What They're Saying

What they're saying | NFL analysts make these observations for the 2020 Bills

090420-what-theyre-saying-bills-preseason

1. PFF picked the Bills to win the division.

Pro Football Focus thinks the depth on this Bills roster can help leapfrog the New England Patriots to win the division for the first time since 1995.

AFC EAST: BUFFALO BILLS

For the first time in decades, the AFC East is firmly up for grabs. Signing Cam Newton put the New England Patriots on equal footing once again, given that Bill Belichick remains in place, but Buffalo has the better roster top to bottom, so they're going to take the division for the first time since 1995 when Jim Kelly was their quarterback.

2. Bills stay at 6 in latest NFL.com Power Rankings.

Dan Hanzus, writer for NFL.com has the Bills ranked 6th in his latest Power Rankings. Buffalo was also ranked 6th in his last rankings back in April.

Buffalo Bills

Previous rank: No. 6

The Buffalo Bills have established themselves as an ascendant AFC contender and one of the most stable franchises in football. ... The organization further solidified its foundation last week by locking up Sean McDermott with an extension that keeps the head coach in Western New York through the middle of the decade. This no-brainer move occurred on the same week that left tackle Dion Dawkins signed a four-year, $60 million extension. We've all had enough of the endless speculation about Josh Allen's boom/bust potential (Week 1, get here please), but you get the feeling that Buffalo will survive and adapt even if Allen doesn't turn out to be the long-term solution behind center.

3. The Athletic ranks the Bills 3rd in continuity.

The Athletic has the Bills tied with the Green Bay Packers, with a continuity score of 91.9. They used a formula that incorporated three important factors, Coaching, Quarterback and Expected Returning Snaps. Only the Kansas City Chiefs had a higher score than the Bills and the Packers, scoring a 92.3.

3. Buffalo Bills (91.9)

The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia projected that Trent Murphy would eventually be cut. If we project Murphy to make the roster, the Bills would jump the Packers and Chiefs and be first on this list. In addition to bringing back Sean McDermott, Josh Allen and both play-callers, the Bills return 86.3 percent of their snaps (fifth) on offense. That includes all five starting offensive linemen from a group that performed well last season. Buffalo's big offseason move was trading for Stefon Diggs. Given that the rest of the offense is pretty much the same, it will be fun to observe the kind of impact a number one receiver can have on overall performance. Defensively, the Bills have much more turnover, ranking 14th in percentage of returning snaps.

4. Schein ranks Bills defense 2nd in the NFL.

Adam Schein, who writes for NFL.com, thinks that the Bills defense has strong talent on every level this season. The only team he ranked higher than Buffalo was the Los Angeles Chargers.

Buffalo Bills

Rank: 2

I love Sean McDermott. He's a gem of a head coach, completely transforming the Bills' culture during his three seasons on the job. Not to mention, he's a sensational defensive mind, with fingerprints all over the unit that quietly finished last season ranked second in scoring defense and third in total D. No wonder Buffalo just extended him through 2025. And McDermott's right-hand man, former head coach Leslie Frazier, is a luxury to have as a defensive coordinator.

Personnel wise, the Bills have two spectacular young building blocks: 25-year-old Tre'Davious White and 22-year-old Tremaine Edmunds. White just earned first-team All-Pro honors with an NFL-high six picks, while Edmunds made his first Pro Bowl as an emerging second-level dynamo. Meanwhile, the safety combo of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde remains criminally underrated, while DT Ed Oliver could be due for a second-year breakout. The talent is strong on every level. There's no weakness. And while the signings of veterans like Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, Josh Norman, Quinton Jefferson and A.J. Klein don't generate headlines, they fuel McDermott's system. The coaching takes this defense to the next level.

5. PFF thinks Buffalo has a top 5 receiving core.

Pro Football Focus believes that Buffalo has improved their receiving core by adding talent and depth to make it one of the most well-rounded in the league.

5. BUFFALO BILLS

The Bills' receiving weapons have improved drastically over the past two years, and they may boast the best trio in the league in 2020. An offseason trade for _Stefon Diggs__ completed the trifecta, as Buffalo added one of the league's best route runners who also leads the league with a contested-catch rate of 60.0% since 2016. He's capable of winning at all levels of the field, and his presence helps John Brown and Cole Beasley play to their respective strengths.

Brown's 4.34 speed makes him a downfield threat, but he's done his best work at the intermediate (10-19 yard) level, where his 57 receptions rank 16th in the league since 2017. Beasley is one of the best slot receivers in the league, and he's been open on 77.1% of his targets over the past two years — the best rate in the league. The top three should have distinct roles, as should Isaiah McKenzie, who ranked third in the league with 120 yards on screens last season. He adds the change-of-pace/jet sweep option that many NFL offenses covet. The Bills have one of the most well-rounded receiving units in the league.

6. Buffalo has a top 5 GM/HC duo in NFL according to Bucky Brooks.

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks has Beane and McDermott as his fifth-best general manager/head coach duo in the entire league. He thinks the pair is a perfect fit for the city and that they accurately represent the hardworking, blue-collar mindset of Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills

Rank: 5

GM: Brandon Beane · Coach: Sean McDermott

The Bills are a reflection of the blue-collar mentality embraced by their general manager and head coach. Beane has crafted a roster loaded with talented worker bees who complement each other well. From utilizing the draft to land talented youngsters like Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds to inking Cole Beasley and John Brown as key free-agent signees to trading for Stefon Diggs, the savvy evaluator has quietly assembled a roster featuring a bunch of hard-nosed players. McDermott is the perfect leader of the squad as a detail-oriented teacher with a clearly defined plan to take over the AFC East. After ending a 17-season postseason drought and securing playoff berths in two of the past three seasons, the Bills' old-school blueprint has returned the team to prominence.

Take a look through the best action photos from Bills training camp, presented by Connors and Ferris.

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