2023 AFC East Predictions: Will Buffalo Bills win the division crown?

From a 17-season playoff drought to three straight division championships, the Buffalo Bills have finally found their way back to the promised land. But even despite historical futility, regular season success will eventually give way to playoff expectations. Buffalo has lost in the divisional round two seasons in a row, and many are starting to demand more out of one of the NFL’s most talented rosters.

With +130 odds on FanDuel, the Bills are the favorite to win the division once again. But, after losing some key pieces in the offseason, do they have what it takes to hold strong atop the AFC East standings in 2023? For more NFL betting odds and predictions, check out OvertimeHeroics for the latest football news.

On the offensive end, there’s not a whole lot to be worried about from a personnel standpoint. Things stagnated at times under offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey last season, but Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have enough raw talent to carry this group regardless. And that’s not even including WR Gabe Davis, Dawson Knox, Pro-Bowl LT Dion Dawkins, and the best TE in last year’s draft Dalton Kincaid

The biggest offensive question mark is probably the running back room. With Devin Singletary now in Houston, the Bills will probably look to James Cook to be the lead back. Cook has shown he can be effective in small bursts, but he’ll need to produce at volume for the Buffalo offense to keep churning. 

The defense might be a little more up and down, but they still have plenty of proven players all over the field. Ed Oliver just signed a massive contract extension to shore up the middle of the line for years to come, Von Miller and Gregory Rousseau bring a combination of youth and experience to the edge, and First Team All-Pro Matt Milano is the vocal leader at the heart of it all. 

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few areas of concern. The secondary is looking a little thin, especially considering All-Pro CB Tre’Davious White has played only 17 games combined since 2020 and pro bowl safety Jordan Poyer is turning 32 this season. It also remains to be seen how impactful the loss of key cog Tremaine Edmunds to Chicago will end up being. He was a key piece in the middle of their defense, and many are wondering if Milano can lead the linebacker core alone without his help.

Buffalo starts off with an easy schedule, getting early-season matchups against bottom-feeders like the Colts, Raiders, and Buccaneers. But one other major hurdle the Bills will have to clear to defend their division crown for the 4th consecutive season is their absolute murderers’ row of a schedule from week nine onward. Six of their last nine games are against teams who made the playoffs last season, and another one of those is a home matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the new-look Jets.

In our opinion, the Buffalo Bills still have the best chance out of anyone to take the AFC East crown. But, in such a loaded division, it’s hard not to take the field, especially with the Bills’ brutal schedule down the stretch. The Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots have all upgraded significantly from last season, with the former two being serious threats to knock off Buffalo for the first time since 2019. However, even if they don’t win the division, you can expect the Bills to make their 5th straight playoff appearance as a wild card.

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