What They're Saying

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What they're saying | NFL analysts evaluate Buffalo's standing in the AFC East hierarchy

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1. The gap is narrowing

Former NFL personnel executive Scott Pioli went on "Good Morning Football" and praised the Bills for the way they have rebuilt the team under Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott.

"The Bills are a really good football team. I have a lot of respect for both Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott. What Sean has done with the players that Brandon has brought in is really pretty remarkable," Pioli said.

When asked if Buffalo has narrowed the gap between Buffalo and New England, Pioli's former team, he had this to say.

"And there's also something though about narrowing the gap sometimes people are too much in a rush. But they (McDermott-Beane) have built this thing to last," Pioli said. "I think sometimes if you're in too much of a rush you make some free agent mistakes, you make some trade mistakes. They've narrowed that gap so now, right now, I think there's a chance that it may happen."

2. Tre'Davious White vs. Stephon Gilmore, who is the best corner in the NFL?

USA Today's Touchdown Wire broke down the battle between arguably the NFL's two top cornerbacks and ultimately came up with this as the conclusion.

Stephon Gilmore is asked to be an enforcer in the most man-centric defense in the NFL, and nobody does it better. Tre'Davious White is a surgeon in zone coverage, and as good as he is, he's probably hasn't hit his ceiling yet. The only people who lose in this discussion are the quarterbacks who have to deal with them. Tom Brady and Josh Allen, two quarterbacks with massively different backgrounds who are dealing with their own efficiency and consistency issues this season, will want to know where White and Gilmore are, respectively, on every snap.

It is always true of the league's best cornerbacks, and in 2019, Stephon Gilmore and Tre'Davious White are it.

3. Buffalo is a great place to play right now

Former NFL defensive end and current analyst Chris Long and media personality Ryen Russillo discussed the state of the Bills and the future of the AFC East on this week's The Ryen Russillo Podcast on The Ringer network.

"If I am a player on that team, I feel pretty good about our chances in every game that we play in,' said Long. "You went toe-to-toe with the Ravens. You've gone toe-to-toe with the Pats. That's why this matchup coming up soon makes such a big difference for them. It's not just going to signal how the playoff tree is laid out, it's going to signal where this division going in the future."

Russillo also feels that NFL fans around the country are happy to see the Bills have such a successful season and wrap up a playoff spot after Week 15.

"Bills fans take a lot of heat, but I think everyone has a soft spot for them," said Russillo. "Everyone knows just how much that team means to that city. To see them be successful … I think for all of us who like the NFL say good for Bills fans."

Long added that Buffalo is probably the best place to play in the NFL right now.

"There's probably no better place to play right now. Where would you rather play right now? I guess of the teams that are hot – Baltimore is probably pretty awesome. But Buffalo is like a college town. You get back at 2 am and there's hundreds of people on the tarmac and it's freezing. They just love you. … Playing up in Orchard Park is about as fun as any place in the country. … I think Buffalo is one of the last remaining, true, football communities – you can talk about Green Bay too. But this is the first time since 1999 that they have won 10 games, that's got to be fun to be a Bill."

4. #OneBuffalo

Members of the Buffalo Sabres congratulated the Bills on making the playoffs this past Sunday. Here's what Jack Eichel and Ralph Krueger told WGR 550's Paul Hamilton earlier this week.

"I was really fired up for them, it's awesome to see," Jack Eichel said. "I'm just really happy for their group. I know how hard that they work and it's so great for the city to have that and the Pegula family. They do everything for us and the Bills, and it's awesome to see them get rewarded for how great of owners they are. Plus, I'm excited to watch them in the playoffs and to follow them."

"I'm so pleased with my communication with Sean through the year," Ralph Kreuger said. "We've been exchanging messages more than anything, and we're always giving each other some kind of a push. Both of us are out here trying to make the Buffalo sports community proud, and they've really done that in what they've achieved and we're trying to continue to do that."

5. Prime believes in Buffalo

No the Bills don't have another Sunday night game this season, we're talking about Deion "Primetime" Sanders who chose the Bills to beat the Steelers last week.

"I picked Buffalo today. I picked him for a plethora of reasons, one because they've been balling out all year, two because they could run the ball successfully, three because that defense ranked second in the league is unbelievable. Come on, you gotta go with the Buffalo Bills," Sanders said.

Sanders also looked ahead to the playoffs and believes Buffalo can make some noise in the postseason.

'They could go on the road, whether it's to a Houston, or a Tennessee and win because that defense travels man. They have one of the premier corners in the game, they can get after the passer … This team. I love them in so many ways, and I love the way they play for one another, I love the way they compete on each and every down," Sanders said.

6. Bills formula to win

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah says the Bills have a great formula for winning games. Hint: It involves targeting John Brown.

"These two guys have a nice chemistry they've got a nice connection," Jeremiah said of Josh Allen and John Brown. "The bar is not very high for them because the defense is going to keep the score down, and we just get a couple plays in the passing game, Josh Allen mixing a couple runs. That is their formula and it has worked quite well this entire season."

7. Bills have a shot at taking down Baltimore, if they meet again in the playoffs

In Mike Sando's poll of four coaches and executives for The Athletic, the Bills are given a chance to be the team that derails the Baltimore Ravens come playoffs.

I think the Bills and their fans are sick of hearing about the same old criticisms of their offense, and that Buffalo would have a shot against the Ravens based on overall team strength. Buffalo is fourth in defensive expected points added (EPA), third in special-teams EPA and seventh in net EPA, according to the model sports analytics pioneer Dean Oliver developed for TruMedia Networks. But the Bills are 21st in offensive EPA and 22 in offensive points per game (New England is 20th and 11th, respectively, for what that is worth).

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