2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 25 Buffalo Bills
I've always wondered why Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's struggles from the pocket receive vastly more scrutiny than Josh Allen's. We're splitting hairs here, but Jackson's completion percentage in college was 57 percent to Allen's 56.2. Add the fact that Jackson threw 437 more pass attempts and the narrative looks rather spicy. Nonetheless, Buffalo tabbed Allen as its franchise guy in 2018, picking the Wyoming product seventh overall. Despite moments where Allen looked more like Jamarcus Allen than a competent NFL signal-caller, the rookie enjoyed plenty of success.
Allen's massive arm and ability to create magic weren't secrets among league enthusiasts. We'd heard stories and seen endless clips of the field general whipping the pigskin 80 yards on the fly and leaping over defenders. Watching it live against some of the NFL's best athletes still invokes a sense of awe.
The quarterback broke Buffalo's record for rushing yards by a signal-caller (631) and tied Jack Kemp's record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (eight), shattered the legendary Michael Vick's record for most rushing yards in his first eight starts (490) and averaged an eye-popping 12.3 yards per completion. So what do you do when you think you've found your franchise quarterback? Continue to build around him. Buffalo wasted no time during the 2019 offseason, acquiring the talent needed to help the young hurler succeed. The team added Devin Singletary to a running game that consists of Hall of Famers Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy. It bolstered the offensive line with Mitch Morse, Ty Nsekhe, Jon Feliciano and LaAdrian Waddle. The Bills also gave Allen viable options in the passing game by acquiring deep-ball artist John Brown and proverbial chain-mover Cole Beasley. With much heavier artillery surrounding Allen in 2019, Bills Mafia Members should finally have some fireworks to go with a Dirty 30 of Natty Light.
In 2018, a bright-eyed yet stingy Bills defense finished second in yards allowed (294.1) -- 19 yards from the top spot and their first top-five ranking since 2014. When camp opened in 2019, the team boasted 10 of its 11 starters from last year’s unit. That included Pro Bowl defensive back Tre'Davious White, pass-rushing specialist Jerry Hughes and leading tackler Tremaine Edmunds -- he's deadass only 20. Instead of complacency, Buffalo's general manager Big Baller Brandon Beane spent a first-round pick on Ed Oliver, an Aaron Donald clone and arguably the draft's best player. As a former yet insanely washed collegiate defensive tackle, I've studied countless hours of tape on the position. Still never seen DTs quite like Donald, Oliver, and Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.
Offensive Players to Watch: Zay Jones, Josh Allen, Tyler Kroft, John Brown.
Defensive Players to Watch: Ed Oliver, Levi Wallace, Tremaine Edmunds, Kevin Johnson.
Verdict: The Bills didn't have half the talent they boast this year and still found a way to come up with six victories. Wouldn't be surprised if they go for eight in Josh Allen's second season. Buffalo fans might as well invest in a pair of Ray-Bans. The future is bright. 7-9