May 5, 2019 | Posted in: Publishing

Second-year quarterback Josh Allen will be in the spotlight this fall in Buffalo. Does he have the team around him to wager a futures at 12/1 on a 2019 AFC East Title?

The Bills may have done well in the 2019 NFL Draft, landing stud defensive lineman Ed Oliver ninth overall and trading up in the second round to take versatile offensive lineman Cody Ford 38th overall in the second round. Third round draft choice, running back Devin Singletary, adds to an already crowded backfield with ageless Frank Gore and flashy, at times, TJ Yeldon. LeSean McCoy, entering his age 31 season, is still in the picture. Buffalo traded up again in the third round, nabbing Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox. Buffalo used their first three draft picks to address the three biggest needs on a team finishing 6-10 in 2018.

Is there room for optimism in 2019 #BillsMafia? Certainly wagering a future on a division title this season is ludicrous. The AFC East is inhabited by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots. Yet #BillsMafia, there will come a time when New England does not win the AFC East and why not this year? Tom Brady enters his age 42 season and historical data suggests the decline in skill is a cliff, not a gradual sliding scale of no longer being able to perform at the NFL level. Brady is the #GOAT. A tenth Super Bowl appearance and a seventh title aren’t going to surprise anyone at this juncture in the NFL. Yet, #BillsMafia, it’s gambling. Do you think you would have fun wagering four $25 future bets on Buffalo to win the AFC East, AFC Championship, Super Bowl, and the Over on wins? I’m going to write you a thousand words on why this could happen.

Buffalo’s pass defense is Elite and Studly

A secondary headlined by cornerback Tre’Davious White and versatile safety Micah Hyde resulted in Buffalo’s pass defense finished as the top-ranked unit in the NFL in 2018 giving up 179.2 passing yards per game. Buffalo finished a meager 16th overall in 2018 against the run and adding Ed Oliver ninth overall is going to help improve a Buffalo defense finishing second overall giving up 294.1 yards per game. Scoring defense was another story with Buffalo allowing 23.4 yards per game, a statistic compounded by Buffalo’s league-leading 32 turnovers (23 interceptions, nine fumbles lost).

Josh Allen in his second season with better play from the offensive line should help reduce turnovers in 2019. Buffalo was second in giveaways and ranked eighth in takeaways meaning the defense was bailing out their rookie QB in 2018. A return to the median of 20 offensive giveaways in 2019 should result in a seasonal turnover differential of plus ten for Buffalo.

In 2018, five teams finished with a plus ten or better turnover differential. Seattle, Houston, Chicago, the LA Rams, and the New England Patriots. A plus ten turnover differential equals the playoffs.

A Money line bet for #BillsMafia to make the playoffs in 2019?

Problems at Wide Receiver

The Bills failed to address wide receiver in this year’s draft. Underwhelming Zay Jones enters his third year, the traditional “WR Break-out” Year. Signing Cole Beasley and John Brown bolstered the corps as a whole with the speedy Robert Forster, electrifying at times in 2018, expected to be on the field the entire upcoming season.

Buffalo lacks a true number one presence on the field but remember, with a franchise QB on a rookie contract, there’s a four-year window to win a title. Wide Receiver can be addressed in 2020 and perhaps now is a good time for #BillsMafia to familiarize themselves with Collin Johnson from Texas, Laviska Sheanult Jr. from Colorado, and Kendrick Rogers from Texas A&M. Big, physical, fast receivers in the mold of Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. The trio will be considered among the top wide receivers available in the 2020 NFL Draft Class.

The best defense in the NFL

Tremaine Edmunds was a monster in the middle during his 2018 rookie season ranking 13th in the league with 121 total tackles last season. Lorenzo Alexander found the fountain of youth this past season, posting a shocking statistical season ranking him fourth among eligible linebackers. Certainly, #BillsMafia, on a one-year extension, you have to believe Alexander has one more year in the tank.

The real surprise in this low-key 2019 #1 ranked defensive unit in yards surrendered per game is the growth of linebacker Matt Milano in his second year in 2018. Milano is a stud in coverage and improving against the run and one can expect further growth in 2019. Ed Oliver has the potential to be sexy.

Can the Bills put it all together in 2019? My cat and I think anything is possible yet with New England’s experience against Buffalo’s youth, 2020 may be a more likely year for the torch to pass in the AFC East.

Bills on the money line to make the 2019 NFL Playoffs

1 Unit, +500