Buffalo Bills fans have a lot to look forward to this season. After years of subpar play and losing, the current Bills team is one of the top contenders for the AFC East. That’s a huge feat for fans since the last time they won their division was 1995 — one year before star quarterback Josh Allen was even born. So what are the Bills’ chances of turning things around?
A quick history of the Buffalo Bills
In the late ’80s to mid-’90s, the Bills were always considered a serious contender. With players like Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Bruce Smith the team won the AFC Championship for four consecutive years (1990-93). Those wins were quickly overshadowed by subsequent Super Bowl losses, a record the team isn’t thrilled to hold.
The mid-1990s was the beginning of the Bills’ decline. QB Jim Kelly retired in 1996, and new teams like the Patriots would soon take over and dominate the division. For the next two decades, the Bills struggled. In 2017, the rain clouds started to part when the team secured a wild card playoff berth.
The same thing happened in 2019. Even though they lost, Bills fans were encouraged by their team and looked forward to the future. 2020 is now shaping up to be the dream season Bills fans have waited for since those Super Bowl losses back in the ’90s.
A winning season
With the seventh pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected Josh Allen. He started as a backup to Nathan Peterman but quickly got the starting position after Peterman’s dismal play. His rookie season saw the Bills finish with a 6-10 record. And he became the first Bills quarterback to lead in passing and rushing during a single season.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the offseason acquisition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and suddenly the Bills are favored to win the AFC East. The pieces are starting to fall into place as Allen just came off a dominant win over the Seahawks. It wasn’t just all offense during that game either — the defense held their own with five sacks and four turnovers. Because this squad is such a well-rounded team, they’re a threat to go deep into the playoffs.
Are the odds in their favor?
So is Buffalo geared to win their division? Well, according to Five Thirty-Eight, they have an 85% chance of taking the AFC East title this season. While their remaining games are still challenging, they’re not necessarily consequential to their divisional chances. Only Miami and New England seem to be the final two obstacles left for the Bills. Since they’re the only two divisional opponents they play in their final games, winning both would almost certainly solidify their title chances.
In other good news for Bills fans, the New England Patriots aren’t what they used to be. Since 2009, the Patriots have won the division every year. With Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski now playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots are in the rebuilding process. 2020 is the perfect time for the Bills to take advantage of the former AFC Champions overhaul.
With their play ramping up, the only thing that may stand in Buffalo’s way is injuries. A significant portion of their offensive line has sustained injuries, and the Bills have dipped into their reserves. Hurt players and the constant threat of COVID-19 remain a source of worry for the whole league but especially for Buffalo, a team on the verge of success.