If you go back to the beginning of the NFL season, the Buffalo Bills were a popular pick to make the Super Bowl. After last year’s heartbreaking overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime of the AFC Championship Game, prognosticators thought that this was the year for the Buffalo Bills to go to the Super Bowl and win it.
That dream ended this past Sunday after the Bills lost 27-10 to the visiting Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Divisional Playoff round. It was the first time the Bills lost a game by multiple scores since 2021. It was also the first home playoff loss of the Sean McDermott/Josh Allen era. The fun never felt close, with the Bengals going up 14-0 in the first half. The result was seldom in doubt.
There’s the sense that there’s something wrong with the Buffalo Bills. After being one of the best regular season teams, there’s a feeling that there is a flaw that will prevent playoff success. The Bills are like a dome team that plays outdoors. To take the next step, they’ll have to make some changes.
Let’s look at what the off-season has in store for the Buffalo Bills.
The Roster: Some Overhaul Expected
From a salary cap perspective, this year was the “last chance” to make a run with this roster. Many offensive skill players on the roster, like running back Devin Singletary, and tight end Dawson Knox, are in the last years of their deals. It’s fair to say that every skill position player outside of Stefon Diggs will have to prove their value to the team in the offseason.
On the defensive side of the ball, the most notable names that are without a contract after this year are linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Jordan Poyer. Poyer’s cap hit is around $10.8 million, which the Bills will hope they do not have to pay since Poyer wasn’t starting by the end of the season.
The Buffalo Bills have six picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, all in the first five rounds of the draft. There will be opportunities for them to replenish their roster in areas of need.
Josh Allen: Does He Need More Help?
After last year’s performance in the AFC Championship Game, where Josh Allen seemed to match Patrick Mahomes throw for throw, the buzz around Allen coming into this season was that it was only a matter of time until he won a Super Bowl. After this year’s playoff run, people are revisiting that assessment. For example, Allen did not throw a touchdown pass against the Bengals – this is the first time this season that he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass at home.
If the Bills are going to make it to the Super Bowl, they will have to put more pieces around Josh Allen for him to contend. Stefon Diggs has proven his skills time and time again, but the Bills need to put more around Allen. Additional receivers to compliment Diggs would make defenses think twice about overloading their coverage on Diggs.
Since Allen has been with the team, the Bills have never had a real running game to complement his passing – Devin Singletary never matured into the back they expected. Finding a running back in the draft will be a priority for the Bills.
Allen will also need better protection from the offensive line. The Bills only had one game this season where they didn’t give up a sack. Allen will need more protection to set up those long throws to his receivers down the field.