Why Buffalo Bills Are Still The Best Team In The AFC East


  • Josh Allen remains the key to the Bills’ success in the AFC East.
  • A strong run game with an efficient RB and top 10 OL are key pieces to overcoming the wide receiver turnover.
  • Matt Milano’s return will significantly boost the Bills’ defense.

Looking at the Buffalo Bills 2024 offseason in a vacuum, it’s easy to assume the Bills have regressed and will take a step back in the AFC East. They lost a number of starting players in their attempt to get younger and clear space.

Buffalo Bills 2024 Departures


New Team

Stefon Diggs – WR

Houston Texans

Gabe Davis – WR

Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Floyd – LB

San Francisco 49ers

Mitch Morse – OC

Jacksonville Jaguars

Dane Jackson – CB

Carolina Panthers

Tyrel Dodson – LB

Seattle Seahawks

Tre’Davious White – CB

Los Angeles Rams

Jordan Poyer – S

Miami Dolphins

Their defensive identity feels like it’s gone, losing not only Jordan Poyer, but Micah Hyde, too. Along with Dane Jackson, Tre’Davious White also moved on after suffering numerous injuries recently.

Maybe the biggest concerns for Bills fans are the losses of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Losing their top two wide receivers is a tough pill to swallow in a pass-heavy offense. But despite all the departures this offseason, the Bills are still the team to beat in the AFC East.


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5 Josh Allen Is Still That Guy

Allen remains the second-best quarterback in the NFL

Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the interceptions and his wreckless play at times, Josh Allen is the clear-cut second-best QB in the NFL. His athleticism, mobility, arm strength, and ridiculous size give him an edge over any quarterback in the league. There are simply things that Allen can do that no other quarterback can do, including Patrick Mahomes.

If there’s anything that the 2023 Kansas City Chiefs showed us, it’s that you can’t doubt a team with a special quarterback, which the Bills have.

There’s no doubt that the Bills’ wide receiver room isn’t as impressive as it was a year ago. It’s difficult when you lose a former All-Pro wide receiver and one of the league’s most explosive deep threats. This newer wide receiver corps have very different skill sets.

Keon Coleman provides the team with a player who can excel after the catch and could blossom into a bonafide WR1. Curtis Samuel is a versatile chess piece for the offense who can play any position. Then you have returning pass-catchers Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid, who should expect expanded roles in 2024.

Allen is a playmaker. The new wide receiving corps isn’t ideal compared to last year’s, but there’s some underrated talent that could elevate their game to the next level without an alpha wide receiver in the building.

Kansas City was able to win a Super Bowl with a rookie wide receiver and several depth receivers. Even with a revamped wide receiver room, Buffalo should still have one of the more explosive passing offenses in the league, thanks in large part to Allen.

4 Matt Milano’s Return

The Bills will get their best defensive player back in 2024

Matt Milano, Buffalo Bills

Maybe the encouraging development heading into the 2024 season is that linebacker Matt Milano will be back. Buffalo really struggled against the pass in the middle of the field after Milano went down with a broken leg in October last year.

Buffalo was still surprisingly solid as a defensive unit without Milano, finishing fourth in points and ninth in total defense. They weren’t as good against the run, finishing 15th in yards and 28th in yards-per-attempt. Milano is bound to come back and give a huge boost to potentially turn this group into one of the best in the league

On offense, the Bills have Josh Allen. On defense, the Bills have Matt Milano. The linebacker is the star of the defense and the glue that can hold the unit together. His dominance against the run and in coverage give the Bills defense an edge that most defenses don’t have. With his return in 2024, the floor and ceiling are much higher for this unit.

3 AFC East’s Best Offensive Line

The Bills offensive line was graded out as one of the league’s best in 2023

Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins (73) in action during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
AP Photo/Gary McCullough

The Bills offensive line was one of the best units in football last year, allowing an NFL-low 24 sacks, and it only got better this offseason. The 2023 additions of Connor McGovern and O’Cyrus Torrence were the keys in taking a subpar group and turning them into an elite unit.

This impacts both the passing and run games. With more time, Allen can progress through his reads and let his receivers get to where they need to get on their routes.

In the run game, the offensive line creates holes to make life easier for the Bills’ running back room. A strong offensive line becomes the core of an offense. It provides the unit with so much more flexibility and makes life easier for every other position.

Even with the strong performance of this group last year, that didn’t stop general manager Brandon Beane from continuing to add depth to the offensive line.

They drafted center Sedrick Van Pran-Granger in the fifth round, offensive tackle Tylan Grable in the sixth-round, and offensive tackle Travis Clayton in the seventh. La’el Collins and Will Clapp were added through free agency as well. Beane showcased the importance of the offensive line by continuing to strengthen the unit heading into 2024.

2 Leaning On The Run

James Cook ran for over 1,000 yards and averaged 4.7 YPC in 2023

James Cook runs for big gain
Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

James Cook broke out last year by rushing for 1,122 yards, good for fourth in the leaugue. There are a lot of fantasy managers that expect Cook to regress in 2024, since the Bills drafted Ray Davis in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Cook only got better as the season went on, playing a larger role in the passing game as well.

2024 may bring a change in philosophy for the Bills offense. They were 16th in passing attempts last season, compared to the two years prior where they finished in the top 10.

After offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey was replaced with Joe Brady midway through the 2023 campaign, the offense became a much more run-heavy attack, a change of strategy that was accompanied by a lot of wins, which means the run-centric scheme should continue into 2024.

Buffalo has a running back that they can trust, and his usage is only going to increase with a revamped wide receiving corps. Cook could see a workload of over 250 carries next year, along with more involvement in the passing game.

AFC East Running Back Statistics in 2023


Rushing Yards


James Cook – BUF



Raheem Mostert – MIA



Breece Hall – NYJ



De’Von Achane – MIA



Rhamondre Stevenson – NE



As the wide receivers build a rapport with Allen, expect a heavy dose of Cook early in the season. If he can continue to be efficient, the Bills will continue to rely on him. Outside of the Miami Dolphins, Cook makes the Bills the second-best rushing attack in the AFC East.

1 Young And Improving Secondary

Young replacements bring promise and upside to a group that was on the decline

Taron Johnson and the Bills defense celebrate a turnover against the Steelers

The secondary is a position group that thrives off young, talented players with athleticism that can match up against the best wide receivers in the NFL.

As talented as the Bills secondary once was, they reached a point where nearly all the most impactful defenders were reaching their 30s. While it can be nerve wrecking to move on from players like Tre’Davious White and Jordan Poyer, it’s needed in order to rebuild a defense.

Between Christian Benford, Taron Johnson, and Rasul Douglas, Buffalo has a solid group of cornerbacks heading into this season. The safety duo will look different, as Taylor Rapp is likely locked into a starting role after signing a contract extension, and 2024 second round pick Cole Bishop should slot in next to him.

2023 was a prime example of a young cornerback room coming into its own, as the team finished seventh against the pass. That was a nice improvement from 2022, when they finished 15th. There’s definitely excitement in Buffalo as this secondary is young and coming off of an impressive season.

All stats are courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Spotrac.


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