Since the summer of 2014, when Terry and Kim Pegula purchased the Buffalo Bills, the team and franchise have been on a steady upward climb. The speed of that climb increased precipitously when the GM/head coach combo of Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott, respectively, arrived three years later, in 2017, and the final piece of the proverbial ‘big four’ (owner, GM, head coach, QB) puzzle was added when the team selected quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick of the 2018 draft — six slots after Baker Mayfield and four slots after Sam Darnold.
If you’re saying to yourself, ‘Ah, Allen’s not that good’, you may be right — he’s probably better than you think. Because he didn’t take the NFL by storm immediately upon entering the league out of the University of Wyoming, and also because his team represents only the 86th largest U.S. city, Allen has had the good fortune to fly mostly under the radar of the national press and has thus escaped much of the high powered scrutiny that has followed players like the aforementioned Darnold, Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky and the Dolphins’ own Tua Tagovailoa. With a 64-30 touchdown to interception ratio and already 25 rushing touchdowns to his credit, perhaps the scariest thing about this kid, who won’t turn 25 until next Spring, is that his star is clearly still ascending. If you’re hoping Allen’s success this season is little more than a flash in the pan, you might be setting yourself up for a letdown; the young QB has shown steady improvement throughout his three NFL seasons, and invokes images of a young Ben Roethlisberger, only with much better fleetness of foot. If I’m a GM and can pick any quarterback in the league to play for my team when you factor in age, there is only one guy I’d take over Josh Allen; the Dolphins just played against him three weeks ago.
The team the Dolphins will face in Orchard Park, New York on Sunday afternoon is an awful lot what the Dolphins themselves hope to look like in another couple of years: a fearless, game-changing quarterback, a strong rushing attack, and receivers who can beat you deep or nickel and dime you down the field and a defense that hits hard and asks questions later. Oh, and just for good measure, the best home-field advantage of any NFL team not named the Green Bay Packers or Seattle Seahawks. Miami has acquired an impressive amount of young talent and is set to add even more over the next few months. Someday soon, they’ll be able to go toe to toe with the team that plays on the Eastern shore of Lake Erie and beat them, but this season belongs to the Buffalo Bills.