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How Worried Should the Buffalo Bills Be about the Washington Redskins?

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The upstart Bills look to stay near the top of the AFC playoff picture when they battle the Redskins in Orchard Park.

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Team: Buffalo Bills

2018 Record: 6-10 (3rd, AFC East)

2019 Record: 5-2 (2nd, AFC East)

Outlook: The Bills struggled through a 6-10 season in 2018 after qualifying for the playoffs in exciting fashion at the end of 2017.

Now in his third season, head coach Sean McDermott has the Bills playing as well as they have since the Marv Levy Era.

Prior to their 31-13 defeat at the hands of the Eagles, Buffalo had lost only once this year, a 16-10 dogfight against the unbeaten New England Patriots. Outside of that Philly game, the Bills have been one of the better defensive teams in the NFL. Second-year quarterback Josh Allen has also progressed enough to become a reasonably productive quarterback who can produce wins consistently when he’s able to lean on that stout defense.

Ageless wonder Frank Gore is somehow still averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and John Brown has emerged as a go-to wideout currently enjoying his best season as a pro, on pace for over 1,200 yards.

But the defense is the real story. Even with the loss last week, the Bills are still #3 in the league in yards allowed, and #5 in points allowed. Jordan Poyer, TreDavious White, Micah Hyde, and Levi Wallace form one of the more formidable defensive backfields in the league. Meanwhile, pass-rush specialist Jordan Phillips and old friend Lorenzo Alexander key a unit that has remained stout, even in the wake of Kyle Williams’ retirement at the end of 2018.

How Worried Should They Be?: Not too worried. I doubt many Redskins fans had the Bills game circled as one of the tougher ones on the 2019 schedule back in August. Yet, here we are.

The Bills’ defense makes them a legitimate playoff contender. They gave the Patriots their toughest game of the season by far. They’re less potent offensively, but that hasn’t mattered most weeks.

On the Redskins’ side, the team has certainly performed differently since the termination of Jay Gruden: the offense has struggled (despite a better commitment to the run), while the defense has really stepped up.

Washington failed to hold anyone below 24 points in their first five games. In the Skins’ last three games, nobody has even reached 20, despite the fact that Washington has played the mighty 49ers and Vikings during that span.

It’s nice to see the Redskins playing with some life, and, if the defense continues to play as it has the last few weeks, that gives Washington a puncher’s chance.

The problem is that the Skins’ quarterback play has declined sharply since the early part of the season. No matter how well the defense performs, if Case Keenum and/or Dwayne Haskins keep turning the ball over, Washington can’t win.

I think this game will be another knock-down, black-and-blue brawl, but the Bills probably win a low-scoring game by a touchdown. The Redskins will acquit themselves well, but slip to 1-7, nonetheless sparing us another embarrassment like the one that befell them this week. I’m referring, of course, to Trent Williams “reporting” and then, predictably, failing his physical due to . . . an uncomfortable helmet. [EDIT: To make matters worse, the root cause of which was apparently a cancer diagnosis that the team medical staff said was “minor”—six years ago—and which evidently almost killed him. Yeesh.]

The on-field product, as bad as it is, has actually become less amateurish than the off-the-field counterpart. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide if that’s an improvement over the previous status quo.

Poll

Complete this sentence: "A Redskins loss to the Bills this weekend ________________"

This poll is closed.

  • 41%
    is a foregone conclusion.
    (297 votes)
  • 8%
    won’t happen.
    (62 votes)
  • 25%
    is irrelevant - GO NATS!
    (184 votes)
  • 3%
    will make me almost as sick as that entire bag of candy corn I ate Thursday night.
    (24 votes)
  • 20%
    CAN’T THINK . . . HELMET . . . TOO TIGHT . . .
    (148 votes)
715 votes total Vote Now