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 stronger 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 Minnesota 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 Buffalo Bills easier games of 2020.
Buffalo Bills Easiest Games in 2020
1. Week 1: vs New York Jets
Implied Probability: Buffalo (57.7%) vs NY Jets (42.3%)
The Bills start their season against the New York Jets on Sunday, September 13th. The Jets started their off-season on the wrong step, by bringing back Adam Gase. The additions made to their offensive line may not be enough to protect Sam Darnold. Defensively, the Jets allowed 22.4 points per game last season and an average of 323.1 yards per game. If the Bills stick to what they are good at, they will be able to make short work of the Jets this season.
2. Week 2: at Miami Dolphins
Implied Probability: Buffalo (59.35%) @ Miami (40.65%)
The Bills take on another AFC East opponent in the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 of their season. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has shown that he is a true leader and an excellent coach. Miami allowed a whopping 30.8 points per game last season and 397.8 yards per game. However, this Dolphins team will be substantially better on the defensive end of the football. With the additions of Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Byron Jones, this team will be much tighter defensively than what they were last year. In the end, it likely will still not be enough to stop the Bills, who will likely not give up any easy points vs Miami, and it is more than probable that the Bills walk away winners against the Dolphins this season.
3. Week 4: at Las Vegas Raiders
Implied Probability: Buffalo (56.2%) vs Las Vegas (43.8%)
Buffalo will travel to Las Vegas for the first time in their franchise’s history, as they take on the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season. The Raiders made a few lackluster additions to their team in the off-season. Marcus Mariota might push Derek Carr out of the top spot, but he won’t have much to work with. Buffalo likely wins this one.
4. Week 7: vs New York Jets
Implied Probability: Buffalo (57.7%) vs NY Jets (42.3%)
Buffalo takes on the New York Jets on extended rest, for the second time of the year, and they will likely be coming off a loss. This is likely a home run spot for the Bills, and it wouldn’t be shocking if this game ended in a Buffalo blowout.
5. Week 10: at Arizona Cardinals
Implied Probability: Buffalo (56.2%) vs Arizona (43.8%)
The Bills head to Arizona in Week 10 of the 2020 NFL season to take on the Cardinals. The Cardinals added DeAndre Hopkins to the mix in the off-season, and there is hope in Arizona that Kyler Murray will be able to improve his game with a bonafide top receiver at his disposal. Defensively this team still has some work to do, as they finished 28th in defensive efficiency last year. The Cardinals allow 27.5 points per game on average, as well as 402 yards per game. Unless some non-obvious factors come into the play here, the Bills should win this one.
6. Week 12: vs Los Angeles Chargers
Implied Probability: Buffalo (56.2%) vs LA Chargers (43.8%)
The Bills host the LA Chargers, coming off extended rest in Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season. The Chargers made some decent steps towards a rebuild, adding quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Kenneth Murray in the draft. However, it might be a while before this team begins to gel again. It could be more disappointment from a team that went 5-11 last season. The only thing that kept this team above water at times last season was their defense. The Chargers surprisingly had the 14th-best defensive efficiency rating in the league, allowing 21.6 points per game and an average of 313.1 yards per game. It seems highly unlikely that the Chargers will be able to repeat the performance this year, as a rebuilding team could be shredding away veteran defensive players, in exchange for draft picks and cap space, as the season goes on. If all stays according to plan, a healthy Bills team should easily win this Week 12 match up.
7. Week 15: at Denver Broncos
Implied Probability: Buffalo (56.2%) vs Denver (43.8%)
Buffalo heads to the Mile High City of Denver for Week 15 of the 2020 NFL season. The Broncos made some big additions in the off-season to their offense. Signing Melvin Gordon, as well as drafting Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy and Penn State receiver K.J. Hamler, all of which will complement second-year quarterback Drew Lock. Denver finished the 2019 season as the 10th-best team in defensive efficiency, allowing 19.7 points per game on average, and 337 yards per game. With Denver’s offense looking to have improved substantially, the Broncos could actually be a team with real-world expectations in 2020. The only issue in this matchup for the Broncos is in the coaching department. Sean McDermott has proven to be a much better coach than Vic Fangio, and if the Bills find themselves in some kind of playoff race down the stretch, this game vs the Broncos could be a must-win for Buffalo. It’s hard to predict anything that happens in a football game in Denver, but probability leans towards the Bills picking up the win in this one.
8. Week 17: vs Miami Dolphins
Implied Probability: Buffalo (59.35%) vs Miami (40.65%)
Buffalo hosts the Miami Dolphins on January 3rd of 2021, for the final game of the 2020 NFL regular season. As mentioned, it’s hard to predict exactly what the motivation factors and playoff implications will be of these later season games. However, implied probability suggests that this should be an easy win for Buffalo if their full and healthy line up is on the field.
Best Case, Worst Case.
The absolute best-case scenario for the Bills, they finish the season with a 14-2 record, with the only two losses coming to the Chiefs and the Niners.
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 whille 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.
The absolute worst-case scenario for the Bills, which would entail factors such as; injuries, tensions in the locker room, and coaching complacency, would be an 8-8 record. The Bills have the upper hand against the Jets, Dolphins, Raiders, Cardinals, and Chargers, and should be able to defeat the Broncos, as long as non-obvious factors like elevation or weather are involved.
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 division 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.