseason, and each has played a significant role in the defense during the team's rise. Poyer -- who had four interceptions and eight pass breakups in 12 games this season -- and the Bills could not reach an agreement on a contract extension during the summer, and he just made his first Pro Bowl. Edmunds continues to play at a high level in his fifth season, posting 102 tackles in 2022. Can the Bills bring them back? And if not, how will they replace them?

Under-the-radar offseason priority: "Buffalo should be looking for help along the interior of the offensive line. Entering 2023, a number of players -- especially on the interior -- are set to hit free agency, including Rodger Saffold III, David Quessenberry, Greg Van Rotenand Ike Boettger. Adding young talent up front should be a priority, helping protect Josh Allen and giving the Bills a better opportunity to get the run game going earlier in the season. Buffalo's pass block win rates for both the guard and center positions ranked in the bottom half of the league in 2022." – Alaina Getzenberg

Will they re-sign S Jordan Poyer? "Yes. Poyer continues to play at an extremely high level, and both sides have been interested in an extension for some time. He'll be entering the 2023 season at 32 years old, which makes this his best shot at one more lucrative deal." – Field Yates

Draft outlook: "As Alaina mentioned, the interior offensive line could be a point of emphasis in the offseason. Florida guard O'Cyrus Torrence is potentially a Day 1 target, but Alabama's Emil Ekiyor Jr. and USC's Andrew Vorhees are mid-rounders who could play a role. Safety could also be another position to watch, as both starting safeties -- Poyer and Micah Hyde -- have free agency looming over the next two offseasons." – Jordan Reid

Big prediction for the offseason: "The Bills will find an important additional target for Allen in the passing game by upgrading their slot receiver spot with free agent JuJu Smith-Schuster. Currently, on a one-year contract with Kansas City, Smith-Schuster ranks in the top 20 for Football Outsiders' receiving DYAR metric, and he caught 78 passes for 933 yards this season." – Aaron Schatz

When looking at who will be back for the Bills next season, WR Khalil Shakir stands out to PFF's Lead NFL Analyst Sam Monson as a potential breakout candidate for the 2023 season.

"Buffalo needed an injection of playmaking into its receiving corps this season, and the answer may have been staring them in the face all season in the form of rookie Khalil Shakir.

Including the playoffs, Shakir saw just 23 targets all season despite running 171 routes. The Bills will be looking for ways to diversify that passing attack without breaking the bank, and upping Shakir's workload is an obvious pathway." – Monson

In a breakdown of what the 2023 season will look like for all 32 NFL teams, ESPN Staff Writer Jeremy Fowler places the Bills under the "Still Major Contenders" category.

What's next: "This will be a bit of a get-right year for Buffalo, which has spent big in the past few offseasons but now has a cap deficit. Expect general manager Brandon Beane to rely on the core roster in place for the most part, barring a few midtier reinforcement options who might interest the club. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is expected to score big elsewhere in free agency, but safety Jordan Poyer, who is 31 and a leader on defense, has a chance to return. Adding additional speed on defense and one more playmaker on offense could be on the agenda." – Fowler

Similar to last season, the Bills are entering the 2023 season as one of the top favorites to win Super Bowl 58. With the second-best odds of winning behind the Chiefs, Draft Kings' Teddy Ricketson depicts what the Bills (+700 at DraftKings Sportsbook) need to do to hoist the Lombardi Trophy next season.

With many questions surrounding the roster next season and what they can do to improve, Ricketson believes the Bills need to take steps forward to make sure they don't regress.

"The Bills have a lot of decisions to make in free agency. Left guard Rodger Saffold, CB Dane Jackson, LB Tremaine Edmunds, S Jordan Poyer, and EDGE Shaq Lawson are all set to hit the market along with a lot of the team's depth pieces. They could likely get by the 35-year-old Saffold walking but should prioritize Edmunds and Poyer returning so that their defense doesn't automatically take a large step back.

When it comes to the offense, what can Buffalo do? Allen was sacked 33 times, which ranked 12th most in the league. He does tend to scramble, so you could argue that number should have been higher. Upgrading the offensive line could help to balance out the Bills' offense, opening up the run game to take the pressure off Allen's shoulder.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was visibly frustrated after the team's loss in the playoffs. While he was targeted 10 times, he only brought in four of them for 35 yards. Buffalo needs to find ways to make him more productive, whether that be with the offensive line upgrade or by bringing in another dominant pass-catcher to take the defense's focus off of him. Outside of staying healthier as a team, this should help the Bills have a better chance of raising the Lombardi in 2024." – Ricketson

PFF's Gordon McGuiness took a look at who took the biggest jump in PFF grades from the 2020 to 2022 season for every NFL team. For the Bills, it was LB Tremaine Edmunds who jumped from 48.5 to 81.2.

"Like Patrick Queen with the Ravens, Edmunds displayed some big-time flashes over the first four years of his career, but a lack of consistency hurt his PFF grade. He eliminated a lot of the negatives in his play to deliver a phenomenal 2022 season in coverage where his 90.0 PFF coverage grade led all players at the position." – McGuinness

In the words of Sports Illustrated's Zach Dimmitt, Khalil Shakir "flashed what he was capable of at the end of the season." The fifth-round rookie's performance during the second half of the season stood out to SI as a notable 2023 prediction.

SI's prediction: *Khalil Shakir will emerge as a legitimate No. 2 receiver with long-term No. 1 upside. The fifth-round pick out of Boise State was most heavily utilized down the stretch this year and showed an ability to be where Josh Allen needed him to be. With a full offseason under his belt, Shakir will supplant Gabriel Davis, who will be a free agent in 2024.

"SI sees Shakir as the answer at the No. 2 receiver spot behind Stefon Diggs, predicting he'll rise to that role next season while showing his star-like qualities in the process … Including postseason, Shakir totaled 15 catches for 252 yards and one touchdown as a rookie. The low production is understandable, as he was growing into own as a fifth-round pick. But considering he has the stamp of approval from both Allen and McDermott, it could be only a matter of time before Shakir starts to break out next season." – Dimmitt

Scroll to view the best game action photos from the 2022 season as chosen by Bills Team Photographers Bill Wippert, Ben Green, and Craig Melvin.

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