Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Buffalo Bills fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
Through 14 games this season, the Buffalo Bills are 8-6 and firmly entrenched in a fight for a playoff spot as the current ninth seed in the AFC. Thankfully the season didn’t end last week, because the Bills would be on the outside looking in, home for the holidays despite playing their best football of the season.
In the NFL, offense receives all the attention, and for good reason: points and production that keeps viewers, fantasy footballers, and bettors glued to their televisions and devices.
Since becoming Buffalo’s unquestioned QB1 at halftime of his first professional football game, Josh Allen has played must-watch football. It’s perhaps fair to say that head coach Sean McDermott’s worst decision and best decision bookended his thought process between the two events: Naming Nathan Peterman the starting QB over Allen. But since Allen’s arrival, there’s been a clear lack of featured players at running back. The overall production has often been good to better, but without a true bell cow, teams were more able to read into tells on any given down based on personnel. Enter running back James Cook. In his second season, Cook has taken the league by storm — and though he may not be known as a proficient pass protector, his effort there is enough and production everywhere else is too incredible to remain bottled.
Yes, since the Bills entered their bye week at 6-6 with more questions than answers — and then even more off-field questions than anyone anticipated — Buffalo seems like a far different team after what was perhaps the most significant chapter of adversity in their novel of a season.
But the most current passage in the Buffalo Bills’ 2023 season need also mention the phenomenal efforts by the entire defense in wins against the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys. The much-maligned and oft-injured side of the ball played a drive for the ages in denying quarterback Patrick Mahomes a first-down conversion at the game’s most critical moment — one where Buffalo’s defense had previously rolled over to allow their opponents tying or game-winning points. The encore to that effort (one that was impressive throughout) was last Sunday’s result that found the Dallas Cowboys until to gain traction on offense until the starters hit the bench in the fourth quarter. Buffalo starting defense held the league’s highest-scoring offense to a field goal.
Call it December McDermott football. Call it motivation. Call it whatever you want. But don’t consider the Bills as missing the playoffs... not just yet. Never underestimate the idea of motivation, and consider the amount of it that the Buffalo Bills have within them at the moment.
That includes what might be at stake for Josh Allen at season’s end, award-wise. As of publishing, Allen is currently ranked with the fourth-best odds at DraftKings Sportsbook to win MVP in 2023. Most feel quarterback Brock Purdy has it locked up, and that if he doesn’t win the award, then quarterback Lamar Jackson will win his second MVP title.
But not so fast, as I have a question to pose for Bills Mafia (with a poll). In addition to our weekly fan confidence poll, I ask:
Should the Buffalo Bills win out, earn their fourth-consecutive AFC East division title and qualify for the playoffs, does Josh Allen win his first NFL MVP?