NFL executives that were polled by The Athletic like what they see in the Buffalo Bills heading into 2021.
However, there is a familiar mountain left to be climbed: The Kansas City Chiefs.
Speaking with five anonymous front office members from the league, The Athletic had the group rank the teams in the AFC, 1-16. At the top are the Chiefs, with the Bills right behind them.
Overall, the four of the five voters named the Bills the second-best team. The other slotted the Tennessee Titans there. Buffalo did not receive a vote lower than third.
In addition, the Bills’ average vote of 2.2 is still much higher than the team that does finish in third, the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens average combined vote is 4.0.
On the Bills, quarterback Josh Allen was a big reason for their ranking. Via the poll:
Setting aside Houston and Deshaun Watson, the Chiefs are the only AFC team with a quarterback who earned Tier 1 status from 50 coaches and evaluators this summer. The Bills’ Josh Allen was the next AFC quarterback in the rankings, atop Tier 2, which helped Buffalo rank second here.
“I’ll be shocked if Josh Allen doesn’t do it again,” a voter said. “He still has the best receiver in the NFL, a good defense, great head coach, same offensive coordinator. There is no reason they should not do it again. The line has settled down. Just the maturity.”
Behind the Ravens rounding out the AFC’s top-five was the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts.
While one of the NFL execs predicted that the New England Patriots would be better, thus making things “tougher” for the Bills in the AFC East… every division foe the Bills have to worry about is ranked in just about the bottom-half of the power ranking.
Here’s the rest of the AFC East’s rankings via this group of NFL front office members:
- New England Patriots (8)
- Miami Dolphins (11)
- New York Jets (15)