It’s NFL team preview time, and today we’re looking at the Buffalo Bills. Each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from July 25 through Sept. 8, we will take an in-depth look at each team in the NFL with a 7- to 10-minute video going through impactful additions and departures, last year’s rankings and strength of schedule in 2023.
Home Field Sports analyst Jim Derry will then make a prediction on the team’s record this season and where they will finish in their respective division, along with the over/under win total, as posted Caesars Sportsbook.
These stories are a brief summary of the accompanied preview videos – powered by the Dattitude Podcast (which will review each division every Friday until the season begins). The schedule for when each team will run is listed below with a link to each story and video that already has run.
Coach: Sean McDermott (7th season)
2022 record: 13-3, 1st in AFC East (third straight); defeated Miami, 34-31, in wild-card round; lost to Cincinnati, 27-10, in divisional round.
Last season in a nutshell: Once again, the Bills seemed to be not only Joe Q. Public’s pick to win the Super Bowl, but the media had bought into all the hype, as well. And why not? They had – and still have – one of the top up-and-coming, dynamic quarterbacks in Josh Allen and weapons seemingly everywhere on the field.
But – just as they had done in 2022 – they went into a mini-funk around the midway point of the season, losing back-to-back games to the Jets and Vikings, and were unimpressive the next two weeks against the Browns and Lions.
They seemed to get it back together and were going to be primed for a deep run in the playoffs – and possibly prove Mr. Public and the media correct – before safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on a Monday night in front of a nationwide audience.
Although the team defeated New England in its regular-season finale (after the MNF game against the Bengals was canceled) and then squeaked past Miami in icy conditions in the wild-card round, they were blitzed by the Bengals in the divisional round.
Was another disappointing finish a setup for what “Bills Mafia” has been waiting 58 years for? All those losses in the playoffs, all the missed opportunities … the question heading into the 2023 campaign must be: With a dimmer spotlight on this team, is this the year Buffalo finally plays to their full potential?
2023 bye week: 13
2023 Draft: 1 (25th overall) TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah; 2 (59) G O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida; 3 (91) LB Dorian Williams, Tulane; 5 (150) WR Justin Shorter, Florida; G Nick Broeker, Ole Miss; 7 (252) CB Alex Austin, Oregon State.
Free-agent signings: G Connor McGovern (from Dallas), 3 years, $22.35M; WR Deonte Harty (from New Orleans), 2 years, $9.5M; LB Leonard Floyd (from LA Rams), 1 year, $7M; DE Poona Ford (from Seattle), 1 year, $3M; S Taylor Rapp (from LA Rams), 1 year, $1.77M; G David Edwards (from LA Rams), 1 year, $1.77M; WR Trent Sherfield (from Miami), 1 year, $1.77M; RB Damien Harris (from New England), 1 year, $1.77M; T Brandon Shell (from Miami), 1 year, $1.32M; RB Latavius Murray (from Denver), 1 year, $1.32M; QB Kyle Allen (from Houston), 1 year, $1.24M; CB Cameron Dantzler (from Washington) 1 year, $1.01M; LB Travin Howard (from LA Rams), 1 year, $1.01M.
What needs to go right: First, off they have to avoid that midseason funk like they have now done in back-to-back seasons.
They have a schedule that sets up for them to potentially go 7-1 or even 8-0, but things change drastically after that with Cincinnati in Week 9. In fact, beginning the week before their Week 13 bye, it’s as tough as it gets in the NFL with a four-game run against Philadelphia (road), Kansas City (road), Dallas (home) and LA Chargers (road on a Saturday) before wrapping up the regular season against New England (home on New Year’s Eve) and Miami (road).
Allen passed for more than 4,200 yards and 35 touchdowns for the third consecutive season in ’22, and there’s no reason to think he won’t do it again. He also rushed for more than 750 yards for the second straight year with seven TDs in 2022 and six in 2021.
As a whole, the Bills have had the second-, fifth-, and second-best offenses in consecutive seasons since 2020 and top-six defenses the past two years.
All this, and we think they need to start at least 6-2 to finish over their mark of 10.5 wins and possibly 8-0 to be in a position to earn the No. 1 seed, which most certainly is more important in the AFC than in the NFC. Of course, we’re going to make you watch the video to see our prediction, but only a fool would completely give up on this team simply because they think Miami and the Jets (and maybe even New England) are better.
Key moments in video:
0:00 Buffalo Bills preview
1:08 What happened in 2022?
3:15 Offseason changes
3:55 Can Josh Allen get this team over hump?
4:42 What has to go right?
5:20 WR/TE corps as tough as ever
6:40 Defense has to be better against pass
7:16 A look at the schedule
8:52 Predictions and best bets for Bills
PREVIEW SCHEDULE / LINKS
July 25: Houston Texans
July 26: Indianapolis Colts
July 27: Jacksonville Jaguars
July 28: Tennessee Titans
Aug. 1: Arizona Cardinals
Aug. 2: Los Angeles Rams
Aug. 3: San Francisco 49ers
Aug. 4: Seattle Seahawks
Aug. 8: Denver Broncos
Aug. 9: Kansas City Chiefs
Aug. 10: Las Vegas Raiders
Aug. 11: Los Angeles Chargers
Aug. 15: Dallas Cowboys
Aug. 16: New York Giants
Aug. 17: Philadelphia Eagles
Aug. 18: Washington Commanders
Aug. 22: Buffalo Bills
Aug. 23: Miami Dolphins
Aug. 24: New England Patriots
Aug. 25: New York Jets
Aug. 29: Chicago Bears
Aug. 29: Detroit Lions
Aug. 30: Green Bay Packers
Aug. 30: Minnesota Vikings
Aug. 31: Baltimore Ravens
Aug. 31: Cincinnati Bengals
Sept. 1: Cleveland Browns
Sept. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers
Sept. 5: Atlanta Falcons
Sept. 6: Carolina Panthers
Sept. 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sept. 8: New Orleans Saints