After an 0-3 start, the Buffalo Bills are, once again, starting to get noticed. The team has won 5 of its last 6 games to pull above .500 (5-4) for the first time since 2004, and are right in the thick of the AFC Wild Card playoff race. Many experts and fans alike are giving the credit to Buffalo's resurgence to a Bills defense that has played very well despite missing several key starters. The unit has played so well that national media are beginning to talk about them as one of the quickest, most aggressive and hard-hitting units in the league.
In the never-ending quest for perspective, however, I'm here today to pose a question to Buffalo Rumblings nation, and you all are going to decide the answer to this question. Given the following information, I ask you: is Buffalo's defense underrated or overrated?
The Underrated Facts
- Middle of the pack run D (#20 at 118 yards per game)
- 12 interceptions, tied for 6th in the NFL
- #9 scoring defense in the NFL, giving up 18.4 points per game
- A bevvy of young, talented players, including to but not limited to: A. Schobel, J. McCargo, C. Kelsay, A. Crowell, T. McGee, D. Whitner
- Being the centerpiece of a win streak despite missing 4 one-time starters (P. Posluszny, K. Simpson, J. Webster, A. Youboty)
Let's face it - Buffalo's defense has done some pretty good things while facing some pretty long odds. As a result of their penchant for picking off passes, the Bills have been able to limit the score of their opponents - the biggest reason they've been able to win low-scoring affairs despite one of the league's worst offenses. There are some very good players on this defense, and the unit is young - they're only going to get better.
The Overrated Facts
- #28 overall defense, giving up 360 yards per game
- An anemic pass rush that has produced only 9 sacks this season
- The lack of production from the unit's two highest paid players, A. Schobel (2.5 sacks) and C. Kelsay (2 sacks)
- A pass defense that, despite giving up few big plays, still gives up big yards (241 per game, #26 overall)
- The bulk of their success has come against teams with a combined 8-28 record and so-so offenses (NYJ 29, BAL 23, CIN 8, MIA 19)
Despite the win streak and the successes they've had, the unit still leaves a lot to be desired. The Cover-2 defense is based on a stellar pass rush, but the Bills have to blitz several defenders to get heat on opposing quarterbacks, leaving their secondary hanging. There are overpaid players, and the young guys are still making a few too many mistakes.
What's Your Take?
One thing is certain - during this winning streak, the defense has performed pretty consistently, while the offense has not. Therefore, the defense deserves some of the credit they're getting (not to mention the special teams, too). But do they deserve more credit? Less credit? That's what I'm asking you today. Let's hear it in the comments section.