What They're Saying

What they're saying | NFL analysts share these thoughts on the undefeated Bills

Josh Allen (17) and the offense prior to the Buffalo Bills vs Las Vegas Raiders game, October 4, 2020 at Allegiant Stadium.  
Photo by Bill Wippert
Josh Allen (17) and the offense prior to the Buffalo Bills vs Las Vegas Raiders game, October 4, 2020 at Allegiant Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Simms: "They're on fire right now."

Chris Simms on Football Night in America talked about the two of the polarizing Bills players who have had hot starts this season.

Simms on WR Stefon Diggs: "I can't remember a guy who's changed the outlook or just an absolute aura of an offense more than Diggs has with that trade in the off-season."

Simms on QB Josh Allen: "They've given him the keys to the Ferrari, and he continues to drive it fast and not put any dents in it. They're on fire right now."

2. Josh Allen is an MVP candidate

Sports Illustrated columnist Albert Breer in this week's MMQB talked about Josh Allen's MVP candidacy and how the quarterback has played in the first quarter of the season.

Josh Allen is a very legit MVP candidate.

Need me to repeat that? Josh Allen is a very legit MVP candidate. In Year 3, at 24 years old, he's a different dude than he was in 2018 and '19. When the Bills drafted him, they believed with better talent around him, his accuracy issues could be cleaned up—something a lot of NFL folks thought wouldn't happen. The logic went that if he was no longer running for his life, as he did at Wyoming for three years as a starter, he'd be able to play with a calmer lower half. That's why, on Sunday, I was more impressed with the stuff he did efficiently and on time than the every-week high-wire act we've come to expect. And his first big throw of the game was a good illustration. It was third-and-6, and Allen was in the shotgun. He took the snap and dropped three steps. Hung in there. Hung in there. Hung in there. Then, he calmly whistled the ball deep and outside the numbers to pick up 21 yards and, easily, the first down. It was one of five completions on the drive, and all five came within the design of the play and on target. And that, honestly, is where you're seeing the next level of Allen's game being unlocked.

3. High praise for the Bills defense

NFL.com columnist Michael Silver had some praise for the Bills defense and how they have been playing to start the season.

I love the way the Bills defend, and it starts with the back end. Brandon Beane, the general manager has done such a good job of building this secondary. You have two underappreciated grinders at safety, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. Tre'Davious White, they just paid him and is one of the most underrated stars in this league. Then Josh Norman entered the fray yesterday, good to see him back, always been one of my favorites. He gets a lot of grief from outsiders, I know he's been paid a lot in the past, but he's very confident in his abilities. The guys who rip on Josh Norman are missing what he does. He affects games, and he makes big plays. No, he is not perfect, he is not perfectly behaved all the time, in terms of avoiding confrontations with opponents. But he is one of the great playmakers of his era and I'm glad that he's back, and you saw [him] do it again yesterday in a big moment for the Bills.

4. How strong is Josh Allen's MVP case?

Bleacher Report writers gave their comments on if Josh Allen is an early competitor in the NFL MVP race.

So far, Allen has exceeded all expectations after finishing in the bottom half of the league for all the major passing statistics last season. This year is completely different. He has a 70.9 completion percentage, 1,326 passing yards, and a 12-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio through four weeks of play. The quarterback has added three more rushing scores, as well. Allen's development has been nothing short of extraordinary, and the Bills are winning.

How does he stack up with the other competitors in the early MVP race?

Gary Davenport: B+

Allen has been lights-out this season for the 4-0 Bills, who look like a legitimate threat to the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens in the AFC. He threw for almost 300 yards in a Week 4 win over the Raiders and added three more touchdowns to his already impressive resume. It's still early, and Russell Wilson remains the frontrunner, but Allen's not far behind him at all.

Kalyn Kahler: B

I think MVP will ultimately go to Wilson this year, but Allen is a close and deserving second. He's only thrown one interception so far and is on pace for over 5,000 passing yards and 50 total touchdowns. Wild.

Brad Gagnon: C

There's little doubt he's one of a handful of prime candidates, but have you seen what Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes have been doing? Let's see how he fares head-to-head with Mahomes and the defending champs in two weeks.

5. Sando on the Bills and the playoffs

Mike Sando, a writer for The Athletic, elaborated on two takeaways he has from the Bills great start to the 2020 season.

Takeaways from the Bills' 4-0 start

QB help is good: Sunday marked nine months to the day since the Bills' 16-0 lead over the Texans turned into a 22-19 overtime defeat. Seeking greater production and consistency from young quarterback Josh Allen, Buffalo acquired receiver Stefon Diggs from Minnesota. Diggs emerged from Sunday tied with Seattle's D.K. Metcalf for the league lead in receiving yards with 403, a career-high total through four games. He rescued Allen on an underthrown deep ball, making a leaping grab for a 49-yard gain. We can debate whether the Bills would have been better off holding onto the 22nd overall pick and selecting Justin Jefferson, the highly productive receiver Minnesota chose in that slot, but the takeaway is more about the general idea — help your quarterback — than the methods for doing so. So far, production at receiver trumps concerns entering the season that Buffalo was still too small at the position.

Playoffs are all but assured: From divisional realignment in 2002 through last season, 44 of 53 teams that started 4-0 reached the playoffs. Sixteen reached the Super Bowl. These 4-0 teams won 12 games on average. Only two finished with losing records, including the 2008 Bills, who finished the regular season with 14 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. Allen already has 12 touchdown passes with only one interception. He is not Trent Edwards or J.P. Losman, the quarterbacks for that 2008 team. Among Bills quarterbacks over the past two decades, only Drew Bledsoe in 2002 has started anywhere close to this impressively from a production standpoint. Bledsoe matched Allen's current production in completion rate and yardage while tossing 10 scoring passes with two picks in the first four games that season. He had 14 touchdowns with 13 interceptions the rest of the way, a reminder that four games are… four games. But at 4-0, these Bills are way ahead of their 2002 ancestors, who were 2-2.

6. Josh Allen: most improved offensive player

NFL.com writer Gregg Rosenthal gave Josh Allen a big honor after the first quarter of the season.

Most improved offensive player: Josh Allen

I never thought Allen could improve his accuracy enough to be this consistent. I was so incredibly wrong. While Allen made some strides in his second season, this third-year leap is trending toward the historic. His performance against the Raiders on Sunday was his most impressive yet because of the difficulty of the tight-window throws Allen consistently made. It helps that Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, John Brown, and Gabriel Davis are making great plays on the ball, but that only proves the point. Allen is trusting his wideouts and putting the ball in a position for them to make plays. His decision-making can occasionally short-circuit, but overall, Allen is also making smart decisions while going through his progressions behind an improved offensive line.

Allen is handing out Ls to media doubters like me on a weekly basis, and the forgiving schedule of defenses he's faced doesn't get much tougher the rest of the way. Even if Allen ultimately proves to be streaky, this season could be one, long streak, like Cam Newton's 2015. The Bills are a perfect avatar of the NFL in 2020, possessing an Arena League offense with a diminished defense that only needs to make a few plays per game to get the victory.

Rosenthal also said that the Bills are a team that is playing well but has room to get a lot better as the season rolls on.

The Bills' defense should play better. They have the personnel, the coaching, and the track record for success to be much better than average after a substandard start to the year. If the 2017-19 Bills' defense joins the 2020 Bills' offense at any point, Buffalo is a Super Bowl threat. Considering the Bills are 4-0 with such a mediocre defense so far, they might be, anyway.

7. McDermott earns quarter season award

Sports Illustrated columnist Albert Breer gave out his quarter season honors and thinks McDermott has earned coach of the year through four weeks.

Coach of the Year: Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills

I don't know that there's a team that's rolling out there right now that's a real surprise, so I'm giving it to the guy who I think has done as good a job as any in taking his team to the next level. Buffalo looks fully capable of getting 12 or 13 wins, and McDermott's a huge part of it.

8. Josh Allen winner in week 4

SB Nation declares Josh Allen a winner for week 4 and calls him one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Winner: Josh Allen

He's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Yes, here we are once again. Another week, another stunning Josh Allen performance that's going to fly under the radar and not get noticed enough outside of Buffalo. Part of this has to do with the fact that Allen still has his doubters on the national stage, but sooner or later people are going to wake up. The Raiders are a good football team. This wasn't a gimme game, and yet he still put up numbers to keep him on course for 5,000 passing yards and over 50 touchdowns on the year. I'll keep noticing you, Josh Allen. I promise.

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