When it comes to the game of football, everyone can appreciate good defense. Turnovers are one of the most exciting aspects of the sport. And we have been blessed with great defensive plays every year. But to consistently be that scary defense week after week is a great year for any defensive coordinator. We can all credit the 2015 Broncos or the 2017 Jaguars for having an amazing year on defense. But the key is to have that defense for a span of years, like the Ravens of the early 2000s or the Steelers in the '70s. There are a number of young defenses in the league that are just so close to having something special like that. But there is one team that nobody is talking about, and that is the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo Bills, Football's Defensive Dark Horse
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Being the Buffalo Bills, it's been a long time being on the positive side of relevancy, even when they made the playoffs a few years ago nobody had them doing anything special. And that really comes from the shadow of being in the AFC East which is practically owned by the Patriots every year. And most of their publicity last year was how their quarterback Josh Allen was doing all season. But what they're putting together on defense has really been under the radar.
For right now their defense really isn't the best with consistency as the team shelled out another losing record in 2018. But for the games that they had won the defense really showed up. Over the span of six wins, they had only allowed eight total touchdowns with seven of them being within the five-yard line and zero being beyond the red zone. One thing is for sure that this defense is stubborn when they're having a good day. And they are only going to get better.
The defense has had already some standout veterans for a while now. Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are one of the most efficient sets of safeties the league has as of right now with 114 tackles and 6 interceptions amongst the both of them. They also have defensive end Jerry Hughes who lead the team in sacks and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander who we all know is a two time pro bowl MVP. These guys make strong leaders for the young core that Buffalo has brought in over recent years, and those guys are what makes Buffalo the defense of the future.
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Over the past few years, the first round picks have been stacking up for Buffalo. Tre'Davious White who has been a consistent shutdown corner since coming into the league two seasons ago. So far he is showing out to be the best corner in his draft class. Then just last season they draft Tremaine Edmunds who lead the team in tackles, was in the running for DROTY and is ranked as the best middle linebacker not just on the Bills, but in the whole AFC East. And now they pick up Ed Oliver out of Houston in this recent draft. Oliver was once projected to go number one overall early last season.
And not only is it the early draft picks that will be making waves for this defense, but they also have a few other young defensive pieces who aren't really defined as defensive stars just yet. They have guys like Matt Milano who is surely underrated at the linebacker position. He came up just third in overall tackles in team rankings and caught three interceptions just last season as well. Then they also have a young and promising player in Levi Wallace, the corner across from White. Wallace went undrafted last year but seems promising as he received a PFF grade of 83.5 which is difficult as a corner.
The way it seems with this perfect mix of veterans and young stars, they are scratching the surface of what could be an elite defense for years to come. Maybe just another year or two of development and teams will be circling the Bills on their schedules. As long as they keep all their pieces together and coaching pushes them in the right direction, I don't see why they can't be the defense that brings the Buffalo Bills back into the glory days.