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USA Today

The Buffalo Bills have a legitimate case for being one of the most complete teams in the AFC. GM Brandon Beane has built a defense that features an All-Pro cornerback in Tre'Davious White, arguably the best safety tandem in football in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, and an ultra-deep defensive line in front of two athletic, coverage-specialist linebackers in Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. On offense, there's Josh Allen, a young and elusive running back duo, a mostly sturdy offensive line, and Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley at the top of the receiver depth chart. 

The arrow is pointing up for Sean McDermott's team, the club with the most continuity in the NFL according to ESPN, for a season in which continuity will likely be significantly more important than it's ever been in the history of the league. With the start of the regular season only a few weeks away, here are three bold predictions for the 2020 Bills.

1. Josh Allen will be an NFL MVP candidate

He won't win the award, but over the final two months of the 2020 regular season, there will be buzz for Allen as the league MVP. It didn't happen for Cam Newton until Year 5 -- and he was phenomenal that season -- but it's no coincidence he won the most prestigious individual award the year Carolina had the second-best defense in the NFL per Football Outsiders, finishing sixth in sacks, and first in interceptions. The Panthers held nine opponents to 20 or fewer points in the regular season and went 5-1 in one-score games en route to a dazzling 15-1 campaign. Buffalo isn't going 15-1, but it did allow 20 or fewer points in 12 (!) games last season and added a variety of pieces to that side of the ball this offseason. 

Back to Newton's MVP year. That season, he completed less than 60% of his throws but tossed 35 touchdowns and ran for 10 more. Allen won't throw 35 touchdowns in 2020, but he registered nine scores on the ground in 2019. And Allen's receiver group is light-years more dangerous that Newton's pass-catching collection that consisted of Greg Olsen, Ted Ginn, Devin Funchess, and Corey "Philly" Brown as the main targets. And Allen and Newton are stylistically very similar. 

Allen demonstrated marked improvement as a passer in his second NFL season, and the Bills have done a marvelous job constructing an environment conducive to growth and maturation for a young, raw quarterback like Allen was when he entered the league. The offensive line is solid. The defense is elite. The Bills probably have the finest receiver trio in the conference. They're going to win the AFC East for the first time in over 20 years. Allen won't be exquisitely pinpoint accurate as a passer. But his success doesn't solely hinge on that. His arm strength, aggressive nature as a passer and runner, and Buffalo winning double-digit games this year will cause Allen to earn serious MVP consideration in his third NFL season. 

2. Tremaine Edmunds will be an All Pro

I could've written about Devin Singletary here but didn't want to rehash my stance that he's going to be the next Kareem Hunt on the field. And with Diggs, Brown, and Beasley as Buffalo's top three receivers, Allen is bound to disperse the ball somewhat evenly, thereby limiting the chances of a wideout having a monstrously high-volume season individually. Last year before the season, I predicted Edmunds' fellow linebacker mate Matt Milano would be an All Pro. Didn't happen. Milano did overflow the stat sheet with 101 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and nine pass breakups in 15 regular season games. I'm swinging for the fences again. 

Edmunds, now in his third year after being a first-round pick in 2018, turned just 22 in May and is ready to move from a mostly steady albeit at times inconsistent force in the middle of Buffalo's defense to a star at the linebacker position. At nearly 6-5 and 253 pounds with 4.54 speed and 34 1/2-inch vines for arms, Edmunds' range and tackling radius are as enormous as it gets. A season ago, he improved beating blockers on run plays and is a mobile soccer net in the middle of Buffalo's coverage unit. The game seemed to slow down for him in Year 2, and that will continue in Year 3, meaning he'll be around the football more frequently, against the run and in coverage. If Edmunds cuts down on his missed tackles -- many which come when he gets a finger on the ball carrier on plays where most linebackers wouldn't be able to make contact -- he'll be one of the most complete three-down linebackers in the AFC. 

And Buffalo's defense will be one of the stingiest in the conference. In front of Edmunds is a talented, diverse, and deep defensive line, which should keep him clean relatively often. Also, most of Buffalo's back seven players are entering their third year in Sean McDermott's established scheme. It's all arranged for Edmunds to emerge as one of the best linebackers in the NFL this season en route to an All-Pro distinction. 

3. The Bills will win a playoff game for the first time since 1995

The AFC is fascinating right now. There are the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, the unquestioned top two teams in the conference going into the 2020 season. Then there's ... well, there's no distinct No. 3 club. But when taking a step back to get a broad look at the teams that the consensus would say reside in the next tier, the Bills have the best, deepest, most well-rounded roster of those clubs. 

But all the Bills need to do to host a playoff game is, of course, win the division, and for Buffalo, the rest of the AFC East hasn't been this collectively vulnerable in a very long time. Who knows if we'll have #BillsMafia in the seats in January for a playoff game in Orchard Park, but regardless of whether the Bills are the No. 3 or No. 4 seed, they'll be the more complete team on the field for that postseason outing. 

In 2017, the Bills sneaked into the playoffs just before the clock struck midnight and were miles away from where the front office wanted the team to be roster-wise. The loss in Jacksonville wasn't overly shocking. Last year, it was easy to see Buffalo as more formidable but it just wasn't quite "there" yet. This iteration of the Bills has the talent on offense and defense to win (at least) one playoff game for the first time since late December 1995, and they will.