1. The Athletic picks the Bills as most surprising team of year
In The Athletic's 2019 NFL Awards article, the 52 panelists who voted on several awards believe the Bills had the most surprising season of any NFL team, finishing the season 10-7 with a playoff appearance.
Most Surprising Team: Buffalo Bills (18 out of 52 votes)
Midseason pick: San Francisco 49ers (36 votes)
Preseason pick: Carolina Panthers (10 votes)
Considering the Bills entered the season with an over/under of 7.5 wins in Vegas, the fact that they finished with 10 wins for the first time since 1999 qualifies them as the league's most surprising team. Brandon Beane injected the offense with talent mostly by way of free agency. A revamped offensive line and the additions of John Brown and Cole Beasley helped Josh Allen take a noticeable step forward in his second season. The progress on offense along with the continued elite play on defense elevated this team to the postseason. While the Jets generated all of the offseason hype, the Bills quietly built a winning roster. —Matthew Fairburn
2. PFF's analysis on how the Bills can make a Super Bowl run in 2020
After Wild Card Weekend, PFF looked into how the Bills can improve in 2020.
BUFFALO BILLS (10-7)
The Bills went into Saturday afternoon's game against the Houston Texans as our 10th-best team in terms of PFF ELO, about two points better than an average team on a neutral field. They won six of their seven games that were decided by eight points or more, but only four of 10 close games. While they are still searching for their first playoff win since 1995, Buffalo is built very well defensively, with a secondary that is a top-six group in the NFL in terms of PFF WAR. They have a top-six group in terms of special teams and acquired some serious talent on the offensive side of the ball in John Brown, Cole Beasley, Ty Nsekhe and Devin Singletary last offseason. Some questions remain, though, as they strive to make the Super Bowl for the first since the 1993 season.
After Josh Allen's second NFL season, PFF believes it's similar to Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in 2018. The offenses as a whole and where they rank are not similar, but PFF sees common trends in the way both improved in year two.
Allen has a lot going for him. His arm strength is matched by few in the NFL, and his playmaking ability on the ground is surpassed by only Lamar Jackson among signal-callers in the league. The Bills worked around his weaknesses and enhanced his strengths for much of the second half of the season, and a Ravens-level of that approach could certainly work in 2020 (if Brian Daboll returns), but I suspect we'll see a great deal of under money on the Bills' win total for 2020 as a result of the question marks surrounding the former first-round pick.
PFF also sees the 2018 Bears and 2019 Bills as having similar defenses when it comes to where they rank and how tough they made it on other offenses to score.
Ok, so what's the point? As we've written about several times, coverage is what wins defensively in the NFL, but coverage is not very stable from season to season, and it is very susceptible to injuries. Hyde, Poyer, starting corner Levi Wallace and star linebacker Tremaine Edmunds started all 16 games this season, while White only missed a meaningless Week 17 matchup with the New York Jets. If there are any perturbations to this stability, the Bills may go from a top-five defense to a top-10 one, which, as we've seen, is enough to drag a team down when the quarterback play is iffy.
On the other hand, first-round pick Ed Oliver was able to generate 29 total pressures and 21 stops as a part-time player, and McDermott and Frazier have consistently been atop our defensive play-caller rankings during their time with Buffalo. The AFC East is not a division that's exactly replete with great quarterbacks (especially with the question marks surrounding Tom Brady's future), so their schedule might do them some favors on that side of the ball after a relatively easy 2019 slate. It's tough to win consistently with defense in today's NFL, but if a team can do it, it might be the Bills in 2020.
3. Will the Bills be aggressive during the offseason?
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal thinks the Bills will have an "aggressive" offseason. Why? Cap space.
Saturday's [Wild Card] loss to the Texans showed the limitations of Buffalo's sound, conservative approach. After a brilliant opening-drive script, the Bills' offense didn't score a touchdown in their ensuing 10 possession against the worst defense to qualify for the postseason. It's hard to win in January without a consistent passing game, and Josh Allen's performance against Houston was typical of his 2019 season: There was a lot more to like than before, but there was still a whole lot of ugly. ...
#BillsMafia should take comfort that the foundation is strong, with a back seven on defense that has great youth, talent and continuity. The roster won't have many key players to replace. That should give Buffalo flexibility to take some calculated risks, whether it's in free agency, the draft or the trade market.
There were plenty of memorable moments on the field for the Bills during the 2019 season. Scroll through to view the top photos of the team celebrating throughout the season.
4. Biggest offseason need for Buffalo Bills
Heading into the draft and free agency, ESPN thinks Buffalo’s biggest need is on offense.
Add an offensive playmaker. The Bills struck gold this offseason with the additions of John Brown, Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary. The trio immediately improved a well-below-average offense from 2018. But Buffalo still lacks a home run hitter -- a player who is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Such an addition would help quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills' offense, turning Buffalo into a true contender. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques
5. Peter King on Josh Allen
Peter King says Bills fans should be happy that Josh Allen is their quarterback of the future.
I think Josh Allen, yes, did melt down some in the second half at Houston. But he's a kid. He made some great plays in the first half. He's not the most accurate passer, but I think if I was a Bills' fan I'd be really happy he's my long-term quarterback. Not Mahomes happy, but happy.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen led the team to the playoffs in his second season as the team's quarterback. Scroll through to view some of the best photos from his 2019 season.