It was announced that the Buffalo Bills gave a three-year, $8.5 million contract extension to defensive lineman Alan Branch. That could be the starting point to a much bigger swing upward than people think as this defense is now all healthy and starting to gel nicely. A great deal of the credit should go to the defensive coordinator Mike Pettine Jr.
Under Pettine, the Bills have had more sacks this year then any other year in their existence which is impressive since the team had excellent pass rushers via Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith and pass rushing specialist Bryce Paup to say the least. The next big player they got to buy into the system is franchised safety Jairus Byrd, and if both sides can get a long-term deal done in the offseason this defense could just keep on getting better. A lesser known player that coach Pettine lit a fire under was undersized and undrafted cornerback Nickell Robey who despite being 5-foot-7 and weighing 165 pounds has had 38 tackles, three sacks, an interception return for a touchdown, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Also without Mike Pettine, there might be no talks about the legend of Kiko Alonso who seems to be the consensus Defensive Rookie of the Year.
All in all, if the Bills keep this defensive unit together long-term and the offense catches up to their defense this team will flip the AFC East on its head, especially with an aging Tom Brady.