Josh Allen broke a slew of team records as he led the Buffalo Bills to the doorstep of the Super Bowl last season. Now, ESPN is projecting that both Allen and the Bills will reach even higher in 2021.
The site used its Football Power Index to simulate all 285 games of the regular season along with the playoffs. While the simulation ran through 20,000 potential scenarios, ESPN highlighted one that was very kind to the Bills.
The latest Bills news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bills newsletter here!
Allen Leads Bills to the Promised Land
In simulation No. 13,330 — which ESPN randomly selected as a representation of the entire season — Allen managed an even better season in 2021. He beat out Patrick Mahomes for the league MVP award, thanks in part to his heroics in leading the Bills to a league-best record.
After a relatively slow start to the season that saw the Bills start 3-2, the team went on a torrid streak, ultimately ending with a 13-4 record. The Bills earned a bye, and defeated the No. 7-seeded Jaguars 31-14 in the divisional round, beating Jacksonville for the first time in three postseason matchups between the teams. The Bills faced the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Championship game, defeating their Lake Erie neighbors 27-13 to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly three decades. The Bills faced Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers in the big game, playing what ESPN predicted would be a well-rounded game.
“In the Super Bowl, Allen opened the game with a touchdown to receiver Stefon Diggs, and running back Devin Singletary ran for two more scores. Cornerback Tre’Davious White jumped an interception with four minutes left in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. Final score: 27-17.”
The outcome was still something of an outlier based on the 19,999 other projections. As ESPN noted, the Bills have the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl, winning in 9.4% of simulations. The Kansas City Chiefs are the favorite, winning 19.2% of the time and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers repeat as Super Bowl champs in 14.1% of simulations.
Bills Adjusting to New Status
Back in reality, the Bills are learning how to settle into the new status as a top contender to win the Super Bowl. General manager Brandon Beane told ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques that there will be a lot of pressure this season to prove that last year’s 13-3 record was not a fluke.
“Our guys understand that doing something once doesn’t make you a great team,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said. “Once you’re lucky, twice you’re good. If you want to be a consistent contender, you got to back it up. And so, we talked here last year about a wanting to win the division, so we can host [playoff] games here. And not only did we get to host one, we hosted two.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott agreed, noting that it’s very difficult to stay near the top in the NFL.
“One of the hardest things to do is to sustain success,” McDermott said. “I’ve been around it. I’ve seen it. You see it not only from the teams that I’ve been a part of and I’ve learned from, but other teams. That’s the way the NFL is built, is for parity. One year a team’s up, next year they’re down.”