One thing is guaranteed for the Buffalo Bills heading into this season…it’s going to be a new scene that Bills fans have not witnessed since the beginning of the Tyrod Taylor era. The offense went in a new direction at the beginning of the 2017 season on offense with letting go of both Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins. They traded for Jordan Matthews as well as Kelvin Benjamin and since then, Matthews was a one-and-done deal as he signed with the Patriots in free agency.
With Taylor in Cleveland, the team now focuses on the QB battle between Nathan Peterman, AJ McCarron, and first-round draft pick Josh Allen. That’s not the only new challenge on the Bills offense. The wide receiver core is weaker on paper and the offensive line is almost brand new.
Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane focused more so on the defense during the offseason than the offense. You can argue that it was the smarter strategy seeing as how the Bills defense was unbelievably vulnerable last season. But now the offense may take steps backwards and the lack of making a big splash on the offense could haunt the team in 2018. Or the unit could shock us all, much like the entire team did by clinching a playoff spot last season for the first time in this millennium.
1.) QB1 Battle Goes All Season Long Between Peterman and McCarron
It would make sense to start Allen right from Week 1 because the Bills traded up for him, correct? Not necessarily, there have been plenty of teams who pulled the same move just to develop their hopeful franchise guy. The biggest thing to remember about these three men is that they are guys who were take by either McDermott or both Beane and McDermott. Peterman was drafted under McDermott and both McCarron and Allen were Brough on board by McDermott and Beane.
Allen has a lot of upside to his game, but why rush the rookie? Give him a year to learn the NFL atmosphere and see what he could bring later on in the season if needed or even next season.
The QB1 battle seems to be up for grabs between McCarron and Peterman. Both have much to prove seeing as how they each received an opportunity as a starter but never managed to maintain that style. They are throwers, not as mobile as Taylor. This will be an interesting battle if it really does come down to both of these two while the rook sits back, learns and possibly take the reigns for the future of the franchise.
2.) Dion Dawkins Establishes Himself As Franchise Left Tackle
After Cordy Glenn battled through different injuries with the Bills, Dion Dawkins stepped in and ran with the position. He was always reliable, rarely gave up huge yardage and was effective in the run game. Dawkins proved to be steal in the 2017 draft his rookie season but the sophomore season will prove to see if the hype is still the same around him.
Dawkins has the opportunity to not only secure his spot as the starting left tackle, but the franchise blind spot protector. Dawkins is young and yet still has a long way to go which puts the Bills in an excellent position for years to come at the tackle position.
3.) Kelvin Benjamin Reaches 1,000 Receiving Yards
After being traded to the Bills in midseason last year, Benjamin did not provide an impact as much as Bills fans wanted him to. The team lacked a true go-to receiver until Benjamin arrived. But even then, he did not perform like one. He did suffer an injury to his knee a couple weeks into his go with the Bills, and he was victimized by the “catch rule” in Week 16 against the Patriots but that is the past.
Benjamin is going into his contract year and players typically tend to have a breakout season to raise their value for the free agent market or try to get a contract extension. No matter who is playing under center, Benjamin is the only true threat the Bills have on the outside so look for him to be the main target the quarterback throws to.
4.) LeSean McCoy leads The Bills…And The NFL In Rushing Yards
Doubt any other position you want on the Bills roster, but their running back slot is fulfilled with LeSean McCoy. He is the engine that has kept the Bills offense going since arriving in 2015. One of the most versatile runners who can juke you from sideline to sideline, McCoy looks to be the main guy once again under Daboll’s offense.
Not only will he most likely lead the Bills in rushing again, there can be arguments about him leading the entire league in rushing. Yes, even ahead of guys like Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott.
He’s turned the corner in his career as he will be 30 years old heading into the season, but with him, age is just a number. It’s all about productivity that’s what his career has been about.
5.) Charles Clay Leads Team In Receiving Touchdowns
This might be a more bold prediction. Even more than predicting McCoy as the leagues’ top rusher. Charles Clay is one of the those guys that is overlooked but can make plays that affect the game. He’s only caught 9 touchdowns since coming to Buffalo in 2015, but he is used more as a third down option and never saw much action in the redzone in recent years.
The trick for the Bills is to punch the ball in the redzone but McCoy is not one to lower his shoulder and Benjamin could easily be double teamed inside the 10 yard line. Clay would have his opportunity to break loose and bring in six points for the Bills. If the Bills offense can get into scoring position, Clay could have the most promise as the main guy in enemy territory.
Clay can be argued as a player who is on the hot seat, so this season should make him excel.