Buffalo Bills: Is this team for real?

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown /

After a stunning upset win in Atlanta, the Buffalo Bills moved to 3-1, but is it still too early to call them a genuine playoff contender?

Heading into the 2017 campaign, If you had said the Buffalo Bills would be 3-1 after four weeks, people would have laughed at you. And if you said one of the wins would come against a Super Bowl team from last season, those same people might have given you a concerned look and nervously reached for the phone, to call a local psychiatrist.

Well, guess what? The Bills are 3-1 and coming off a stunning 23-17 upset victory over an Atlanta Falcons team that really should be embarking upon a championship defense.

Coming just one week after beating the Denver Broncos, who themselves actually did win a Super Bowl just two season ago, Buffalo Bills fans are pinching themselves in disbelief. However, you also know they’re not quite ready to believe in this team just yet, which is entirely understandable, given the number of promising starts which have faded into obscurity during the 17-year playoff drought.

However, it still seems worth asking if this team is for real? In that respect, it is likely still too early to tell, but at least the signs are promising.

Consider that the Bills have found a way to win games against good teams, without a strong output from their running game, specifically LeSean McCoy. In fairness to McCoy and the ground attack, opponents are keying on stopping a unit which was the best in the NFL during the last two seasons.

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However, it doesn’t change the fact Tyrod Taylor has taken the offense on his shoulders. While he may not be putting up Peyton Manning-esque numbers — and to be fair, who does — he’s playing smart football and doing whatever it takes to move the team down the field and score points.

Yes, the offense is still a work in progress, but at least it’s headed in the right direction. In any event, it doesn’t have to be a dynamic unit, when you consider how effective the defense has been so far this season.

Pending the Week 4 Monday night game, it’s telling that the Buffalo Bills are first in the NFL in average points allowed. In addition, they are third in pass defenses and fifth in average yards per play.

The team is playing smart, error-free football and a lot of the credit has to go to head coach Sean McDermott. For all intents and purposes, he’s the anti-Rex Ryan.

Certainly, the players seem to have bought in. Consider the comments of defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, when speaking to NewYorkState.com’s Matthew Fairburn:

"“To be honest with this team, we attribute our success to preparation,” said Worthy. “I think we prepare a lot differently. Coach McDermott keeps us on our toes in team meetings. He’ll call you out in team meetings and ask a random question about the offense. You have to know the situation and know what the offense is thinking. He just tries to make the game a little slower for us.”"

Of course, none of this changes the fact it is still early in the season. There is a long way to go, before people will be convinced this is a Buffalo Bills team capable of ending the longest postseason drought in the NFL.

For now though, the team and fans should at least be allowed to enjoy the moment. And if they happen to continue defying the odds over the next seven games, the Dec. 3 meeting with the New England Patriots will be one of the most anticipated home games since the glory days of the 90s.

Next: LeSean McCoy set for a special season?

What was your main takeaway from the win in Atlanta? Does this prove the Buffalo Bills are a genuine playoff contender, or do you remain unconvinced? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.