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Peter King's FMIA Buffalo Bills Tidbits 9/5/2022


SackMan518
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SackMan518

FMIA: Bills over Packers in Super Bowl LVII, Huge Year for Josh Allen, and More Predictions for 2022 Season

 

Labor Day. Time to stick my neck on the line so you can throw tomatoes at it, and at my head.

 

I’m picking an Arctic Circle Super Bowl: Buffalo-Green Bay.

 

I’m picking the Packers to make their first Super Bowl in 12 years by—isn’t it ironic?—going on the road to get there. Man, wouldn’t that be sweet for Aaron Rodgers. And I’m picking the Bills to get off the 0-4, three-decades-old, wide-right schneid to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Portable tables of western New York, beware.

 

....

 

Buffalo was almost good enough to win it last year, as we all saw, marauding through the AFC playoffs with 83 points in eight quarters. Then the thud of overtime in Kansas City happened. This year, I think they eliminate all doubts, and all doubters.

 

I remember sitting in the press box in Orchard Park last January, early in the second half of Patriots-Bills. It was insanely cold, minus-5 wind chill, but the Bills were playing like it was a pleasant western New York September evening, 67 and still. How is the weather not affecting them? And how is a Bill Belichick D not affecting them? Thirty-six minutes in, it was 33-3, the most embarrassing big-stage game in Belichick’s illustrious career.

 

That, in itself, said a lot. How many times has Bill Belichick been embarrassed in his coaching career, really just taken to the woodshed? That’s what the Bills did that night. That’s what Josh Allen did. I was sure I was watching the Super Bowl winner.

 

“Guys executed at a high level that night,” Allen told me in camp. “That was a fun game, a good game, one that a lot of Bills fans are gonna talk about for a long time. But in terms of what we’re doing, it’s on to next week, and that’s how we are now, this summer.”

 

The 42-36 overtime loss in Kansas City eight days later didn’t scar what I thought of this team entering 2022. There was one major benefit to the heartbreak in Missouri—it forced GM Brandon Beane to buttress the pass-rush by paying huge money for a 33-year-old edge player, Von Miller. Now, Miller’s probably going to the Hall of Fame one day, and he upgrades Buffalo’s rush immeasurably. But he’s 33, and he’s got to last five months, and he’s got to be playing at his peak at the end of those five months. That’s a big question mark, but it’s also a challenge the Bills are happy to be able to manage.

 

Offensively, with Stefon Diggs aided by solid number two receiver Gabriel Davis (two playoff games, five touchdown catches) and shifty Isaiah McKenzie installed in the slot, Allen’s got enough firepower to be the best version of himself. He could be a different version, though. The Bills don’t talk about this openly, but the sense I got is they want Allen to throttle down on running the ball. He’s averaged 105 rushes per season in four years, with a career-high 122 last year. It’s a great way to keep the defense off balance, of course, but there’s a cost.

 

“What’d you do this off-season to improve your game?” I asked Allen in camp.

 

His answer was telling. “The first part of the off-season was very heavy in recovery,” Allen said. “Letting my body kinda heal up. I took a lot of dings last year. Understanding where I can be better in that process. Not taking hits, not taking useless hits. Getting out of bounds, sliding. In terms of just watching film and understanding when the decision is to maybe put the shoulder down or to slide or get out of bounds. I think that’s one aspect that I’ve started looking at and incorporating in my plan. The best part of ability is availability and I want to be available for this team.”

 

If that costs a few first downs in September and October, and if Allen’s fresher in January and February, it’s a wise change in his game.

 

....

 

How I see the playoff races:

 

AFC Seeds

 

1.Buffalo (13-4). Finishing 6-0 in the AFC East makes all the difference when so many contenders have tough division slates.

 

2. Baltimore (11-6). Decimated by injury in 2021, fairly healthy in 2022—including at quarterback. Important in Joe Burrow’s division.

 

3. LA Chargers (11-6). Accomplishment of the year: Chargers going 4-2 in the toughest division since the 2002 realignment into eight divisions.

 

4. Tennessee (10-7). Slight nod over the Colts, by virtue of the Titans averaging 35 a game against Indy in their last three meetings, all wins.

 

5. Kansas City (11-6). It’s almost pick-‘em with the Chargers, because I think the passing game will be fine post-Tyreek.

 

6. Cincinnati (10-7). The first-place schedule brings Cincinnati down to earth a bit, but the Bengals will be a threat still.

 

7. Miami (9-8)*. TuAnon, rejoice. It’s not just Tyreek Hill who’ll make over this offense. It’s Chase Edmonds rushing for 1,200 yards.

 

....

 

Envelope, please: The 2022 postseason awards, given here, five months before they actually happen:

 

MVP: 1. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo, 2. Justin Herbert, QB, LA Chargers, 3. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore.

 

Quarterbacks have won the MVP nine straight years and 14 of the past 15 years. Thus QBs going 1-2-3. Recently, MVP has traditionally gone to a quarterback on a top seed. That, plus Allen’s going to have a killer year.

 

Offensive player: 1. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis, 2. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo, 3. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota.

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