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How close were the Buffalo Bills to being elite in 2014?

The Buffalo Bills were elite in two of three phases, but are still only 8-7 heading into Week 17. How close were they to being an elite team?

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

One last time this season, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk has a question he'd like us to mull over regarding the Buffalo Bills.

Equating "professional grade" to "playoff caliber," I'd say that the Bills were about 60 percent professional grade in 2014. But don't take my word for it; let's use the DVOA ratings of Football Outsiders to prove it.

Through 15 games, the 8-7 Bills are ranked No. 10 overall in the ratings. They are No. 2 overall in defensive DVOA and No. 3 in special teams; within the context of the 2014 season, the Bills are elite in those two phases of the game. Of the 2,469 snaps that the Bills have played this season, 1,466 - or about 60 percent - have been played by defenders and specialists.

The problem comes on the No. 27-ranked offense in DVOA, which is one of the worst units in the league. Buffalo's offense is not even remotely playoff caliber - and that's why, instead of ending a 14-year playoff drought, the Bills are instead hoping to finish 9-7 (but probably will finish 8-8) and have major questions to answer this offseason.

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