Could the Buffalo Bills defense be heading for a regression statistically this upcoming season?
The Buffalo Bills brought back most of their starters on the defensive side of the ball in 2020 and after a Top 5 finish last year, it is expected for them to remain near the top. However, this group be in line for a regression statistically this year.
In 2019, the Buffalo Bills allowed the third fewest total yards per game (298.3), the fourth fewest passing yards (195.2), the 10th fewest rushing yards (103.1) and was the second best defense in keeping points off the board, allowing only 16.2 per game.
Aside from the departure of Lorenzo Alexander, Shaq Lawson, and Jordan Phillips, who all played key roles but also played less than 55% of the total defense snaps, this group remains intact. They added in talented players like Mario Addison, Quinton Jefferson and second round draft pick A.J. Epenesa.
Even though this defense could actually be better in terms of talent wise, they are going to be hard pressed to surpass the averages they put up last year.
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This is due in large part to the quality of offense, the Buffalo Bills will be matched up against this year. In 2019, the Bills played some pretty bad offenses and just showed their dominance on the field. They had 11 games last year against offenses that ranked in the bottom half of the league in terms of total yards and only faced two Top 10 teams in this category (Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens).
Now looking ahead to 2020, the Buffalo Bills have seven games against offense that finished 2019 in the top half of the league in total yards. Of those seven games, five are against teams with Top 10 offenses (Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers).
A case can be made that some of these offenses, like the Chargers, are going to be hard pressed to match the output of a season ago. However, for every Chargers team on the schedule there is a Denver Broncos or Arizona Cardinals that look drastically improved with the offseason moves they have made.
There is no question that this Buffalo Bills defense is one of the best in the league. However, by just looking at stats, this group is going to have a tough time remaining near the top based on the opponents they will be facing this coming year.