January 23rd, 2022 – the agony of defeat was real for the Buffalo Bills.
In what probably still feels like yesterday for Josh Allen and his teammates, the Bills fell in overtime to the Chiefs, ending Buffalo’s playoff run in last season’s divisional round. And they never had a chance to score. From my perspective, the outcome of that clash is one of the biggest reasons why I like Buffalo this year. It adds even more motivation. In pro sports, especially in the current era, athletes and teams are not equally motivated. As bettors, it’s one of the most important intangible factors we should consider.
Psychology teaches us that significant motivation can add newfound degrees of intensity and determination that push performance to its limits. A team like the Bills, who already had all the ingredients to make a Super Bowl run last year, could be scary good this season if they’re ultra-motivated like we expect. That’s not the only reason why Buffalo gets such a high mark, though.
Current Projected Win Total: 11.5
Schedule Difficulty: Medium
Power Rating: 91.3
Let’s start with the quarterback. If there’s one weakness to Josh Allen’s game, it’s his decision-making. At times, he still tends to force aggressive throws down the field in big-game situations. We love such aggression, but there’s also a hazardous component to such risk-taking. That’s really grasping for straws, though. Overall, there’s not much to criticize about Allen. He threw at a 63.3% completion rate for 4,407 yards, 36 TDs and 15 INTs last season. He also concluded the year with a 92.2 QB rating. The 2020 second-team All-Pro was even more amazing in the playoffs: 77% completion rate, 9 TDs, 0 INTs.
Allen is an exceptional leader, an extremely hard worker, and he has every physical attribute needed to lead the Bills into more postseason opportunities. He’s been spectacular for two seasons in a row, and we would expect nothing less in his 2022 campaign.
Stefon Diggs is obviously the most skilled offensive player. However, Dawson Knox, Devin Singletary, Gabriel Davis, and others round out a very formidable depth chart on offense. We also love that they signed former Jets WR Jamison Crowder, a great weapon in the slot. Josh Allen maximizes his supporting cast as good as any quarterback, so it’ll be up to Dorsey and McDermott to ensure their offense maintains creativity and pace. On the offensive line, there’s still plenty to hope for. Spencer Brown should improve in his second season, (he was particularly awful at moments last year) and this is a well-disciplined, albeit not overly talented, unit for Buffalo.
Buffalo had a #1 defense last year in a ton of categories, and they were easily one of the best pass-defenses in the NFL. That’s especially impressive for how often they led in games. A well-rounded defensive line overall, Buffalo added depth in the offseason with acquisitions Daquan Jones and Tim Settle for their interior line. The addition of Von Miller should not be understated, either. Although beyond his prime, his moxie, leadership, experience, and skill-level, particularly in big-game-moment, is priceless.
On the coaching side, new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey is in a good position to at least keep the train moving without Brian Daboll. Josh Allen has a 3-year relationship with Dorsey, and he certainly seems content with the change, although one has to wonder what effect it’ll have on the offense in big-time situations; they were second in third down conversion rate (47.33%) last season, and the play calling was often exceptional when they needed to convert. Leslie Frasier, their five-year defensive coordinator, and head coach Sean McDermott round out one of the more experienced and high-functioning units in football
On top of all the very tangible reasons to believe the Bills are a Super Bowl contender this year, the intangibles are just as strong. Josh Allen, Sean McDermott, Von Miller, and a long list of team-oriented veteran players are the foundation of the Bills’ success. Buffalo can best other highly-skilled teams because of this one factor alone. Amped, retooled, and poised in their prime – I expect the Bills to be as consistent and dominant as ever. I don’t love any futures bet over 11, but I lean over for the many obvious reasons mentioned above.