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The Buffalo Bills enter the 2021-22 NFL season with their eyes focused on one objective: Reaching the Super Bowl. A year ago, if you had told this group of Bills Fans their team would finish just one game away from Super Bowl LV, people would call you a homer. But the truth is, last year’s team took a massive leap led by the sharp improvement from Josh Allen.
Fans witnessed a young, unproven quarterback blossom into a superstar in just a few months. They saw that the sky is the limit, as long as he can stay healthy and play with consistency. With the offense put together by general manager Brandon Beane, the Bills could hang with nearly any team. Except maybe the Chiefs.
In the Super Bowl, we saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ pass-rush dismantle the busted-up offensive line in front of Patrick Mahomes. A blueprint to throw Mahomes off his game was born. How did the Bills respond? By going out and selecting two pass rushers packed with potential in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.
Buffalo Bills 2021 offseason additions help build depth.
After the NFL’s salary cap shrunk by nearly $16M, Bills GM Brandon Beane had a small amount of cap space to work with to improve the roster. Despite dealing with a shrinking cap, Beane managed to improve the team’s depth in several ways.
For example, having the serviceable Mitchell Trubisky as a backup quarterback doesn’t doom the season should Josh Allen have to miss some time. Trubisky’s reputation has cratered since entering the league as the second overall pick in 2017.
However, Trubisky does offer some intriguing upside as a quarterback with 50 NFL starts under his belt already at just 27 years old. The former Bears’ QB has plenty of room to grow and has already shown his motivation to improve. Either way, Trubisky’s a better backup option than Matt Barkley was. In a perfect world, Trubisky won’t see the field.
With success found from adding Stefon Diggs last offseason, the Bills doubled down and added another Pro Bowl receiver in Emmanuel Sanders. Now on the back nine of his career at age-34, Sanders is no longer the 1,000-yard receiver he once was. Though Sanders still racked up over 700 yards last season in New Orleans, starting in just five games. The addition of Sanders makes the loss of John Brown a wash.
As fans know, the Bills running backs don’t precisely possess game-breaking quickness. Signing Matt Breida, the Cheetah brings a home-run hitter with 4.38 speed to Buffalo. Luckily, the Bills have two younger options with some untapped potential ahead of Breida, but he offers another weapon for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to utilize.
The Bills front office also drafted three offensive linemen to continue adding depth. None of these players should be expected to start or see much playing time in 2021, but they could become starters in the future. Third-round rookie Spencer Brown, in particular, is one to keep an eye on.
Perhaps the most overlooked offseason acquisition is defensive end Efe Obada. As a backup situational rusher for the Panthers last season, Obada tallied 5.5 sacks more than any Bills defender had in 2020. Pass rushers Gregory Rousseau and Carlos “Boogie” Basham may have been the team’s top two picks in the draft, but don’t forget about Obada either.
Can the Bills meet their expectations?
Last season, the Bills went 13-3 on their way to reaching the AFC Conference Championship. In 2021, the aspirations are to go even further, hoping to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1993 season. Can they do it?
The Bills won’t have the advantage of sneaking up on any opponent this year. Everyone knows the explosive potential of this offense led by Josh Allen. They didn’t have a dominant running game last season, but with how potent their passing attack was, it didn’t matter so much.
Getting after the quarterback will be crucial. Running the ball more effectively when everyone knows it’s coming is also essential in big moments. The Bills are fueled by experienced leaders who have yet to reach their prime. Nobody knows the full potential of this squad.
But can the 2021 Bills meet their fans’ high expectations? A lot will depend on the health of the Bills’ roster. If their impact players can avoid the inactive list, the Bills are set up for continued success. It depends on what your specific expectations are. Is the Super Bowl in sight? Absolutely.
What qualifies as a successful season for the 2021 Buffalo Bills?
Super Bowl or bust? Not exactly. The Bills have a young core that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Should this season not go according to plan, they can regroup and improve any areas that didn’t hold up.
Of course, the Super Bowl should always be the goal, especially when the team is as stacked as the Bills are. Yet, look around the league.
Last season, the Chiefs didn’t have a healthy offensive line, which led to getting blown out in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs think they fixed their issues upfront. As much as Bills fans hate to hear it, Marsha can still play at a high level. But at least it’s not in New England anymore.
Aside from those two powerhouses, the title is up for grabs. In the NFL, it’s Any Given Sunday, meaning no matter what the betting lines or experts believe, either team could walk off the field victorious.
Buffalo Bills roster is built to win
The 2020 Bills offense scored 31.3 points per game, ranking second among NFL teams. Josh Allen is a top-five NFL quarterback. Stefon Diggs is the best wide receiver in the NFL, and he’s paired with a trio of talented wideouts behind him, with Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Gabriel Davis all being starting-caliber players.
Not only do all five offensive line starters return, but they also added more o-line depth through free agency and the draft. As long as Allen and Diggs are healthy, there’s no reason why Buffalo can’t run it back as another explosive offensive powerhouse.
Last season’s defense allowed 23.4 points per game, ranking 16th in the NFL. Perhaps their most significant weakness was not consistently sacking the quarterback, with their team leader having just five sacks. The Bills made adding more pass rushers a clear priority. Let’s see how quickly those picks can pay off. If the front seven can create more pressure to lessen the burden on the secondary, the defense has top-ten potential.
If they can stay healthy, why can’t the Bills win it all?
Stay tuned for Buffalo Bills 2021-22 season preview part two!