Despite the Buffalo Bills still being relatively fresh off their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, the team has already shifted its focus to the offseason and the 2021 campaign set to begin in September.
However, the 2020 season for the Bills was certainly nothing to just glance over in Orchard Park.
The Bills finished the season with a 13-3 regular season record, which tied a franchise-best mark, and managed to win the team's first AFC East title since the 1995 season. In the playoffs, the Bills were able to earn two home playoff games as the No. 2 seed in the AFC, and ended up making their first appearance in the AFC title game since the 1993 season.
As for some individual achievements, Josh Allen had, arguably, the biggest jump in production from Year 2 to Year 3 that any quarterback has had in a very long time. He finished his 2020 season setting single-season franchise records in passing yards (4,544), completions (396), completion percentage (69.2%), passing touchdowns (37) and total touchdowns (46).
Allen's impressive numbers may come up just short in terms of earning the NFL's Most Valuable Player honor, but it's enough to put the league on notice after many people doubted his capabilities as a quarterback in the NFL from Day 1.
Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs also impressed in his first season with the Bills, setting single-season franchise records in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535). He also became the first Bills wide receiver to lead the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards, and he did it all in the same season.
Many around the NFL see the Bills as one of the next up-and-coming franchises in the NFL, but their biggest hurdle, at this point, remains the Chiefs and dethroning them of the top spot in the AFC.
ESPN NFL analyst, and long-time NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is one of those who believe the future in Buffalo is looking bright. He joined Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Wednesday to talk the Bills and the landscape of their 2021 season in the AFC East.
Here is some of what he had to say:
Hasselbeck on what changes the Bills need to make next season:
"I don't think they need much. I think they just need to do it when it counts. I don't think you look at [the AFC Championship Game] and say, 'Oh wow, the Bills need some more stuff.' I don't see that. I think they just need to have one of their best days, and they didn't have their best days when they played the Chiefs this year. ... This was a team that I thought, maybe halfway through the season, when everyone was getting healthy, I thought, 'Man, the Buffalo Bills - I could see them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy this year. Absolutely could see that.' They were lights out. For whatever reason, at the end of the year against Kansas City, they just didn't play like themselves... I think they're in the mix right now for next year."
"To me, I think the biggest issue is consistent play in these matchups against a team like the Chiefs."
Hasselbeck on the importance of Buffalo's continuity heading into 2021:
"The ability to keep your coordinators, when both guys were hot, both guys were interviewing for head coaching positions; to be able keep both of those guys, I think, is a huge plus. And then you look at Buffalo... if they can win that AFC East again and maybe make people go to Buffalo to play, I think the future is bright for them."
Hasselbeck on the progression of Josh Allen:
"When you get up in that rare air, which is where he is with [Patrick] Mahomes and [Tom] Brady and [Aaron] Rodgers, you've got to do it consistently. No one cares if it's a Thursday night in a short week and you're a little bit banged up. If you're going to be in that rare air, in the top-five guys in the league at the position, you have to be a consistent, 'I don't miss open throws' and, 'My eyes are always in the right spot.'
"The coaching job and [Allen's willingness to] buying into being coached that I see out of Buffalo is as impressive of an improvement as I've probably ever seen in the NFL. From where a guy was at Wyoming to where he was this year, was just incredibly impressive. I just have a ton of respect for how much improvement there was."
Hasselbeck on the quarterback landscape of the AFC East:
"I just think the stability of the quarterback in the division is Josh Allen, and if I was Josh Allen and the Bills, I wouldn't necessarily be worried about the AFC East. I'd just be worried about the AFC. I think that's how big the difference is in teams right now."
You can listen to the entire interview below: