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Revisiting turnover predictions for 2022 Buffalo Bills

How did I do?

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

First things first; the GIFs are coming. But before the Buffalo Rumblings analysis team delivers the breakdown on each and every takeaway and giveaway, let’s revisit my turnover predictions for the Buffalo Bills from before the season. I made these predictions way back in June, before even seeing the team log a preseason snap. I’ve been doing this for several seasons, so let’s see if all that experience paid off with any sort of accuracy.

Methodology (brief recap)

This will be very brief. Turnovers can be a bit volatile, but some factors do appear to lead to some stability. Namely, players and coaches can make a difference. League rates and trends matter. Finally, it’s hard to be “elite” or “terrible.” When that occurs, teams generally veer back to the mean. If you want more info on why I predicted what I did, check out the link above. Let’s dive in!

Buffalo Bills’ 2022 Takeaways

I could make this a very short recap. “I predicted X and the Bills had Y takeaways.” But let’s be a bit more dramatic. Here’s some fast facts on Buffalo’s takeaways this season to get you going:

  • The Buffalo Bills had 17 interceptions this season
  • Jordan Poyer led the team with four of those, Matt Milano was second at three
  • The Bills recovered ten fumbles from their opponents
  • Matt Milano was the only player for Buffalo with more than one (he had two)
  • That means the Bills had 27 takeaways, which was tied for fourth most in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans. The Dallas Cowboys led the league with 33
  • Buffalo had 30 takeaways in 2021

What did I predict for the Bills? Here’s what I wrote:

My prediction is 27 takeaways for the 2022 Buffalo Bills. A good chunk above the expected league average, but nothing in the years of research I’ve put into this suggests it’s wise to predict two elite seasons in a row. Hope I’m wrong.

Well, that turned out pretty okay, didn’t it? There is one thing slightly wrong though. Remember that my Rule of Four philosophy considers the top four teams in a metric to be “elite.” In 2021, those 27 takeaways would have fallen out of the top four.

Buffalo Bills’ 2022 Giveaways

Like above, let’s draw this out a bit with some fast facts:

  • The Buffalo Bills had... well, Josh Allen had 14 interceptions. He was the only person on the team to throw one
  • Devin Singletary had a fumble problem, with three of them. All three were recovered by the opponent
  • Think that’s bad? Josh Allen had 13 fumbles, losing six of them
  • This deserves its own bullet. Turnover problems are pretty much always a quarterback deal
  • The Bills had the third-highest amount of giveaways with 27 total, behind only Houston (28) and the Indianapolis Colts (34)
  • Buffalo had 22 giveaways in 2021

I set a pretty high bar, nailing the total takeaway number. Here’s what I had to say:

I don’t think a slight uptick is unreasonable, and I’ll pinpoint my prediction this season with a very slight one. The 2022 Buffalo Bills will turn the ball over 23 times.

I should have listened more to myself. I also wrote this:

Last year’s team adjusted well with some changes before and during the season to remain a potent offense with league-average turnovers. This year the changes will be a little more significant. The loss of Brian Daboll perhaps being the largest of them all. Allen loses a fantastic safety blanket in Cole Beasley as well.

I’m not insinuating that Ken Dorsey and “wide receivers not named ‘Cole Beasley’” are totally to blame here, but the fact that there was some significant volatility injected into the season could have led me to guess a higher number. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Stay tuned to Buffalo Rumblings as we dive into the film behind all 54 turnovers by the Bills this past season.