Every year the staff at Buffalo Rumblings come together to predict the Buffalo Bills win/loss record for the upcoming season. This year our picks are a bit more optimistic than they have been in years’ past, and understandably so following a trip to the 2020 AFC Championship game. Our picks are below, and feel free to share your predictions in the comments section as well.
Andrew “Grif” Griffin
12-5 regular season record
Sure, I was the proverbial ‘pessimist’ last year as well, but hear me out. The Bills’ schedule in 2021 is more difficult, with several matchups against previous division winners including Kansas City and Tennessee. Then you throw in a game against the reigning Super Bowl champs, along with improved AFC East opponents, and it’s not really hard to envision five losses. Compositionally, I’m not expecting the defense to improve much despite the new additions. Allen should be just as dynamic as last year, however there are reasons to think various members of the offensive line may regress and let him down during crunch time, as they did in the AFC Championship Game. Having said that, this record should still provide an AFC East title.
13-4 regular season record
I hedged my bets last year and gave a “ceiling-floor” style prediction. I’m feeling way more confident this year, as I think Buffalo takes the things that worked last year and improves them while also working to better their weaknesses. The Bills are going to lose a game that they shouldn’t lose—the fabled Super Bowl-era squads did that, too, losing to perennial early-’90s losers like the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts—and they’ll drop their Week 18 game when they have nothing to gain. I also think they’ll lose to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the regular season. That’s fine, though, because they’ll avenge both of those losses in the playoffs on the way to winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Currently, the Bills are +1100 to win it all. I’ve wasted $100 on far more frivolous things in my life. Buckle up, baby, and miss me with those “don’t jinx it” comments. My opinions given on a football blog have zero bearing on the outcome of literally anything. We’re winning this thing.
14-3 regular season record
This is the most excited I’ve ever been for a Buffalo Bills season. Ever. The Bills are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, featuring a high-octane offense that can put points on the board in bunches. Josh Allen should have won the MVP award last year, and count me among those who feel he’ll take home the honor this year. The Bills arguably have the best quartet of wide receivers in All Pros Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, plus Emmanuel Sanders, the crafty veteran, and the emerging star in Gabriel Davis. The biggest concern, the one biggest factor that could lead to Buffalo’s undoing, is the offensive line, specifically a lack of depth and poor play at right guard if neither Cody Ford nor Ike Boettger steps up his play.
The pass rush should be improved with the addition of Greg Rousseau, a bulked-up A.J. Epenesa, and the underrated and motivated Jerry Hughes. Look for Tremaine Edmunds to enjoy a breakthrough season, and a healthy Matt Milano and the return of Star Lotulelei to key a stout run defense. The cornerback depth behind All-Pro Tre’Davious White and Levi Wallace is troubling, but hopefully Taron Johnson builds upon last year’s successes, and it never hurts having Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer roaming free in the middle of the field.
This team has all the talent, an astute head coach, and a clutch kicker in Tyler Bass. The AFC playoffs go through Orchard Park, with Buffalo hosting (and defeating) the Kansas City Chiefs to return to their first Super Bowl since the 1993 season. Their reward: the ultimate shot at redemption and revenge against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LVI. Bring it on!
Jeff “Skarekrow” Kantrowski
14-3 regular season record
As much as I’d like to say “undefeated,” the Bills have a few very difficult opponents (KC, Titans, Bucs) as well as a few approaching that class (Steelers, Colts, maybe Fins). Add in a possible game resting starters to the mix. And Daboll seems good for one game a season where he forgets that weather is “a thing.” See KC last year and Philly the year before. Or better yet, don’t. They weren’t fun. I’m expecting a few losses and a few nail biters.
15-2 regular season record
This Buffalo Bills team is ready to steamroll the rest of the league. Their offense is as potent as ever, and we saw that they’ve upgraded their defensive line significantly, if the preseason results were any indication. They’ve arrived in the AFC elite, and the pundits and players know it.
Making things better is their relatively easy schedule. Only two games stand out as true challenges – away games to last year’s Super Bowl contenders, the Chiefs and the Buccaneers. If the Bills lose either or both, it wouldn’t shock me.
Other than that though, what is there to fear? Playing at the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football could be a challenge, but Bills Mafia is almost certain to flood Nashville for this one. The New Orleans Saints game looked tricky until Drew Brees retired and half their team suffered injuries. I think this Bills team’s floor should be the AFC East title and another AFC Championship appearance. Anything less is a disappointment. The goal should be the Super Bowl.
16-1 regular season record
I usually end up making one of the more optimistic predictions each year, but this is even a bit crazy for my usual standards. The thing is, when I look at the schedule, I see the Bills being the favorite in at least 15 match-ups. The defense will be improved thanks to the additions along the defensive line, and a healthy Matt Milano should also give a boost. The scary thing is, I honestly believe that the offense can be better this season, behind MVP-candidate Josh Allen. It seems a bit crazy to be predicting a 16-1 finish, but I am sticking with it.
13-4 regular season record
Last year I predicted a 10-6 regular season record and an AFC East title. This year, I’m not flying as high as some of the other ones here, but this feels absurdly high for me. Buffalo needed big-time comebacks to win games against the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots and take a late lead against the Arizona Cardinals, but they learned how to win games and not make mistakes to cost themselves victories. Those are good skills. The Steelers, Chiefs, Titans, Colts, Saints, Patriots, and Buccaneers all have groups that could beat the Bills in the right circumstances and Buffalo hasn’t proven they can play as the “top dog”. They also need to do it in front of hostile crowds (and even their home crowd, which is going to legendarily amped up) for the first time. It wouldn’t shock me if the Bills went 17-0 and it wouldn’t shock me if they backslid to 11-6. I’ll give them a couple weeks where they aren’t on their A-game and predict 13-4 with an AFC East title and probably the second seed in the AFC. That’s enough to get them to the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl, too.
Matt B. (theafghantwilight)
Ceiling: 14-3 / Floor: 12-5
Last year I predicted some pretty big things without understanding the full scope of potential in that 2020 team. This year, I won’t be surprised to see the Bills finish 14-3 (if they’re REALLY motivated and gelling), but could also see their floor being 12-5 (if COVID-19 and the dreaded “I” word begin to mount). I haven’t fully bought into what we just saw in three preseason games—and that dominance is not assured in the regular season. That doesn’t mean the Bills won’t be able to reach a lofty win total. It’s just that they may have to find a way to claw out of some real ugly battles instead of coasting to a “W” as the new-look Tecmo Super Bills. Seriously, this season is about two things: staying healthy and catching a Super Bowl birth. Oh, it’s also about letting go of old running paradigms.