Can Bills’ Josh Allen handle the pressure of big expectations in 2021?

josh allen, bills

Ever since he stepped into the league in 2018, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has progressively developed into a site to behold. In only his third season in the NFL, Allen put together a spectacular breakout performance as he not only threw for a career-high 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns but, in the process, led the Bills to their first AFC Championship game in decades. Despite falling short to Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs in the playoffs, what Allen was able to achieve with this team, was nothing short of incredible, providing a spark of hope that Bills fans have been craving for so long.

However, what’s quite unique with Allen’s rise to stardom is that since his rookie season, he’s yet to have any setbacks in his ascent to prominence, more or less, an off-year.

To clarify, even players of his caliber in talent sometimes fall short of the statistical brilliance they’ve achieved in previous seasons. Whether it’s due to injuries, immense pressure, a struggling support system, or something else entirely, this phenomenon has become a commonality in the league that usually takes place during the second year of most breakout stars that shine in their rookie seasons (aka The Sophomore Slump). We’ve seen this with guys like Todd Gurley, Sam Bradford, Mike Williams, Baker Mayfield, and Cam Newton, to name a few.

That being said, these declines (whether small or large) don’t always take place during the sophomore year for all NFL players and stars alike. In fact, some of the biggest names in football, including Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, and Jared Goff, all have experienced significant drops statistically following big breakout years in their careers, with many of these lowered outcomes taking place after their second seasons. And despite his young three-year career so far and an immaculate third season in the league, Allen has yet to have that kind of step-back experience, and it’s hard not to wonder if this slide will come around this year, particularly with the added pressure of making a trip to the Super Bowl.

But what makes this season even more challenging for Allen is the expectation and requirement to produce another flawless season that, at the very least, closely matches the one he produced last year. And this includes limiting turnovers significantly, which has been an issue for Allen since he got drafted. Though he posted a career-low in rushing fumbles last year with only 4, Allen had an additional 5 passing fumbles along with 10 interceptions, illustrating just how vital it is of him to limit turnovers this year both on the ground and through the air (ESPN). Anything short of his last season numbers could certainly jeopardize the Bills’ aspirations for a Super Bowl ring, and that’s another layer of pressure that might be too difficult to surmount.

Nonetheless, Allen has proven that he is no ordinary quarterback and has predicated the brunt of his success on one key component: growth. From season to season, Allen has made grand strides with his development by not only refining his mobility in and out of the pocket but also by improving his throwing accuracy immensely, ascending into one of the league’s best passers in the process. And since his shaky rookie campaign only three years ago, Allen has shown no signs of slowing down as he aims to uphold the dominant level of play he’s been able to achieve so far. Though he’s shown that turnovers can still be a thorn in his side, Allen has become a student of the game, driven by his dedication and desire to succeed at the highest level with an unquenchable interest to learn from his imperfections and beat on his craft. What he did last year was truly impressive and a tough feat to match. But then again, there’s no reason why Allen can’t throw for over 5,000 yards and 40+ touchdowns this season. And with everything at his disposal, Allen’s poised to unleash his biggest season yet.

Bills’ Cole Beasley Claims He Would Rather Retire Than Receive COVID Vaccine: Is This An Extreme Reaction?

bills, cole beasley

If there’s anything we learned from the year 2020, is that COVID-19 is not a joke and that the danger of a grand scale pandemic can be crushingly devastating. Not even five days ago, the New York Times reported that the world’s coronavirus death toll had surpassed four million, as stronger variants continue to spread and unequal vaccine distribution stunts the level of global immunity.

Although this pandemic has cast a dark cloud upon humanity, the vaccines have provided a sign of hope and have proven to be a very effective, preventative measure to ensure people don’t get the coronavirus and avoid the most severe symptoms that can fatally hospitalize them if they do contract it. Whether it’s Moderna, Pfizer, or AstraZeneca, the vaccines have the effectiveness to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by 90% or more, according to the CDC, providing substantial protection to one of the most contagious viruses our world has ever lived through. In fact, the driving force behind why cases have gone down in the U.S., for example, is due to the significant number of individuals who have received vaccinations so far, with nearly 48% of the country already fully vaccinated.

However, despite the continued success behind the vaccinations, many people have chosen not to get vaccinated. The reasons behind these decisions vary and are fueled by several different influences. That being said, due the devastation and heartbreak this virus has already caused and continues to insinuate, numerous of people have given these anti-vaccine individuals a lot of criticism and backlash over their decision-making. Believe it or not, this anti-vaccine stance and sentiment is widely felt throughout the entire country, even among celebrities and professional athletes. And over the past month, one popular sports athlete who’s chosen not to be vaccinated and has been at the forefront of this ongoing controversy is Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley.

Coming out with a Twitter PSA on June 18th, Beasley stated that “he’s not vaccinated and that he wants to live his one life like he wants to,” explaining that “he’d rather take his chances with COVID and build up an immunity that way.” Further detailing instructions for those that live around him and might encounter him in person, Beasley also took the time to explain his standing on the freedom to choose what he feels is best for him and his life, going as far to say that “I’ll play for free this year to live how I’ve lived from day one.” And “If I’m forced into retirement, so be it.”

Whether you’re a Bills fan or a sports fan in general, this is certainly a conflicting concern that can pose a variety of issues. To begin with, the Bills are a Super Bowl contending team, and any setbacks due to COVID-19 throughout the season could be consequential for this franchise’s big aspirations. Though the NFL has a rigorous policy in place for unvaccinated players, including mask-wearing, daily testing, as well as weight room capacity limits, Beasley’s approach could cost him outside of the NFL’s jurisdiction, and he could easily put his teammates at risk, whether they’re vaccinated or not (ESPN).

On the other hand, the Bills also really need Beasley to be present, healthy, and focused. Ever since he came to Buffalo in 2019, Beasley has posted new career highs in receptions (82), targets (107), yards (967), touchdowns (6), and receiving first downs (53), becoming a vital component of this Bills offense (ESPN). On top of his incredible chemistry level established with quarterback Josh Allen, Beasley never turns the ball over, recording his last fumble back in 2015 (ESPN).

In short, Beasley’s decision about the vaccine has become a significant cause for concern regarding the Bills goals this season. And, as a matter of fact, he’s not the only player in the NFL who’s chosen not to get vaccinated. That being said, if you were in his position, would you take the vaccine or opt-out and risk an early retirement? Here at ESM, we would love to hear our readers and fans weigh in on this controversial matter, especially since the Bills have so much on the line this year. Feel free to chime in with your comments and thoughts!

Can the Bills overcome their weaknesses and take a step forward toward a Championship in 2021?

josh allen, bills

Last season was a really big step for the Buffalo Bills. Finishing the year with an excellent 13-3 record followed by their first AFC Championship appearance since 1993, the Bills, for the first time in a long time, truly looked like Super Bowl contenders. With a high-octane offensive and a versatile defense, the Bills evolved into a force to be reckoned with and illustrated how dominant they can be.

Entering the playoffs with a big wild card victory over the Indianapolis Colts to then completely shutting down the Baltimore Ravens the following week in the divisional round, the Bills really lived up to the hype and proved just how dangerous and elite they are. Coming off a season in 2019 where they went 10-6 and suffered a swift playoff exit in the Wild Card round, last season’s accomplishments really highlighted the tremendous amount of growth this team mustered together in just a year’s time, despite adding a handful of new cornerstone players to their roster.

However, when this strong team was confronted with the living epitome of greatness in Patrick Mahomes, the Bills did not have an answer for the former MVP and struggled to keep up with the Chiefs’ offensive tenacity. Not only did they have a very difficult time trying to slow them down defensively, but on top of that, not even their offense could keep up with the scoring output from the Chiefs, resulting in yet another tough playoff exit.

What the Bills confronted, though, wasn’t an unusual setback; the Chiefs are the greatest team in the AFC and have solidified that over the last two years. And just like it is for the Ravens, Titans, Steelers, Browns and other championship-driven AFC teams, overcoming the Chiefs this year for the Bills is the greatest challenge they face in the AFC period. Making it to the playoffs is no simple task as is. But beating the Chiefs in the playoffs is the biggest test for this Bills team to surmount and remains to be a feat that seems awfully daunting for them to prevail against this season.

That being said, the Chiefs did come up short in the Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who beat them fair and square by 22 points. Although Tom Brady pulled off yet another flawless Super Bowl performance and took home the Super Bowl MVP honors, the key ingredient for their success that night was nothing but their staunch and ruthless defense led by Todd Bowles. Holding the Chiefs to only nine points, Mahomes and his offense had no solution against the Buccaneers’ defensive schemes, and the former MVP quarterback found himself scrambling helplessly all too often from start to finish.

On the contrary, this is precisely what the Bills lacked with their very own defense and was ultimately why they couldn’t slow down the Chiefs in the first place. Though they have a handful of great defensive playmakers and specialists on their unit, the Bills defense had a couple of gaps in talent and strength, particularly along their defensive line who struggled against the run and could hardly garner any pressure against opposing quarterbacks. Just to give you an idea, the Bills defense allowed over 350 total yards per game with 119.6 of them coming on the ground, finished the year in 12th in total sacks and conceded 23.4 points per game in the process (ESPN). Considering the talent and potential this defense has, those numbers were far from ideal and have to improve if they want a shot at redemption come January 2022.

But since the Super Bowl ended back in February, a series of small yet significant changes have been made with the Bills, and there’s no doubt that this team has what it takes to make it to the Super Bowl within the next two years if not sooner. It sounds kind of crazy, but the Bills made all the right adjustments over the offseason that they needed to make, putting themselves in the best position to go the distance for the first time in decades.

For starters, the Bills made defense their biggest priority this offseason, and they really capitalized on that in this year’s NFL Draft. With their first two picks, the Bills not only selected debatably the best defensive lineman coming out of the draft in Gregory Rousseau out of the University of Miami, but they also selected the gifted, defensive menace in Carlos Basham Jr. out of Wake Forest, big-time playmakers that wreaked havoc during their college years. With Rousseau bringing elite athleticism, quickness, and versatility and Bashem Jr. providing an unrelenting level of strength, grit, and power, the Bills have assembled one dangerous defensive line considering they have Ed Oliver, Mario Addison, and Jerry Hughes to begin with. Along with these additions, the Bills also reinforced their already stacked secondary in the draft by selecting safety Damar Hamlin and cornerback Rachad Wildgoose, physical and competitive defensive backs that possess good upside and skill (ESPN). Though these rookies are all very new to the league, they all have the talent and athleticism to provide what the Bills have been seeking for defensively, it’s just a matter of when. Last year, the Bills defense ranked 14th overall in the league; this year, they have the potential to be top-five, and that’s due in large part to a very well-executed draft that addressed the most vulnerable areas of their defensive unit (ESPN).

Offensively, the Bills didn’t need to do much outside of pad their overall depth and replace the deep threat hole John Brown left behind. Well, lo and behold, they did just that. Signing Emmanuel Sanders over the offseason, a savvy veteran presence that brings tremendous downfield speed, the Bills also drafted Marquez Stevenson out of Houston, a lighting quick receiver that is downright lethal after the catch and brings big-play potential every time the ball is thrown his way. Additionally, the Bills also went ahead and drafted two bright offensive tackles in Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle, providing a strong and young insurance policy in case Daryl Williams or Dion Dawkins deal with any injury setbacks. Though there’s a good chance both of these rookies won’t see a whole lot of starting reps this season, a deep offensive line is vital for the Bills’ long-term success, and both of these tackles possess encouraging potential.

Outside of these minor changes, the Bills offense is just about as dangerous as any other in the league and has everything it needs to replicate their success from last year. With Josh Allen getting better every season, to Zach Moss and Devon Singletary forming a complimenting, one-two punch out of the backfield, to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley leading the charge of a strong group of receivers, this Bills offense is so complete with not only star talent and excellent role players but also has the close-knit chemistry that an offense needs in order to succeed at the highest level.

When all is said and done, the Bills did just about everything they could to address their greatest concerns on both sides of the ball and met all of those expectations wholeheartedly. With their defense looking much stronger than last year, the Bills have a serious chance at ending their Super Bowl drought this season by not only overwhelming their opponents with their offensive resiliency but by also stifling and shutting them defensively as well. Beating out Mahomes and the Chiefs still remains to be the greatest test the Bills face down the line. But if there’s any team in the AFC that could do so this season, it’s no one else but the Buffalo Bills.

New York Jets Record Predictions for the 2020 season

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

We are hours away from New York Jets football. In honor of the season, I have decided to give my official game by game predictions for the Jets season.  I will mark each game with a win or a loss prediction and then, at the end, give my final thoughts on how I predict they finish for the 2020-21 NFL Season.

Week 1: vs. Bills

Then Jets kick off the season in Orchard Park. With Josh Allen gaining new toys this offseason, and Sam Darnold gaining coal, I expect Allen to have success early. Especially after locking down Tre White, this Bills team is riding high, so I’ll say they probably ride out with a W.

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 2: vs. 49ers

The 49ers have one of the best defensive lines in all of football. You can rebuild any offensive line, but it will be hard for this new one to stop the wrecking crew that San Fran brings. I don’t expect a big offensive game, so the defensive game favors the 49ers immensely.

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 3: at Colts

The Colts have had an overrated offseason. The defense will take a big step this year, but the offense is not where it needs to be. Pittman and Campbell will have success at some point, but not with Rivers throwing a medicine ball-style pass time and time again. I think the Jets have the edge here.

PREDICTION: WIN

Week 4: vs. Broncos

A few weeks ago, I would have predicted Denver outright. Now, Von Miller is out, and Courtland Sutton is struggling to stay healthy. Without two of their biggest weapons on both sides of the ball, Denver may have a tough day. 

PREDICTION: WIN

Week 5: vs. Cardinals

The Arizona offense is next level. Kingsbury is an underrated leader as a coach, and with all that talent, I expect them to steamroll the Jets.

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 6: at Chargers

The Chargers will toll in mediocrity this year. Tyrod Taylor is nearly a place holder, and it’s going to take a little for Herbert to be up to par. Tyrod will play well, but I’m going with Gang Green.

PREDICTION: WIN

Week 7: vs. Bills

The Bills sweep the Jets in the season series. The Bills may have some hiccups, but particularly against the Fins and Jets, I expect them to play really good football.

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 8: at Chiefs

Do I even need to explain this one? 

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 9: vs. Patriots

Cam Newton has not played too well against Gregg Williams led defenses in the past, and I don’t expect that to let up any time soon. The Jets win a close one against the Pats.

PREDICTION: WIN

Week 10: at Dolphins

Coming off a surprise win, I expect the juices to be flowing, and if the Jets can’t at least win one of the two games, they will be in for a tough AFC East record.

PREDICTION: WIN

Week 11: Bye

Week 12: vs. Dolphins

Coming off a bye, expect Too to debut if he isn’t already. This should be the game a good coach wins, and that’s where Flores outshines Gase.

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 13: vs. Raiders

The Raiders are a year out from contention. This next offseason needs to be a big one for both the Jets and Vegas to take steps forward. For now, though, the Jets are just a smidge better.

PREDICTION: WIN

Week 14: at Seahawks

The Hawks are my team to watch in the Super Bowl. I expect wild card type noise from Seattle and a deep run, the likes of which the Jets can’t keep up with. 

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 15: at Rams

The Rams offense is mediocre, but their defense is top-notch. With two of the best in the game, the Rams defense will give Sam nightmares all day long.

PREDICTION: LOSS

Week 16: vs. Browns

Odell likes some weird things, but those won’t help his relationship with Baker. Baker needs to take a big jump, or else the Browns could move on. I think that the Jets’ new brass is devoted to Sam, unlike the Browns to Baker, so I’ll roll with Gang Green to win this one.

PREDICTION: WIN

Week 17: at Patriots

I firmly expect the Pats to be in the playoffs by this point, so this should be a light day for the Pats, which could skew the outcome of this contest.

PREDICTION: WIN

Final record: 8-8

Middle of the road seasons never hurt anyone except the Jets fanbase. This would be significant growth, though, and set the Jets up nicely for a 2021 run at the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills Dion Dawkins “Shnow”nates His Time For Great Causes

Dion Dawkins, NFL

Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins may call himself “Shnow”, a catchphrase coined by him to stand out from the rest, but he could not be any warmer!

Being kind and making a difference in the lives of others is something Dawkins loves to do.  He surprised kids at Grice Middle School and chatted with them. To honor those that serve our country, Dawkins spent the day with over 100 veterans and showed his gratitude and appreciation for their service.  When the Thanksgiving holiday rolled around, Dawkins served food along with his teammates, dedicating his time to ensuring that those in need have a hot meal.  One cause that he is passionate about is the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which he often visits to spend time with them and help promote adoption.

Often times, you can find him visiting with children and handing out toys and other goodies, at New York’s Oishei Children’s Hospital which focuses on pediatric, neonatal, perinatal, and obstetrical care.  One particularly memorable and sweet visit involved Dawkins teaming up with some very special members of the hit movie “Frozen”.  The kids were absolutely elated and Dawkins was just as happy to see smiles adorn their precious faces.  When the Coronavirus prevented him from visiting patients in person, Dawkins decided to do a virtual visit with Finley a young pediatric patient.  Dawkins was thrilled to see the joy on Finley’s face as he opened presents and basked in the joy of the day!  Dawkins also sells Shnow merchandise and gear at https://26shirts.com/collections/shnow-gear with proceeds from sales benefiting pediatric cancer.

To promote change so desperately needed, Dawkins penned a beautifully articulated message about how we as a collective whole must fix the wrongs and ills plaguing African Americans brought on by society and then work towards figuring out how we can come together and love and accept one another unconditionally.  This message speaks volumes and is something we all MUST enact in our lives.  Dawkins is trying to make a positive impact in the world for all!

Dawkins is always “shnow”nating his time and helping others and that is truly commendable.  He is a game-changer and uses his platform so wonderfully to work to amend issues and problems bedeviling America!  There truly is “shnow”one like Dion Dawkins!

Report: New York Jets to face off against Buffalo Bills in week 1

New York Jets, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

As the NFL prepares to release the official schedule this evening, Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News has now leaked the New York Jets‘ first opponents. The betting favorites to win the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills will be hosting the Green & White in week 1.

The Jets will visit Orchard Park after facing the Bills in Week 1 & 17 of last season. They’re reportedly slated to play at 1 PM to kick off the season. Although there were initial reports that the NFL would structure the season with AFC vs NFC games for the first four weeks to kick off the season, they’ve now shown that’s not the case, at least for two AFC East teams.

Breaking Down The Matchup

A brief look at the Bills roster shows you how talented they are. Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have built an excellent squad of high character guys in Buffalo. They’ve used lots of resources to build through the trenches, just like Joe Douglas has done for the Jets. The difference between the teams to me is in the coaching staff(s). The Jets are still looking to build an identity under second-year coach Adam Gase. The Bills have constructed that identity under McDermott and now been to the playoffs twice under his guidance. As Josh Allen continues to develop and the team added pieces like Stefon Diggs, Josh Norman, and AJ Epenesa to an already talented team, they look primed to contend for the AFC East title.

As for the Jets, although they’ve had a great offseason, the team has one of the hardest schedules in football and is facing a lot of pressure. There’s real skepticism about Adam Gase, and if he’s the right guy to lead this team, if he wins this year and shows he can win with this team, he’ll keep his job, but if he does not prove that he can lead this team to wins, the Jets will be looking for another coach. The Jets QB 1 also faces pressure. As his third year approaches, Darnold has shown flashes of brilliance. When he’s not hurt, the Jets have also been a productive offensive team. If he can stay healthy and produce, he will prove he’s the true franchise QB, but another average or slightly above average season could lead fans to question his ability to lead this team.

Both teams are young with loads of potential, and with pressure to win on both sides of the ball, week 1 can’t get here soon enough.