The Buffalo Bills rolled into the playoffs with an emotional win on the back of the Damar Hamlin situation from last Monday night in their game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills are the No. 2 seed in the AFC behind the Kansas City Chiefs, though the scheduling fallout from the canceled game in Cincinnati means that the Bills and Chiefs would face on a neutral site should the seeding hold, and those two face off in the AFC Championship game.
Josh Allen was once again everything for the Bills in 2022. His ability to pass and/or run as needed makes Allen a weapon that defenses have to key in on no matter where the ball is on the field. However, Allen has not been perfect this year, and here are a few items on his playoff checklist to correct or exploit if the Bills are going to make it to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona.
Josh Allen Playoff Checklist
- Be An Emotional Leader – The Bills are in uncharted territory here. Hamlin appears to be getting better, which is fantastic news, but the Bills are rallying around their teammate and leaders. Allen is one such leader – as the quarterback, he is automatically the face of the organization on the field – and he will have to manage his emotions while channeling those around him to be the best version of themselves both on the field and off it.
- No More Turnovers – The Bils (and the Chiefs, for that matter) have been winning despite their turnover numbers. Buffalo is a net zero in turnover margin, having turned the ball over 27 times and taken the ball away from the opposition 27 times. This is a concern because eight of the last 10 Super Bowl champs have had a turnover ratio of AT LEAST +8 in the regular season. Allen has to be better with the football and make more intelligent choices. This is especially true when…
- No More Red Zone Turnovers – Usually, it is a good thing when Allen is leading the league in a statistic. One statistic this is not true for is red zone interceptions. Allen threw his fifth such pick of the year against the New England Patriots, the highest number in the league. The Bills have eight total turnovers inside the red zone, something that can’t happen in the playoffs, The teams are more even, and giving up a scoring chance could be the difference between winning and losing a game. Allen has tried to force things in the red zone at times in 2022. He needs to find better ways to move the ball inside the 20-yard line in the playoffs.
- Use Allen’s Legs – Allen rushed for 762 yards in the regular season. Devin Singletary and James Cook have looked better as the season has gone on at running back, with Cook especially impressive over the last month. Even so, Allen’s legs will be the ones Buffalo relies on in the playoffs. This might be through designed runs, RPOs, or just Allen putting the team on his back and scrambling for a first down amongst the chaos. Expect Allen to see plenty of goal-line work, too, with the Bills wanting the ball in the hands of their best player with the game on the line.