NFL analyst on Bills’ playoff hopes: “That could be where they run into issues”

Josh Allen looks the part of an MVP candidate, but as Cynthia Frelund explains, the Bills’ playoff hopes likely hinge on their defense – their rush defense, in particular

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
December 29, 2020 - 10:59 am
Josh Allen Bills

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If you’re a Buffalo Bills fan, you’re probably on cloud nine right now. The Bills (12-3) have clinched their first division title since 1995, they’ve won eight of their last nine games, and they bludgeoned the New England Patriots, 38-9, on Monday Night Football.

Indeed, Bills quarterback Josh Allen was borderline unstoppable Monday, finishing 27-of-36 for 320 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran four times for 35 yards, as Buffalo has won five straight games by double digits since their Week 11 bye. If any team can challenge the Kansas City Chiefs (14-1) in the AFC, it might be Buffalo.

But the Bills’ playoff hopes, believe it or not, likely don’t hinge on Allen. No, they hinge on the Bills’ defense – their run defense, in particular.

“The Bills’ defense, if they can stop the run – or they can’t stop the run – that’s going to be hugely important,” NFL Network data analyst Cynthia Frelund said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think part of what keeps Josh Allen so incredibly efficient is the fact that they have the full playbook available to them. They’re not playing from behind or with a constraint with the time clock – all these things that can make you make worse decisions.”

Allen has looked the part of an MVP candidate this season. He has thrown for 4,320 yards, rushed for 418 yards, and has scored 42 touchdowns (34 pass, eight rush) to nine interceptions.

The Bills, however, rank 20th in run defense. The Baltimore Ravens (10-5), Tennessee Titans (10-5), and Cleveland Browns (10-5) – all AFC playoff teams – rank first, second, and fourth, respectively, in the NFL in rush offense.

“So that’s one of the things that, come playoff time – when you face a Derrick Henry-led Titans team – that could be a problem,” Frelund said. “If they’re constrained for time and [Allen has] got to push it fast, that could be where they run into issues.”