With the NFL season approaching, here are six projections from national outlets on the Bills' 2018 season:
Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated: They were a classic case of overachievement, brought on by first-time head coach Sean McDermott’s fluid in-game coaching, particularly on defense. … McDermott must conjure that magic again in 2018; his Bills are still pocked with deficiencies, mainly up front. Top to bottom, this is one of the NFL’s least talented rosters. A second year of overachievement is improbable.
Athlon Sports: While making the playoffs for the first time since 1999 was cause for dancing in the streets in Western New York, Bills fans are bracing for a step back. Even though Taylor had his limitations, he was experienced, and he had a track record (22-20) of moderate success. If AJ McCarron can lend some stability until Josh Allen is ready, and if Buffalo’s defense can improve at stopping the run, the Bills could make a push for a return to the postseason. But they still play in the AFC East where the Patriots reign, and their schedule (five of the first seven games are on the road) won’t make a fast start very easy.
The Sporting News: To say the Bills need stardom from rookie QB Josh Allen as soon as possible is an understatement. Coach Sean McDermott's squad is dealing with some significant changes on defense, while the offense enters the season with the potential question mark of LeSean McCoy's legal situation. Prediction: 4-12.
Street & Smith’s: The Bills play five of their first seven games on the road. That’s a big ask of a team that will have an inexperienced starting quarterback, largely new offensive line and subpar group of receivers. Becase of those concerns, it’s hard to prediction a second consecutive playoff appearance. However, the defense should take a big step forward and, if a quarterback emerges, this is a team with a bright future. The best thing that can be said about the Bills under Beane and McDermott is they have a plan. That hasn’t always been the case.
USA TODAY Sports: They stole several games in 2017 on the way to a feel-good wild-card ride. But the O-line is decimated, the quarterback room in upheaval and a dark cloud looms over Shady McCoy. Maybe rookie Josh Allen provides promising glimpses of the future, but don't expect many. Sorry, Bills Mafia. Prediction: 3-13.
Yahoo Sports: The hope in Buffalo is that Allen’s amazing physical gifts lead to NFL success. If you built a quarterback on “Madden,” you’d build Allen. But he needs a ton of work. In a perfect world he’d sit and develop for a year, but that seems unlikely when McCarron is the only quarterback ahead of him. Allen is the biggest piece of the Bills’ rebuilding project. And make no mistake: Even with last season’s success, it’s still a rebuild.