Buffalo currently owns the 25th pick in the NFL Draft this Thursday night. General manager Brandon Beane has an opportunity to add an impact player to an already loaded roster. With very few positions of need, many expect cornerback or even running back to be the pick. Keeping in mind some team tendencies, let’s take a look at the top five players I would expect to see the Buffalo Bills draft.
Kyler Gordon CB Washington
Kyler Gordon is an athletic freak at cornerback who posted a Relative Athletic Score of 9.69. His agility and explosiveness scores are particularly impressive. Washington has a long history of preparing quality defensive backs for the league, and Gordon is no exception. He has excellent zone coverage traits and is a strong, willing tackler against the run. For my money, I expect Gordon to be the pick at 25.
Daxton Hill DB Michigan
Daxton Hill is a versatile defensive back who I wouldn’t be surprised to see go in the mid-to-late teens. He played safety for Michigan, but could play any secondary position at a high level. His versatility would be a huge asset to the Bills, as he could fill the CB2 role in the short term and also become the long-term Jordan Poyer replacement if we are unable to agree on an extension. He is an exceptional athlete and would bring elite speed to the Bills secondary.
Zion Johnson IOL Boston College
Another player who should be gone before the Bills pick, Zion Johnson has experience all over the line and projects as a plus starter on the interior. Johnson could compete immediately with Ryan Bates and then be the long-term answer at left guard after Roger Saffold’s tenure ends. Johnson began his career at Davidson and has fought to earn every opportunity. This type of background is consistent throughout the Buffalo Bills draft history.
Breece Hall RB Iowa State
I believe that Beane would be willing to take a running back at 25 if he was the top player on their board. Breece Hall is a young and explosive back who brings an entirely new element to the current RB room. He has plus ability as a pass catcher and can turn a sliver of daylight into a home run. I am generally against round one running backs, but I do love the idea of what Hall would bring to this offense.
Andrew Booth Jr. CB Clemson
On tape, Andrew Booth looks to be a special athlete and excellent all-around corner. His ball skills and aggressive tackling are exciting traits. The issue with Booth is mainly injury related. He does not have a testing profile due to multiple core injuries that cast doubt on his draft position. If the Bills feel comfortable with the medicals, he would be a slam dunk at 25.
Wildcard: Jahan Dotson WR Penn State
Jahan Dotson is an electric play-maker at wide receiver and has been compared to Emmanuel Sanders. He lacks size, but has the best hands in the class and has a shockingly large catch radius. Dotson would be a dynamic slot option and a seamless fit in the offense. If the Bills want to continue surrounding Allen with receiving options, Dotson could be a surprise pick at 25.
The outlook on the Buffalo Bills season has never been lower. After sleepwalking through the easy part of their schedule and taking some bad losses, they are 7-5. They are now 1.5 games behind New England in the AFC East title race with the rematch coming in a couple weeks. They now look to turn things around on a short week against a familiar opponent, Tom Brady. This Bills vs Buccaneers matchup has the makings of an instant classic with plenty on the line.
Many of us hoped that we would be tracking scenarios for the AFC 1-seed but now the target is just getting to the playoffs. Despite feeling like the season is over, the Bills stand a good chance of getting to the postseason. The Bills current playoff odds sit around 78% according to the NY Times playoff odds calculator.
A 3-2 record through the final 5 games elevates those odds to 88%. Winning 4 games guarantees a playoff spot. The remaining opponents are: Buccaneers, Panthers, Patriots, Falcons, Jets. This week’s Bills vs Buccaneers game is not a must-win, but a win would remove a ton of pressure.
Tom Brady Effect
There is no denying that Tom Brady owns a large plot of real estate in the Buffalo Bills’ headspace. Brady is 32-3 against Buffalo, all games occurring during his 19-year Patriots tenure. He won the Super Bowl in 2020, his first year with Tampa Bay.
Brady is now playing MVP-level football in his second season with Bruce Arians. The players won’t admit it, but this game is more “Bills against Brady” than Bills vs Buccaneers.
How to Win on Offense
The Buccaneers have an elite run defense. It is not even worth testing. Vita Vea is among the best interior defenders in the league and avoiding him would be smart. Josh Allen should throw 40 or more passes to have an optimal game plan. The rest of the defensive line is excellent at generating pressure. They have a big advantage over the Bills offensive line even if Jon Feliciano is able to return.
Allen should look to distribute the ball quickly even if it means taking short gains. On the back end, the Buccaneers are looking healthy with Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting back in action. They will play a lot of 2-high defense which has given Allen trouble this season. Linebacker Lavonte David is excellent in coverage and Devin White is a nasty run defender.
Diggs may see a lot of bracketed coverage so I would like to see Allen distribute the ball around. Featuring Gabe Davis outside would give him a physical advantage over Murphy-Bunting and could be our best opportunity for downfield shots. Cole Beasley has a big opportunity as our best zone-beater underneath. He should get double-digit targets as a run game replacement.
I would also make Zack Moss inactive and give either Isaiah McKenzie or Marquez Stevenson some designed plays on offense to spread the defense horizontally. Dawson Knox draws a tough matchup with David so it would be wise to keep him in-line to help protect Allen. The Bills should be able to move the ball but execution in the red-zone will be vital to success on Sunday.
How to Win on Defense
There is no sugar coating it, the Buccaneers offense is simply better than the Bills defense. Without Tre’ White, nobody on the team can stop Mike Evans. He is an elite receiver and routinely wins balls in perfect coverage. The key will be getting physical and giving his assignment safety help. Chris Godwin will primarily play the slot and will be Taron Johnson’s toughest matchup yet.
Fortunately, Antonio Brown is suspended for faking his vaccine card and will be replaced by a combo of Breshad Perriman and Tyler Johnson. At tight end, Rob Gronkowski is a familiar face who is still playing great football. Even running back Leonard Fournette has become a threat in the pass game.
This is a spectacular group of pass-catchers and Brady will find the open man more often than not. You can’t outright stop them, but you can limit explosives. That will be the biggest focus on defense.
Brady has also taken some risks this season and has thrown 7 interceptions in his last 5 games. The Bills need to attack the ball and try to force turnovers when the opportunities are there. As good as the skill players are, the Buccaneers offensive line is even better. They have no weak links and are among the best at limiting pressure.
Brady has been significantly worse when pressured so finding a way to get to him would be a huge help. The best matchup we have in the trenches is Ed Oliver against Alex Cappa. He can be the biggest catalyst to defensive success. The Buccaneers quietly have a top rushing attack as well and can attack a well-known weakness of the Bills defense. Greg Rousseau will have to be at his best at setting the edge in the run game to funnel things back inside.
This is a tough draw for the whole defense and points will be scored. Generating turnovers and pressuring Brady is easier said than done but could be the key to pulling off the upset.
I fully believe that the Bills have the ability to win this game. I expect plenty of offense and a competitive game down to the last snap. The Bills are 0-4 in one score games this season so they are due for positive regression at some point. However, I think they make too many mistakes to put together the perfect game that they need in this contest. My final score prediction is
Bills 27 Buccaneers 31
Let’s hope for Allen to step up and lead the team to a win but remember not to lose our heads if we drop this one. The playoffs are within reach either way. Regardless, this Bills vs Buccaneers matchup will be must-watch football.
Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts ran all over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Bills’ Week 11 performance was somehow more disappointing than their loss to the Jaguars. They have now failed to win back-to-back games since early October.
The AFC East is currently led by the Patriots, who are playing some of the best football in the league. The sky is falling in Buffalo. Whatever has changed in Buffalo, there is still time to overcome it and be the team we all know and expect them to be.
Bills Week 11 Recap – The Good
Red Zone Offense
The Bills were perfect in their two red zone possessions with both touchdowns going to Stefon Diggs. This had been a weak point this season, but that was not the case in the Bills’ Week 11 game.
Allen hit Diggs on a 6-yard out to cut the Colts lead down to seven in the early second quarter. They connected again for a 9-yard score when the game was well out of reach in the early fourth quarter. Diggs is clearly still at the top of his game and deserves many more schemed looks as part of the natural game script.
It is hard to find positives after such a disheartening performance, but at least there were no injuries. I agree with McDermott’s decision to pull his starters when it was clear things were over. On a short week, rest and recovery is hard to come by and every bit helps.
Cole Beasley is limited with a rib injury, as he has been for weeks. Tremaine Edmunds was a full participant in their Monday walkthrough after missing the Bills’ Week 11 game. Unfortunately, Star Lotulelei and Spencer Brown will remain in Covid protocols and miss the Saints game.
Bills Week 11 Recap – The Bad
Allen played poorly. This is not disputable. He was not the reason they lost, but the franchise QB should be the player to step up when everything else is going wrong. Allen did not. He forced his first interception into a bad spot, but an uncalled DPI allowed the safety to make his break. He also got picked when things were already over on a bad ball that Kenny Moore volleyed up to himself.
Throughout the day, he never really looked comfortable and had no command over the offense. This has been a concerning theme throughout this season — when adversity piles up, Allen fails to step up and pull the team out of it.
Bills Week 11 Recap – The Ugly
Sean McDermott’s buzzword of choice is “culture”. The previous teams took pride in an exceptional culture where everything was earned and never given. That culture was the foundation of the organizational turnaround. Those teams were disciplined and resilient and always willing to stand up and fight in the face of adversity.
This team, however, is soft. Their culture is all about gloating when they beat up bad teams and cowering when they are punched in the mouth. They get bullied in the trenches and have no fight in them when the going gets tough.
In post game interviews of all their losses, we hear “This is not who we are”. When it happens every other week, and this deep into the season, it is exactly who you are. There is plenty of time to dig in and find that resilient culture, but right now they don’t have it.
Speaking of McDermott, he made some real bad decisions in this game. The Bills’ Week 11 game was cold, rainy, and windy. McDermott opted for two field goal attempts (57 and 49 yards) when they were down 24-7.
Needing multiple scores, knowing Taylor can run at will against you, and the weather being so bad are clear reasons to keep your offense on the field. The first attempt is excusable being an end-of-half play, but the second is inexcusable and essentially a forfeit.
The personnel management was disappointing as well. The defensive line was getting bullied and has not been great this year, but Ed Oliver had been a bright spot. Oliver only played 46% of the snaps, while Harrison Phillips and Vernon Butler both played over 60%. Run defense isn’t Oliver’s best attribute but he is certainly better than those two.
Another position with questionable management is running back. Devin Singletary has at least been serviceable this year and deserves some run. Zack Moss has been uninspiring, at best. Matt Breida has been inactive most of the season, but his impact on the offense is clear. He has burst and speed that the others lack and it showed in the past two games. He needs to be the guy going forward.
The Bills’ defense entered the game ranked top in the league without many questions. There were some skeptics based on the quality of offenses the team had faced, but nobody thought the unit was bad. The Colts exposed the unit.
Jonathan Taylor continued his potential MVP campaign gaining over 200 yards and five touchdowns. The team gave up nearly five yards per carry when they had eight or more in the box, and were expectedly even worse with light boxes. This was an all-around failure to compete against a team built to do exactly what they did on Sunday.
McKenzie has been a fun spark in his return duties this year, causing some fans to ask “Andre Roberts who”? In the Bills’ Week 11 game, however, McKenzie showed a troubling problem that has followed him throughout his career: ball security. The Colts took a 17-7 lead late in the first half. The Bills were in a perfect “double dip” position with a chance to score in the two minute drill and get the ball back at halftime.
Instead, McKenzie fumbled the kick and gave the Colts a 1-yard field to work with. Taylor punched the ball in to take a 24-7 lead. The Bills never recovered from that moment, despite decent momentum immediately before it.
The offensive line is really bad and has been really bad in all of their losses. Spencer Brown was missed and will be missed against New Orleans as well. Jon Feliciano has also been missed, and it appears unlikely that he will return by Thursday. As much as the team needs Brown, it was never the plan for him to start.
Openly admitting that the line was a weakness, Brandon Beane refused to address it in a meaningful way this offseason. His plan was to run it back with the same starting group he was dissatisfied with last season. They got lucky that their third round project tackle was good enough to start right away. This team lives and dies with the offensive line, and it is a concern that the front office has been comfortable with this weak group.
The Bills have to put this game in the past and refocus quickly. They face the Saints in the Thanksgiving night game this Thursday. New Orleans lost Sunday as well but are strong in the trenches and post a similar threat to the Colts.
The schedule ahead is grueling and these next few weeks will reveal if the Bills are contenders or potentially not even a playoff team at all. Let’s hope that the Bills’ Week 11 result was a reality check for a team we all know is capable of competing.
Check back in later this week for a full preview of the Thanksgiving game. Go Bills!
The Bills Week 9 loss in Jacksonville was by far the worst game of the Sean McDermott era. They played undisciplined, uninspired football and lost without scoring a single offensive touchdown. Buffalo racked up twice as many penalties as they had points. The final score was a very not nice 6-9 in favor of the Jaguars. The team had shown small signs of weakness and dysfunction throughout the season but it was on full display in this game. Something is rotten within the team and they must get right quickly with the division race tightening up.
Not all was bad in the Bills week 9 embarrassment. Tyler Bass was asked to kick twice and was perfect as usual. He continues to be automatic and a steady presence on an otherwise inconsistent team.
McKenzie has been all but removed from the offense but his play in the return game has been impressive. He averaged 32.2 kick return yards on his 4 chances, giving the Bills offense great starting field position. He secured a difficult fair catch on a punt as well.
The penalties were ugly and plentiful. Otherwise, the defense held strong. They held a bad Jaguars offense to 9 points and only 218 total yards. They forced a fumble and only allowed 2 conversions on 13 3rd down attempts. There were individual plays where the defense could’ve been much better but it was an overall solid performance.
Allen had a bad day. He completed 66% of his passes for 264 yards and added 50 yards on the ground. He also had 2 bad interceptions, a fumble and zero touchdowns. Allen was running for his life behind a disastrous offensive line but he certainly deserves criticism for this game. He overlooked open receivers on key plays towards the end of the game when victory was still within reach.
There is only so much an offensive coordinator can do. There is no play-call that fixes a broken offensive line. That said, he still made some questionable decisions and hasn’t found a way to jump start the offense. With players as talented as Allen, Diggs, and Beasley you should have some go-to calls to get them the ball quickly and let them work. In back to back games, he has begun late game drives with quick short passes to Diggs to manufacture offense. Why not go to that well earlier and more frequently?
This game was riddled with flags. The officiating was absolutely dreadful but not one-sided and definitely an excuse for the result. The Bills earned most of their penalties by playing undisciplined and making stupid mistakes. Multiplier players were hot-headed and got called for unnecessary roughness. This team looked frustrated that they had to be there playing that game at all. They are uncharacteristically playing very undisciplined football. McDermott needs to find a way to control this team.
The Buffalo Bills offensive line is by far the worst unit on the roster and ultimately what keeps them from being a true Super Bowl threat. That has been a constant for the team and was evident in the Bills week 9 loss. The interior got bullied by a bad Jaguars front and cannot compete against the league’s best. The tackles were also exposed by the Jaguars pass rushers. Josh Allen (DE) was the most impressive player on either side of the ball, embarrassing the Bills tackles. Things will improve when Spencer Brown returns and Daryl Williams can move back inside but interior should be overhauled.
The Jaguars have deservedly been the laughing stock of the league over the last 2 seasons. They hadn’t won a game on US soil since Week 1 of the 2020 season. They’ve had multiple embarrassing off field moments with their head coach this season. None of that mattered today. They played steady football and let the Bills embarrass themselves. Jaguars CB Shaquill Griffin spoke in post-game interviews about how the Buffalo sideline lacked energy and how that gave his team the feeling that they deserved to win. They wanted it more.
This is a stain on the Bills organization that will be very hard to remove. Losses this ugly can have a domino effect on teams. It will be tough work for Buffalo to shake off what happened in Jacksonville.
The Bills travel to New Jersey next week to take on the 2-6 Jets in a divisional matchup. What looked like a guaranteed win is now a pivotal game to stay atop the AFC East. The Jets defensive front is among the best in the league and the Bills will need to figure out a solution or risk another embarrassing defeat. Sean McDermott has built a culture of discipline and resilience in his time with the team. Let’s hope this Bills week 9 loss serves as a wakeup call and they get back to their winning ways.
The Bills asserted their dominance in the AFC with an impressive performances against Mahomes and the Chiefs
How about these Buffalo Bills!?! Everyone had this Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 matchup circled on their calendars, and it delivered in a BIG way. Josh Allen vs Patrick Mahomes: Round 3 was a statement game for Buffalo. Allen played his best game of the season, scoring 4 touchdowns in a rainstorm to lead the Bills to a 38-20 victory.
The defense proved that they could be just as good against Mahomes as against their previous weaker opponents. There was no stopping Buffalo on Sunday night despite an hour-long weather delay and some downright awful officiating. Super Bowls aren’t won in October, but this game put the Bills in the driver’s seat to be the 1 seed in the AFC.
Key Takeaways from Bills vs Chiefs
Allen finally met the moment and delivered an incredible performance in Kansas City. He marched down the field and scored a rushing touchdown on the first drive, then added 3 more through the air. He completed 15 passes for 315 yards, along with 8 rushes for 61 yards, excluding kneel-downs.
Despite the wind and rain, Allen was deadly with the deep ball. He had a perfect passer rating on throws more than 20 yards downfield, going 5/6 for 213 yards and touchdowns to Emmanuel Sanders and Dawon Knox. His 61-yarder to Stefon Diggs should have been a touchdown, too, but Diggs lost track of the safety and got caught celebrating.
His rushing output was vital to keep the offense moving. Of his 8 carries, 5 resulted in a first down or touchdown. When Josh Allen plays at this level, the Bills are unstoppable.
Dawson freaking Knox. The Bills drafted Knox as a long-term athletic project out of Ole Miss back in 2019. He showed flashes over his first two years but had a lot of growing pains too. Now he is the team’s leading touchdown scorer and one of Josh Allen’s favorite targets. He is one of the best athletes in the league at tight end and showed that on his 53-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
Knox’s breakout is the biggest driver of the Bills’ offensive success this season. His presence prevents defenses from loading up on coverage players as Pittsburgh did. Keeping him on the field allows the run game and pass protection to flourish and maintains the threat of explosive pass offense.
Sanders has been an absolute stud on the field this season. He has 329 yards and 4 touchdowns so far. His ability to uncover in the intermediate range is a perfect match for Allen’s biggest area of strength. Most importantly with Sanders, his maturity and experience has lifted the Bills locker room. The team was able to stay level-headed through the early lead and uncomfortable weather delay. Sanders was surely a big part of that mental strength.
This was a thoroughly dominant performance from the whole defensive unit. The Bills held the Chiefs to their lowest scoring output this season — without their best player, Matt Milano — and forced 4 turnovers. Patrick Mahomes completed 33 passes but only gained 272 yards through the air. Star weapons Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce could not make an impact for the majority of the game.
Jerry Hughes had 9 pressures, and rookie Greg Rousseau was a force in the run and pass game. Rousseau had a pivotal red-zone interception in which he used his length to tip a Mahomes pass to himself. Jordan Poyer tallied two pass breakups, and Micah Hyde intercepted a Tyreek Hill drop which he returned for a touchdown.
Newly-extended Taron Johnson led the team with 12 tackles and had a pass breakup as well. AJ Klein and Siran Neal filled in for Milano and performed admirably. The Bills didn’t blitz Mahomes once but still generated pressure and kept Mahomes flustered. This season, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has been on an absolute tear, and Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 is just his latest masterpiece.
Punter Matt Haack has been on the wrong side of average this season. He had one good punt but failed to flip the field in his other opportunities. Isaiah McKenzie fumbled a return attempt but luckily was able to jump back on the ball. The coverage unit allowed over 30 yards per return on kickoffs. Kicker Tyler Bass was a bright spot, but the unit was otherwise disappointing.
Nothing came back to bite us, but the Bills left some points on the board early. After their first touchdown drive, the kick coverage unit forced a turnover. The offense took over in field goal range but moved backward and ultimately had to punt. Later in the first half, Stefon Diggs lost sight of the defender and got tackled celebrating on his deep reception. The offense stalled and kicked a field goal. Those are the kind of missed opportunities that usually lead to a loss against the Chiefs.
Buffalo has played back-to-back games in the pouring rain. They faced an hour-long rain delay in the Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 matchup on Sunday night. Nobody can control the weather, but the Bills can control if their stadium has a dome. Bad weather is an equalizer, so it’s not an advantage when we are the better team.
The refs in this game thought they were the stars of the night. In total, this game saw 17 accepted penalties for 158 yards. The flags disproportionately hurt the Bills on Sunday night. There were multiple phantom holding penalties on our offensive line and defensive backs.
More egregious holds were routinely ignored when committed by Kansas City. Ed Oliver was called for roughing the passer on a critical fourth-down stop by the defense, but he was pushed by a Chiefs’ lineman directly into the legs of Mahomes. The Chiefs used the gift to score a touchdown on that drive. The officials called a hold on Mitch Morse on a Josh Allen first down run when they were trying to create a dagger drive to put the game out of reach. Video replay showed that Morse was not even engaged with any defenders on the play.
Everyone will point to a roughing the passer on Frank Clark the following play that negated a Josh Allen interception. He picked up Allen and drove him to the ground with all his body weight. It’s the correct call of a dumb rule, and if you want to nitpick that call, you have to acknowledge that the previous incorrect holding is the only reason that play ever happened.
The Bills head to Nashville to take on the 3-2 Titans on Monday Night Football next week. The extra rest will be valuable after the emotional, extended Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 game. The Titans have been pretty disappointing this year, even dropping a game to the Jets. The Bills should take care of business without too much trouble, but they certainly won’t overlook this game.
Check back in later this week for the preview. Go Bills!
One Last Note
Some fans are starting to question how quiet Cole Beasley has been on the field the past two weeks. He also deactivated his Twitter after Sunday night which only increased the speculation. There is no reason to read into these things. Buffalo is all about catering the game plan to the opponent. The opportunities haven’t been there for Beasley lately, but he is still a valuable asset and his number will be called many more times this season.
As for Twitter, Beasley said last year that getting rid of social media allowed him to focus on the game and elevate his play. He has been hyper-focused on the vaccine issue and was frequently voicing his opinion on Twitter and fighting with people in the comments. He likely deactivated so that he can avoid the distraction and refocus on football. No need to panic just yet.
Once again, Go Bills!
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