ESPN’s Mike Clay couldn’t be more wrong about Josh Allen and Buffalo Bills

Mike Clay of ESPN released his 2024 NFL Projection Guide, and he completely missed the mark with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Well, just like last season, it appears the New York Jets will once again be the offseason darling and division champions of many NFL analysts. We know how well that worked out in 2023 and until the Jets prove it on the field, I'm inclined to believe this next season will be no different. But that didn't stop ESPN's Mike Clay from essentially deeming the Jets as the AFC East champs in his annual NFL Projections Guide.

We're only two weeks into the league's new year and free agency is far from over. We also still have the 2024 NFL Draft next month and no doubt there will be more trades happening between now and the start of the new season. So, all this "way too early" projection stuff doesn't mean much but wow, Mike Clay could not be further off the mark. Let's hope he can redeem himself before the 2024 season kickoffs.

In his projections, he has the Bills winning 10 games, compared to the Jets' 11 wins, giving the Jets the division crown. I get it, they brought in receiver Mike Williams and Aaron Rodgers should be healthy and good to go. But what has Coach Saleh done since taking the head coach job in New York, that instills any semblance of confidence in his ability to get the Jets to the top of the division? Sure, maybe I'm being a little biased but the Bills aren't going anywhere and until the Jets do something on the field, I'm not sold.

Secondly, Clay predicts that Josh Allen has less than 3,700 yards and only 501 yards rushing. For starters, Allen has thrown for over 4,200 yards for four straight years now. You could make a legitimate case the weapons around him in 2024 should be better. Dalton Kincaid in year two will further develop into one of the best tight ends in the league and Khalil Shakir will continue his upward trend as well. The addition of Curtis Samuel should be an improvement as well over the inconsistent Gabe Davis. I don't see Allen throwing for less than 4,000 yards.

As far as the rushing yards, the 501 yards projected on the ground isn't far out of the whelm of possibility given that Allen has run for 524 yards or less in three seasons. However, he is averaging over 600 yards for his career, so I'd put his 2024 projection closer to 601, than 501. It will be interesting to see how these projections change throughout the offseason, particularly after the NFL Draft.


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