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What They're Saying

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What They're Saying | NFL analysts believe Bills' playoff chances are on the rise after win over Chiefs


The Buffalo Bills are back in the playoff conversation after a 20-17 road win over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The playoff picture in the AFC is messy – six teams have records of 7-6 from Pittsburgh (seeded sixth) to Buffalo (seeded 11th). With four weeks remaining, it's likely that Week 18 will have plenty of high-stakes games – including Buffalo's road contest against Miami.

Josh Allen has continued to prove that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, scoring the most total touchdowns in the league this season with 35 touchdowns and accounting for the most combined yards among all players. 

Here is what the national media is saying about Allen, the Bills and their chances of making the playoffs come January.

After the Bills defense held the Chiefs for two consecutive drives, Josh Allen set the tone early in the second half by executing two touchdown drives in which he completed six of nine passes for 74 yards and a passing touchdown, adding 18 yards and a score on the ground.

NBC columnist Peter King awarded Allen as one of his offensive players of the week, telling fans to watch the game and take Allen for what he is: a quarterback who performs when his team needs him the most.

"Stop looking at numbers. Stop looking at turnovers. Look at the game. Look at the crucial moments of the biggest games. Look at the desperado pass he made, third-and-nine, 11 minutes to go in a 17-17 game, falling out of bounds, lobbed in the air for 21 yards to Latavius Murray for the first down."

After the distractions the Bills locker room endured the week prior to their win over the Chiefs, the team shared a moment with head coach Sean McDermott, general manager Brandon Beane and owner Terry Pegula, who rallied around McDermott, presenting him with a game ball as his players expressed their support for their head coach.

ESPN's Pat McAfee thinks that the Bills' pivotal win came at just the right time as Buffalo seeks to build off of their momentum when they host the 10-3 Dallas Cowboys this Sunday.

"If you looked at that locker room afterwards with everything that came out last week … they rallied around that. Brandon Beane gave him a game ball, the locker room was saying to Coach McDermott, 'We got your back.' That could be a moment that could really galvanize that Buffalo Bills team to play the best football that they've played all season."

No player or coach in the building will pin any defensive struggles on their lack of key starters, but losing two All-Pros in linebacker Matt Milano and cornerback Tre'Davious White early in the season – as well as defensive tackle Daquon Jones – forced Buffalo to rely on their depth early in the season. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson has stepped up in Milano's absence, sporting a 90.0 overall PFF grade and playing at least 68 percent of snaps in each of the Bills' last three games.

The Ringer's NFL staff put together power rankings after Week 14, and the Bills were ranked fifth in part due to their defense outperforming expectations.

"This team has not had a single normal day in months, but QB Josh Allen has been finding more ways to use his legs and never lets a play die, and the Bills defense is holding up remarkably well, considering their many injuries."

There are currently six teams with a 7-6 record in the AFC, from the sixth-place Steelers to the Bills, who sit in 11th place due to tiebreakers. With four weeks remaining, some will fall out of contention providing room for the Bills – if they continue to win – to rise up and enter the playoff race.

While he has concerns about the Bills defense, The Athletic Football Show's Robert Mays thinks that Josh Allen has the ability to bring playoff success to Buffalo should the Bills make it to the postseason.

"If the Bills get in, it still feels like everything is wide open enough in the AFC for things to get more interesting if they make the dance. … The potential of the Josh Allen supernova makes them dangerous, it makes them intriguing, but the defense still gives me pause. … But now the top of the AFC hierarchy is a mess."

Bills nickel corner Taron Johnson has long been a staple of the Buffalo secondary. The sixth-year defensive back has a team-high three forced fumbles and the third-most tackles on the team with 71 in addition to four passes defended.

Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb has been one of the best slot receivers in the league. As Johnson typically covers the slot, he could be responsible defending one of the most explosive players of the season.

"You have to do two things against this offense right now, you have to cover [Ceedee Lamb]. If you can't cover 88, I don't care who you are. … And you have to change coverage at the snap exotically. You can't just go from Cover 2 to Cover 3, you have to get Dak [Prescott] confused because right now he's firing on all cylinders."

Following Week 14, which saw a shakeup in the AFC with the Miami Dolphins dropping a game against the Tennessee Titans and the Bills earn a much-needed win over the Kansas City Chiefs, FOX Sports' Colin Cowherd has updated his NFL power rankings.

"What am I supposed to do? They have arguably the best athlete in the world playing quarterback and they are 7-0 after a bye with Sean McDermott … I don't like the fact that Gabe Davis didn't have any catches, I don't like the fact that they don't have a consistent running game. But I mean, Josh Allen leads the NFL in total yards. They're productive, he's a playmaker. … You always have a chance with Josh Allen."

Josh Allen is a walking highlight reel, so much so that perhaps the most-talked about play from the Chiefs game came on a drive that ultimately ended in a punt. Facing a collapsing pocket, Allen ran right and, just before running out of bounds, slung the ball to Latavius Murray in one of the most athletic plays of the season.

ESPN's Ryan Clark thinks that if the Bills are able to get in the playoffs, no team will be excited to face the athletic freak that is Allen.

Who in the hell wants to play Josh Allen if he gets into the playoffs? That dude is so talented. … Since Joe Brady has taken over, the patience he's shown, the way he's used his legs only when he needed to. I think that this team, if they can get into the playoffs, they're going to be one of those scary teams you don't want to play because they have a quarterback that can go Steph Curry on you."

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer spoke to linebacker Terrel Bernard, who called head coach Sean McDermott a "tough, hard-working, loyal leader." Breer noted just how fired up Bills players were in the days leading up to their win over the Chiefs and the moments after in the locker room.

Breer drew on his personal experience having known McDermott for over a decade, noting that he wasn't surprised that the head coach was able to earn the steadfast support of his players.

"Going forward, that effort simply gives this group of players, the core of it in particular, and McDermott, too, a chance to keep going. Which, with all that was on the line at Arrowhead, is all that they needed."

Check out the best images from the field and inside the Bills locker room following Buffalo's big win over the Chiefs.

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