The Buffalo Bills have won their first AFC East title in 25 years. A win over the Patriots next Monday would give the Bills their first 12-win season since 1993, when they reached the Super Bowl for the fourth consecutive season. Head coach Sean McDermott and QB Josh Allen are getting much of the credit for Buffalo’s current success, but a turnaround like this is a team effort.
In addition to McDermott and Allen, here are five other reasons the Bills have emerged as a Super Bowl contender in 2020:
This is Leslie Frazier’s fourth year as Bills defensive coordinator and Brian Daboll’s second as offensive coordinator. Both have had a big impact on this team. Unfortunately for the Bills, both will be sought-after head coaching candidates this offseason.
Whether through the draft, free agency or trades, Buffalo GM Brandon Beane has been very disciplined in his approach to roster development. In almost all cases, the Bills have added smart, competitive, physical and driven players.
In addition to Allen, Buffalo has hit on all of its first-round draft picks since Beane and McDermott took over. In 2017, they got cornerback Tre’Davious White. In 2018, they had two first-round picks – taking Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. In 2019, they landed defensive tackle Ed Oliver. All four are key starters. Even when they traded their first-round pick in 2020, they used it to acquire Stefon Diggs, who has a league-leading 111 receptions.
While Diggs has had a major impact, the 2019 free-agent signing of Cole Beasley can’t be underestimated. Beasley is thriving as the Bills’ slot receiver. In his ninth season (second in Buffalo), he already has set new career highs for receptions (79) and yards (950).
Buffalo isn’t always dominant on defense, but they’ve been good at preventing big plays. Only three teams have allowed fewer completions of 20-plus yards than the Bills, and they’re one of only eight teams that has yet to allow a run of over 40 yards. In other words, teams must execute flawlessly in order to sustain drives and score against them.