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Upon Further Review: Taking a look at the Bills' statistical dominance during their 2-0 start

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Bills Titans fourth (copy)

Bills defensive end Boogie Basham (55) and his teammates have had plenty to celebrate through a dominant first two weeks of the season.

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The eyeball test suggests it, and the numbers back it up: Through the first two weeks of the season, the Buffalo Bills have been the NFL’s best team – by a wide margin.

The Bills have outscored their opponents, 72-17, a net differential of 55 points. That’s 29 points better than the two teams tied for second place, Kansas City and Tampa Bay, at plus-26 points. The Bills have scored seven more touchdowns than their opponents. The Chiefs are next on that list, at three.

Offensively, the Bills rank No. 1 in the league in points per game (30.5) and third-down conversion percentage (60.5%), while also ranking third in the league in yards per game (413.5) and per play (6.72). Keep in mind, too, that’s with being content to kill the clock for the entire fourth quarter during Monday’s 41-7 demolition of the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium.

The quarterback speaks to reporters following Monday night's win. 

Defensively, the numbers might be even more impressive. The Bills are second in the league in yards allowed per game (215.0), second in points allowed per game (8.5) and first in yards allowed per play (3.1). They are No. 1 in rushing yards allowed per game (66.0), No. 3 in rushing yards allowed per play (2.93), No. 2 in passing yards allowed per game (149.0) and No. 2 in passing yards allowed per play (4.93). They have an interception rate of 7.69%, which leads the league, and have sacked the opposing quarterback on 13.85% of his pass attempts, which is also No. 1. Buffalo’s nine sacks leads the league, and the team’s five interceptions is tied for the top spot.

Individually, quarterback Josh Allen is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes (7) and is second in quarterback rating (123.7) behind Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes (127.9). Wide receiver Stefon Diggs is second in the NFL in catches (20) and receiving yards (270) and leads the league with four receiving touchdowns.

The Bills have outscored their two opponents 45-0 in the second half this season. 

"Having a long week to prepare, we had a good game plan going in," Allen said after Monday's win. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey "trusted what he was calling. We went out there and executed on offense. Defense made some huge stops and huge plays, gave us some short fields. Good, complementary team win." 

All that preseason talk about the Bills being preseason Super Bowl favorites? At this point, the hype train is barreling down the tracks and shows no sign of slowing down.

“We just played the game,” defensive end Von Miller said after Monday’s win. “Whenever you start thinking about Super Bowls, it's like drinking from a fire hydrant. Like, you just got to take it one play at a time. There are 17 weeks and football is a humbling sport. You're going to be met with adversity at some point and we just keep preparing for the adversity. Whenever we're up, we keep saying to each other ‘don't blink, don't let our foot off the gas.’ It's a killer instinct, it's a blood-in-the-water instinct.”

Miller went on to say the Bills aren’t content to simply win games.

“I don't know how it was before I got here, but now we pedal to the metal,” he said. “We have an attitude of domination. We're not playing the game to just win the game, we’re playing the game to dominate the game. We've got a team full of killers, and it's led by our quarterback, our head coach, the leadership on this team. From Brandon Beane all the way down to the janitors and the infrastructure of this team, like our cafeteria leaders are just so great. Everybody that helps out with his team from Nate (Breske) and the athletic training staff, to the equipment guys, Eric Ciano. Everybody has their hand in this, and we just want to take it one player at a time.

"The Super Bowl is just so far away, there’s so many things that can happen. We want to focus on the now. Success leaves clues and all the successful teams before us, they just take it one game at a time, and that's what we're trying to do.”

Analytics website Football Outsiders uses a system called “Defense-adjusted Value Over Average” (DVOA) to measure a team’s performance by breaking down every play in the NFL and comparing it to a league baseline based on the situation.

Through two games, the Bills have a DVOA of 80.4%, which ranks as the 12th best start to a season since 1981. Interestingly enough, it’s only the second-best start in team history through two games, trailing the 1981 team that had a DVOA of 104.1%. That team finished just 10-6 and had outscored its opponents by 63 points through two games. If this year's team stays healthy – which is a definite concern at the moment – this squad looks poised to easily surpass that win total. For comparison, the 2007 Patriots team that went 16-0 in the regular season had a 93.5% DVOA through two games, while the best-ever start to a season, as measured by Football Outsiders, was the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, who had a 116.3% DVOA through two games, but finished with an 11-5 record.

All of which to say – there’s a lot of season left.

“I just think it's a good start,” coach Sean McDermott said Monday. “I really do. I mean, the fundamentals are showing up early in the season. That's really what games come down to early in the year is fundamentals and taking care of the football. I thought we did a phenomenal job tonight with that offensively and special teams, and then defense got takeaways, so I just think it was all in all a good game plan by the coaches and the players executed at a high level.”

Through two games, no team in the league has come close to touching that level.

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News Sports Reporter

I started at The Buffalo News in 2009, and have previously been honored as one of the top 10 beat writers in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors for my coverage of the Bills. I live in Amherst with my wife, Melissa, and son, Elliott.

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