The Buffalo Bills are off to a 5-2 start, and before anyone gets excited about the playoffs – they’ve only beaten one team with a winning record, Atlanta – the schedule gets significantly more difficult in the 2nd half with two games against the Patriots, back-to-back trips to the Chargers and Chiefs, and a home date with the Saints.
Still, 5-2 is impressive given the turnover that happened in the offseason – a new coach in January, a new GM in May – and then the flurry of moves the Bills made over the last two months, starting with trading receiver Sammy Watkins and most recently, unloading defensive tackle Marcel Dareus.
We’ll get back to the season in a moment, but first, here’s how stacked their draft future is:
1st Round: 2 (theirs, Kansas City Chiefs pick)
2nd Round: 2 (theirs, LA Rams pick)
3rd Round: 1 (Philadelphia Eagles pick)
4th Round: 1 (theirs)
5th Round: 1 (theirs)
6th Round: 1 (Jacksonville Jaguars pick)
Having four of the top 55 draft picks is a great position to be in; doubly so if you’re 5-2. I had them going defensive end and QB in my last mock draft.
But before anyone gets too excited, the Bills are #1 in the NFL in turnover margin (+14) and that isn’t sustainable. We saw this with Detroit earlier this season when it was winning; the Lions remain +7, but are only 3-4 having lost four of five. The one game they did win? Minnesota fumbled three times and lost them all.
Still, the Bills are getting it done in other important categories: 8th in the NFL in 3rd down completions (42%) and 11th in scoring TDs in the red zone (11th). Tyrod Taylor is the ideal game manager QB – don’t make mistakes, keep it simple, keep plays alive.
One cause for concern: They’re 25th in yards per play (4.8) and the defense is permitting 5.3 ypp.
In ways, this almost feels like the Jets year from 2015: Smoke and mirrors with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and next thing you know, you’re 10-5 and facing a win-and-in for the playoffs. They lost (to the Bills) and have been grasping at straws since. They went 5-11 last year, and probably may duplicate that record this year. Eternal rebuilding. No QB. No vision.
The Bills haven’t made the playoffs in 17 seasons, the longest drought in the NFL.