Bills Today: ESPN analyst assesses Buffalo’s playoff chances

1. ESPN analyst puts Bills playoff chances at over 80 percent

The Bills are off to a 3-0 start and while visions of playoffs already dance in the heads of Buffalo fans, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell took a deeper look at each of the league’s seven remaining undefeated to see which ones could sustain their hot starts to the 2020 campaign.

He also used analysis to assess each team’s current playoff chances. For the Bills he had their odds of reaching the postseason at 81.3 percent. Here’s his assessment of the Bills postseason hopes.

After taking a step forward in 2019 and improving his decision-making, he has taken an enormous stride this season. In 2018, Allen was a hindrance to the Bills’ chances of winning. In 2019, he was good enough to stay out of the way. In 2020, he is driving Buffalo’s success. This team would not be 3-0 without Allen playing as well as he has.

Through three games, he has 14 completions on passes of 16 or more yards, more than any other quarterback. Last year, he had 36 such completions across a full 16-game schedule. He’s completing 70% of his deep attempts and averaging 20.6 yards per attempt, both of which rank in the top five. He has a 99.9 QBR on deep throws, trailing only that of Wilson and Jared Goff through three weeks.

The addition of Stefon Diggs has given the Bills one of the NFL’s best wide receiver groups, and after serving as an efficiency monster in Minnesota, Diggs is averaging 10.3 yards per target so far in Buffalo. Allen has thrown touchdowns to eight receivers so far this season in addition to scoring two as a runner.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has also put his quarterback in position to succeed. Allen’s play-action rate is way up, going from just over 22% in 2019 to a shade under 37% so far this season. Just as this has helped players such as Goff and Ryan Tannehill, the added play-fakes have made Allen’s life easier. He has a 152.3 passer rating with play-action through three weeks, falling to 108.9 without play-fakes.

What he has accomplished so far shows that he has the ability to reach what appeared to be an impossible ceiling coming out of school and that he’s a lot closer to realizing that potential on a regular basis than I expected after last season. If he can be this guy week in and week out, the Bills have a credible case as one of the three or four best teams in football.

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