Bills ranked as top Super Bowl contender heading into Week 5
#1. Buffalo Bills: After a slow start, quarterback Josh Allen is on fire, the same way he ended last season. But the real reason for optimism in Buffalo is the Bills' top-ranked defense. The pass rush is excellent, and they are giving up just 68 yards per game on the ground. There's no question that the Kansas City Chiefs (more on them later) are capable of bouncing back to reclaim the top spot in the AFC, but for now it belongs to the Bills.
The Bills will find a way to win this game.
Former All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy was on First Things First earlier this week and was talking about this week's matchup between the Bills and the Chiefs. McCoy played one season with both Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes and knows how the two quarterbacks operate. McCoy thinks the Bills have a chance to win this game on Sunday night.
"It's not a make-or-break game," McCoy said. "This season is still early. This is a long season, it's a long season so I don't want everybody to get wrapped up on the Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen game right now. Hopefully they win and if they don't, that's fine. They'll learn from it they watch the tape and then they'll see them later on the playoffs. So, Josh has a lot of time to get better and get his team ready. … I feel like the Bills win this game. It's hard to bet against the Chiefs, but when you really watch them. Being in Philadelphia and being there for so long, you always watch the Rocky fights, right? And he's always losing, blood coming out, he's losing, and he can't stop it but he finds a way to win. It's hard to do that with the Chiefs when you got to be perfect offense. With Josh Allen and that defense with the Bills, they're gonna find a way to win the game. If it's not this game, it will be later in the playoffs. I guarantee it."
It's going to be about execution
The matchup of the Bills against the Chiefs is the Total Access game of the week. On Tuesday night, MJ Acosta, DeAngelo Hall and Shaun O'Hara previewed the game and discussed the bigger storylines heading into Sunday night's matchup. O'Hara pointed out a big key to the game for the Bills.
"In this game, there's gonna be no surprises here," O'Hara said. "Sean McDermott has been with Andy Reid, from all the way back to their time in Philly together, so it's going to be about execution. And I tell you when things break down around them, Mahomes has been so great at that, except for the Super Bowl. And I think when you look at what Buffalo did this offseason with the draft. Their first-round pick and their second-round pick both went to pass rushers, Greg Rousseau, and Boogie Basham. They said, 'we have to find a way to stop Mahomes. We have to find a way to beat the Chiefs. If we ever want to bring back the Lombardi trophy to Orchard Park, that's what we have to do.' And when you look at them defensively, they're built for that. A lot of their talent and everything they've invested is upfront and needs to get after Patrick Mahomes for this exact moment in this exact game."
The Bills need this win more
Host of Good Morning Football, Kyle Brandt joined One Bills Live for his weekly appearance to speak all things Bills. Heading into a game against Kansas City, Brandt explains why Buffalo needs this win more than Kansas City?
"Who needs this when more, is it Kansas City or is it Buffalo?" Brandt said. "The case for Kansas City, obviously the record is not as good, you don't want to fall that far behind in the standings and everything. If Buffalo loses this game. I don't want to use the word despair here but it's certainly going to be a huge psychological setback. That 'how and when are we gonna beat these guys.' Because Herbert just did these dudes in their house, but Lamar beat him. If not now, then when. I actually think Buffalo needs it more than Kansas City, despite what the records say."
3. The Bills Win Blowouts
The team with the best point differential in the NFL through four weeks is the Buffalo Bills at +90. The next best team is the Cardinals at +55 and the Denver Broncos at +34. The Bills have gotten there mostly by beating up on bad teams. A 40-0 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday makes up for 44.4% of their point differential on the season but breathing up on bad teams should be viewed as a good sign rather than "they haven't played anybody."
The idea that the best sign of a great team is its ability to beat up on bad teams is an old Football Outsiders staple and it's been a reliable measure. The Bills are without a doubt a good team right now.
… Buffalo might not have played the toughest schedule, but the big wins do prove the Bills are a good team. We're going to get a real good look against the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday night, but a close win or loss doesn't negate what the team has done early in the season.
Maybe the Bills are the best team in the AFC
The Bills have won their last three games by a combined score of 118-21. They have pitched two shutouts and they have barely had to break a sweat. Josh Allen was a little bit off in the game against the Steelers but he has been red hot as he threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions in these last three games.
… The thing is the Bills are shaping up to be the team we all thought they would be. Allen and that offense are at times unstoppable. They are loaded with weapons and ways to beat you and as Allen continues to get experience, he continues to get better. They are +90 in point differential, which is by far and away the best in that category in the NFL.
The Bills defense, though, has been even more impressive as they lead the NFL in point's allowed (only 11 ppg given up) and they are fifth in rushing yards allowed (68 per game). The Bills seem have been motivated to wash away that awful loss to the Steelers and really appear to be gaining momentum.
This Sunday, though, we will find out if they are for real or not as they play at Kansas City. And yes, I know the Chiefs have two losses and have been shaky at times, but if we have learned anything about Pat Mahomes it is that he lives for these big games on prime time TV (it is the Sunday Night game of the week).
I'm not ready to say the Bills are the best team in the NFL or even the AFC, but if they win this one Sunday I will be. And it wouldn't be unreasonable if they did win to expect them to run their winning streak to at least eight games as their next four games after the Chiefs are against the Titans, Dolphins, Jaguars and Jets.
PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK – Week 4
Defense -LB:Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills
SECRET SUPERSTAR OF THE WEEK:
CB: Cam Lewis, Buffalo Bills
Lewis, a 2019 undrafted free agent, spent the first few weeks of the year on the practice squad and entered Week 4 with only 75 career snaps to his name, all of which came in 2020. The Bills needed someone to man the nickel spot with Taron Johnson out due to injury and they called on Lewis to fill the void.
Lewis ended up earning an 81.9 coverage grade as he tallied up a pass breakup, a passing stop and a forced fumble while allowing zero first downs in coverage.
Chiefs will test Bills' powerhouse defense
We're going to know a lot more about the Buffalo Bills' defense this coming weekend. The unit has been ravaging opposing offenses on a weekly basis, creating the types of humiliating scores that are more commonly associated with the college game. That dominance should have people in Western New York thrilled about the potential of this particular team. We'll also see if the success can continue against an offense that has given this squad fits: the Kansas City Chiefs.
That's a critical perspective to have as the Bills prepare for their Sunday Night Football matchup in Kansas City. Buffalo has made huge strides as a franchise over the past two years, earning a wild-card spot in 2019 and claiming the AFC East title in 2020. What they haven't been able to do is figure out the Chiefs. These teams played twice last year -- once in the regular season and again in the AFC title game -- and both contests ended in Buffalo defeats.
One of the major takeaways from last year was that the Chiefs had an answer for every option the Bills tried. Kansas City ran for 245 yards in the regular-season game, then passed for 325 in the playoff win. Both occasions revealed a disconcerting fact for Buffalo: that they simply weren't going to beat the Chiefs until they had the ability to slow them down. This could be the season when that happens, if the Bills' defense lives up to the hype.
The Bills have to continue that trend inside Arrowhead Stadium. They admittedly melted down on a huge stage last January, when the Chiefs overwhelmed Allen, and nobody offered much help for the star quarterback. This time around, Buffalo is coming in with a more complete team. If they are as good as advertised, they could be leaving with far more confidence about how this year's AFC race will shake out.