The Buffalo Bills are coming off a 35-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins and are currently -7.5 point favorites heading into their week three matchup against the Washington Football Team. The Miami Dolphins couldn’t get right last Sunday. Still, more importantly, the Bills’ defensive execution was nearly flawless, forcing three turnovers and sacking Miami quarterbacks six times while only allowing 216 total yards. In their loss to the Steelers, Pittsburgh only accumulated 252 total yards. While the Bills outgained the Steelers on the stat sheet, the missed opportunities offensively ultimately led to a win for Pittsburgh. That’ll be the narrative heading into this game for each team, one side of the football that will be trying to get right; Washington’s defense and Buffalo’s offense.
Let’s get into three matchups to watch between Washington and Buffalo.
OC Scott Turner vs. DC Leslie Frazier
Scott Turner is coming off of an excellent game, specifically in his ability to have a rhythmic feel for his offense and utilizing plays designed for his proven playmakers. Wideout Terry McLaurin had one of his best games in Washington against the Giants. Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and his players could do no wrong against the Miami Dolphins and did well against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The key with Frazier has been his pre-snap looks; he loves to show a six or seven-man front and forces Washington and other opposing offenses to find the five or six that he will send.
Back to this Bills game - - same look, this time sent 6 men. pic.twitter.com/fmXjg7AfGf— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) September 23, 2021
For Turner, the preparation for countering this look is essential for him and quarterback Taylor Heinicke. However, what it will ultimately come down to for Turner will be how balanced he is against Buffalo and how he utilizes his playmakers versus an attack-style defense. How many steps does he want Taylor to drop on Sunday? Can he get McLaurin or receiver Dyami Brown against Buffalo’s lesser-cornerbacks or linebackers? Also, will Turner try to test Buffalo’s run defense. They’re ranked seventh, but were not tested against the Steelers or Dolphins.
WR Dyami Brown vs. CB Tra’Davious White
In yesterday’s presser, Head Coach Ron Rivera specifically called out Brown and the issues he faced in press-man coverage against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Well, I will say this, against the Chargers, [WR] Dyami [Brown] got pressed a lot, and it was kind of a little bit of an awakening for him at first, he said. But once he got used to it, he understood just how important it is to get off clean and win at the line of scrimmage. So it is something that we do talk about, it’s something that they do work on as far as movement as far as when a guy lines up over the top and trying to release and get downfield as quickly as possible. And the emphasis is getting off as clean as you can to get into your route so you can get into the combinations that you need to be.” - Ron Rivera on preparing the wide receivers for the press-man coverage.
Brown has an opportunity against an outstanding Buffalo secondary to be a key cog in a potential Washington upset. I don’t expect Buffalo to use star cornerback Tra’Davious White in “star coverage” where he’s traveling with Terry McLaurin, so Brown versus White will be a thing quite a few times. Brown has to expect tight coverage, and he has to find ways to win quickly and get over the top to get the Bills defense to respect Washington’s ability to threaten them downfield.
WFT’s Defensive Line vs. Buffalo’s Offensive Line
There’s no doubt that the Bills’ offense goes as far as quarterback Josh Allen goes. Fortunately for Washington, Allen hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts in 2021, which has some Bills fans worried about his regression and how bad could it get.
The key for Washington negating Allen’s effectiveness in this game is pressure. While Allen is much more of a presence in the run game for Buffalo than quarterback Daniel Jones is for the New York Giants, Allen is still comfortable as a pocket passer. Sacks are always important, but constant pressure against Allen has shown its effectiveness through his accuracy and overall decision-making. Pressure does not strictly mean blitzes; Washington must find a way to get home using their defensive line because Allen is good against the blitz. Whether it is a four-man front or five-man, this game ultimately depends on how many times the pass-rush got to Allen.
What are your top matchups going into Washington vs. Buffalo? And does Washington pull off the upset?