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2017 NFL Team Preview: AFC East

Buffalo Bills

Credit: USATSI

Key Acquisitions: Micah Hyde, Patrick DiMarco, Steven Hauschka, Leonard Johnson

Rookies: Tre’Davious White, Zay Jones, Dion Dawkins

Key Losses: Robert Woods, Zach Brown,  Stephon Gilmore, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Mike Gillislee

Record: 5-11

Where do I begin? Buffalo seems to be in a complete dumpster fire situation entering 2017. For starters, the offense does not have a reliable receiving core. Sammy Watkins has shown he can be uber talented, but it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy. Robert Woods has left in free agency, and rookie receiver Zay Jones will come in as the number 2. Jones holds the FBS record for career receptions while playing at East Carolina. It will be a test for Jones in his rookie season to see if he can be a legitimate weapon.

Tyrod Taylor signed a deal that looks to be a complete overpayment to the naked eye, but if you look at this season, Tyrod is only owed $8.6 million. This means if Buffalo decides to go in a different direction, they can cut Taylor and actually save a million dollars. Taylor’s passing touchdowns were low with only 17 in 15 games, but kept the picks down with only 6 while passing for barely over 3,000 yards. Let’s also mention that LeSean McCoy is an elite running back, but his days at the top are closing fast. McCoy just turned 29 in July, and the rule about running backs is once they hit age 30, that’s when they typically begin to decline. In McCoy’s defense, he still looked like vintage Shady in 2016. I just worry with his skill set of being extremely quick and fast that it will vanish unexpectedly when he hits that famous age 30 season. If McCoy does not have the quickness that he had in 2016, what does he have to bring to the table?

Let’s turn it over to the defensive side of the ball. Buffalo was a great pass defending team in 2016 ranking 6th in yards allowed, but where it gets sour is the rush defense. The Bills rushing defense ranked 29th in yards allowed. Now jumping to 2017, I worry about the Bills secondary. Micah Hyde will come in and be an immediate factor being a versatile player. Rookie Tre’Davious White is the early favorite to start at corner. White played four years at LSU, where he totaled six interceptions in four seasons. Going from Pro Bowl corner Stephon Gilmore to Rookie Tre’Davious White will be a huge adjustment for the Bills defense.

I expect a down year for the Bills. Buffalo has simply lost too many key pieces and did little to replace them. The defense that flourished last year is on a dangerous path to becoming one of the worst in the AFC.

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