As with the best teams in the NFL, the Bills will face a plethora of questions for repeating their success in 2021. And if you’re reading this post, chances are you’re considering betting on the Bills in the futures column during the Summer of 2021.
So what are the factors that will continue to make them a hot futures bet for next season, and into the future?
Today’s post dissects what the Bills must do to remain slam dunks in AFC East futures, the over/under, and even the Super Bowl.
Find a Viable Offensive Coordinator
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s performance either will or has already landed him consideration for one of the many vacant head coaching jobs in the NFL. As of January 4th, 2021, Daboll remains with the team, but he can easily find himself in the driver’s seat somewhere in the NFL.
So if Daboll is out doing interviews and accepts a coaching position, Buffalo needs to have someone on deck and ready to take over one of the league’s most successful offenses. And if Daboll goes, the real test comes starting in August 2021.
Was the success of Josh Allen and company their own, or did Daboll dissect opposing defenses well enough to game plan and execute successfully?
Daboll, who has seen stints with the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and Kansas City Chiefs as offensive coordinator, and one year as an offensive assistant with the New England Patriots, has done more than have paid his dues for landing a head coaching gig.
He seemed to have been charged double. And before the conclusion of the regular season, Daboll has been a well-respected coaching commodity throughout the league.
The standard is now the standard in Buffalo. And in Daboll’s potential absence, the Bills must find a viable successor if they want to remain one of the league’s hottest teams and on your NFL sports betting radar.
Improve the Defense
Even the league’s best teams have their issues. The Steelers can’t run the ball. The Ravens and Browns can’t throw the ball if their running games aren’t clicking. Even the Chiefs have issues with a weaker defense. And the Bills are no exception.
If the Bills have one weak spot, it’s at defense, where they rank middle of the road in many categories. Sure, the defense is good enough to hold teams, and the offense is more than good enough to make up for spotty defensive performances, but if the Bills wish to remain a solid bet, they must improve the defense.
And their numbers aren’t horrible, having allowed an average of 5.5 yards per play, garnered 38 sacks, 4.6 yards per rush, and were 17th overall in rushing defense.
As you can see, they definitely lack top-end talent on defense outside of a few big-name players like Tre’Davious White and Tremaine Edmunds. They need at least one more run-stopper and a blue-chip pass rusher wouldn’t hurt either.
Also, the Bills are entering an era where they must stay below the cap to hang onto their core players on offense and defense. So if the offense takes a few cap casualties, it makes beefing up the defense that much more important.
It’s a challenge for any team to fill gaps in talent when they’re looking to keep cap space to keep big stars. And it’s even more of a challenge to bring cheaper players to par in terms of production. While they still can, the Bills must improve what was once a fantastic defense.
Keep the Committees
One fantastic way to keep the costs down and to keep core players while turning weakened units into strengths is to keep up with committees. And no team in the NFL does this better than the Bills division rival, the New England Patriots.
Starting in 2021, the Bills must start thinking about the future and to remain a viable bet next year and in the coming seasons, they should use the committee approach.
You saw this with them this year at running back with the trio of Devin Singletary, T.J. Yeldon, and Zack Moss. You may see the same approach on the defensive line and linebacking unit if the Bills can’t afford blue-chip players.
The upside in terms of 2021 is that many of their stars are still on rookie contracts, but the time for lucrative extensions looms. Especially with Josh Allen’s and Tremaine Edmunds’ rookie deals coming to a close in 2021 and 2022.
Other players like Tre’Davious White have already signed long-term deals, so with Allen and Edmunds, among other household names looming, the cost-effective committee approach has already helped in some areas and you can bet it will even help in others.
Continue to Develop the Quarterback
Josh Allen’s career has remained in ascension since his final season of college. Allen has gone from completing just 52.8 percent of his passes in 2018 to 58.8 in 2019. And in today’s NFL, anything under 64 percent is unacceptable.
Allen answered the call in 2020 with a 69.1 completion percentage and over 4,500 passing yards to go with 7.9 yards per attempt, 37 touchdowns, and just 10 picks and a 107.2 quarterback rating.
You’ll notice when evaluating quarterbacks that they will often take a step back following a breakout season considering the amount of game film opponents now have on them. Plus, they fully know a quarterback’s tendencies following a breakout season.
So don’t be surprised if Allen and the Bills as a whole take a step back in terms of regular season record in 2021. Will they go from 13-3 to under their projected 2021 over/under?
But they will find themselves in a dogfight with a surging Miami Dolphins team and a rebounding New England Patriots.
Holding Off AFC East Rivals
You know the Dolphins, who were that team to finish 10-6 in 2020 and miss the playoffs, and the Patriots, where COVID opt outs and injuries hit the team hard in 2020, will be right up there with the Bills in 2021.
In 2020, considering the fact the Dolphins were one year behind the Bills in their own rebuild and the uncertainty surrounding the Patriots, the Bills were a shoo-in futures bet in terms of the regular season and winning the AFC East. And they proved you right if you bet on them.
But let’s talk about Miami, New England, and even the New York Jets before we close out this post.
The Dolphins are still developing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is right where Allen was just three seasons ago. The second Tua becomes familiar with reading complex defenses and blitz packages, watch out. He has the other tools to be a successful NFL quarterback.
Bill Belichick led a bad Patriots team to a 7-9 record. You had a quarterback who ran better than he passed and finished with a negative TD to INT ratio, over half a dozen opt outs, injuries, and players starting in some positions who’d be on practice squads elsewhere.
Give New England a quarterback and halfway decent receivers, and they’re going to be right where they were during the Brady era.
Then there are the Jets. And in today’s game, it’s not uncommon to see a football team with a poor record perform a complete overhaul of their roster and front office, only to exceed wild expectations for the following season.
Not that the Jets are a better value bet than the Bills, but these things happen.
Make Money With NFL Futures Bets
The Bills are clear favorites to surpass an over/under and win the AFC East. But with their offensive coordinator potentially moving after the season and looming cap issues that can start as early as the 2021 offseason, it sets nothing in stone for the Bills.
For the team to continue to be a viable futures bet in 2021, they must have a solid offensive coordinator on deck. Preferably one who can continue to develop Josh Allen when the infamous ‘step back’ looms.
They should also adopt a committee approach to defense if they don’t have enough cap space to add a blue-chip player to fix their pass rush and run stopping woes.
What are your thoughts on the Bills? Do you view them as solid futures bets for 2021?