The Buffalo Bills come into the 2020 NFL season with as much hope and positive expectation than any Bills fan could have ever imagined. Tom Brady has given the Buffalo faithful nightmares for almost two decades. That time has finally come to an end. Josh Allen has taken a significant step forward. This Bills team was has ranked second in defensive efficiency last season, allowing just 16.2 points per game and 282.2 yards per game. With their defense getting even strong in the off-season, those numbers will likely only get better.
The Bills haven’t won a division title since 1995, and haven’t won an NFL playoff game since that same season. However, coming off a 10-6 season in 2019, the Bills have made some significant steps towards becoming a playoff contender in 2020.
The additions of Mario Addison along with Vernon Butler add to an already feared defensive front. The Bills also picked up defensive back Josh Norman, who will add to very deep Buffalo secondary. The Bills also traded away a first-round pick in the off-season to the Minnesota Vikings for receiver Stefon Diggs. This shows that the Bills believe that it is their time to dominate the AFC East. With the New England Patriots stepping back and the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets still in rebuilding mode, Bills fans have a lot to look forward to when it comes to the 2020 NFL Season.
The season projections have been made, and the bookmakers and experts have the Bills winning a total of 9.5 games. While this total seems to be quite low, it should be noted that the same experts had the Bills winning just 7.5 games last season, and they finished the year 10-6. With the additions the Bills have made, along with the regression of the AFC East as a whole, it would not be shocking to see the Bills win upwards of 12 to 14 games this season.
Let’s take a look at the Bills most difficult games in 2020
Buffalo Bills Most Difficult Games in 2020
1. Week 3: vs Los Angeles Rams
Implied Probability: Buffalo (51.5%) vs LA Rams (48.5%)
The Bills take on the LA Rams in Buffalo for Week 3 of the 2020 NFL Season. The Rams are coming off a disappointing season, a year after reaching the Super Bowl. Rams head coach Sean McVay will be looking to find a rhythm for his team’s offense again, as Todd Gurley has departed for greener pastures. The Rams’ strength now lies on the defensive side of the football. Defensive end Leonard Floyd was added to the Rams line up, along with a ton of defensive talent, including safety Terrell Burgess. The Rams allowed 22.8 points per game last year and 339.6 yards per game. Even with the additions on defense, the Rams will likely not be able to penetrate the Bills strong defensive front. It’s a toss-up game, but probability favors Buffalo just slightly.
2. Week 5: at Tennessee Titans
Implied Probability: Buffalo (52.3%) vs Tennessee (47.7%)
Buffalo heads to Nashville in Week 5, to take on the Tennessee Titans. The Titans made some additions to their defense over the off-season, picking up corner Kristian Fulton at number 61 in the 2020 NFL draft, as well at defensive tackle Larrell Murchison at 174. Head coach Mike Vrabel is confident in his team’s offense and had no hesitation in bringing back the rejuvenated Ryan Tannehill. The Titans also put the franchise tag on Derrick Henry, who had a break out year last season. The Titans were the 12th most efficient defense in the league last season, allowing an average of 20.7 points per game and 359.5 yards per game. Although it is another toss-up game, it is still probable that Buffalo comes out with the victory.
3. Week 6: vs Kansas City Chiefs
Implied Probability: Buffalo (43.8%) vs Kansas City (56.2%)
The Bills host the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, October 15th. Kansas City finished the season as the seventh-best defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 19.2 points per game and 349.6 yards per game. They have come along way since the days of being one of the worst defensive teams in the league. KC picked up an edge rusher in Michael Danna, and franchise-tagged defensive tackle Chris Jones, with both moves shoring up their already much improved defensive game. This might be the point of the season for Buffalo, where their first wave of success comes to a crest and draws back. Probability is on the side of Kansas City in this one.
4. Week 8: vs New England Patriots
Implied Probability: Buffalo (51.5%) vs New England (48.5%)
The Bills take on the New England Patriots on Sunday, November 1 at New Era Field. It will mark the first time in almost two decades that the Bills will face a Patriots team, with Tom Brady not on their roster. The Patriots were the most efficient defensive team in the league last season, the only team ahead of the Bills. The Patriots allowed an average of just 14.1 points per game and 275.9 yards per game. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the football, there are some question marks. It is hard to gauge this Patriots offense at the moment since there is still time for the organization to pony up and make a move to replace Brady. However, if the Patriots start the season with Jarrett Stidham or career backup Brian Hoyer, they will be having some serious trouble getting the ball downfield against this Buffalo team. There is no question that Bill Belichick vs Sean McDermott is a mismatch favoring the Patriots, but probability still favors the Bills in this one.
5. Week 9: vs Seattle Seahawks
Implied Probability: Buffalo (51.5%) vs Seattle (48.5%)
Buffalo hosts the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9 of the 2020 NFL Season. The Seahawks managed to add tight end, Greg Olsen, to their line up, which adds a missing element of size that the Seahawks definitely needed last year. However, there are still some serious questions when it comes to this team’s defense. For a team that was once renowned for their defensive firepower, the Seahawks finished the 2019 season tied for 22nd in defensive efficiency in the NFL. Seattle allowed an average of 24.9 points per game and 381.6 yards per game last season. It doesn’t look like it’s getting any better for the defensive unit of the Seahawks. It might be another toss-up game for the Bills but the probability is on their side in this one.
6. Week 13: at San Francisco 49ers
Implied Probability: Buffalo (46.8%) @ San Francisco (53.1%)
It is probably the marquee game for the Buffalo Bills in 2020. In Week 13, the Bills head out west to Levi’s Stadium to take on the 49ers. This game is on Monday Night Football and has the potential to be a match-up between two teams that might be atop of the NFL standings come December. San Francisco brought in left tackle Trent Williams from Washington, who will help bolster up their offensive line. Defensively the Niners were one of the best teams in the league last season, but kind of fell off from their dominance in the latter part of the year. The Niners finished the season eighth in defensive efficiency, allowing 19.4 points per game on average, and just 281.8 yards per game. The Niners actually allowed fewer yards per game last season than the Bills (298.2), but the Bills allowed about a field goal less per game. Bills vs Niners in 2020 is an interesting match-up. The Niners are a run-heavy team and if that’s the game plan that Kyle Shanahan tries to implement in this one, it will likely turn into a low scoring, battle for field position type game. Although it is a toss-up game, probability favors the Niners slightly in this one, but it is by no means a sure-win for the Niners by any means. It should be a good one.
7. Week 14: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Implied Probability: Buffalo (50.5%) vs Pittsburgh (49.5%)
The Bills go from primetime to primetime with a Week 14 matchup vs the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, December 13th. The Steelers are hoping that big Ben Roethlisberger can take them on one last run to an AFC North championship, but they aren’t exactly holding their breath on him. The Steelers will come into the 2020 NFL preseason with five quarterbacks on their roster. Pittsburgh finished the season as the fifth-best team in defensive efficiency last season, carrying their team to an 8-8 record. If Pittsburgh can improve offensively, it could become a problem for some teams in their conference. It is awfully close between these two teams, but probability favors the Bills ever so slightly. Buffalo likely walks away with a win in this one.
8. Week 16: at New England Patriots
Implied Probability: Buffalo (51.5%) vs New England (48.5%)
Buffalo heads to Foxborough for Week 16 and another appearance on Monday Night Football, December 28th. It’s hard to gauge these later games because the motivation factors of each team could be affected greatly, based on the playoff scenarios. If one team is locked into a playoff spot, while the other is still in a playoff race, we could see one team resting players, while the other team’s playoff fate is on the line. Albeit, that would be a rare scenario, as this is a division match-up that will likely have playoff implications for both sides. If the Patriots can keep their heads above water, this should be a make or break match up for them. It is a toss-up game, but implied probability once again leans towards the Bills in this one.
Best Case, Worst Case:
The most probable scenario for the Bills is to finish 12-4, with the Bills picking up four wins over the Jets and Dolphins while splitting their two games with the Patriots. The Bills will likely drop at least two games out of the four vs the Rams, Titans, Seahawks, and Steelers while also likely dropping two games to the Chiefs and Niners. A 12-4 record would likely win the AFC East and clinch home-field advantage for the division round of the NFL playoffs.
In the end, the Bills should easily go over the expert projection of nine wins and should finish closer to 11 or 12 wins. For Buffalo, it is a fortunate combination of the AFC East regressing, while also enjoying a mildly competitive schedule. At the end of the day, it looks like a hopeful season for the 2020 Buffalo Bills.