To steal a line from the great American poet Vin Diesel, “Ask any racer (team). Any real racer (team). It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.” That is how the Buffalo Bills should look at their 14-9 win over the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. It wasn’t pretty at all; at times it was ugly and dare I say, *whispers* embarrassing, but when you woke up on Monday, the Bills were 4-2 after a victory. Before we turn the page on this win, let’s look back at five “would you believe me if I said…” stats coming out of Week 6.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… The Bills should have lost?
If you watched the game on Sunday, your snap reaction is “YES! Duh, Greg!” Let me explain a little bit further than that. The Bills lost the toxic differential five to one. If you’re unaware, it is any play of 25+ yards plus takeaways. Buffalo lost the turnover battle two to zero and lost the explosive play count three to one. That is a game you should not win. Add to that the fact the Bills were out-gained by the Giants 317-297 and lost the turnover battle two to zero. According to WIVB’s Nick Veronica, since 2020, NFL teams are 4-112 when failing to out-gain their opponent and losing the turnover margin by two. ESPN Stats and Info said this is the Bills’ first win after being held scoreless through three quarters since a Week 15 win at Philly back in 1993.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… The Bills offense is still really good?
Despite everything laid out above, Buffalo still has one of the best offenses in the NFL. As of writing this, the Bills are third in points per game at 28.8, which only trails the Dolphins (who the Bills beat by 28) and the 49ers. Buffalo ranks third in FTN Network’s offensive DVOA, again behind Miami and San Fransisco. They’re fourth in Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) offensive grade with a 79.3, again behind the 49ers, Dolphins, and Lions.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… The Bills defense is still really good?
Buffalo is currently allowing the third-fewest points per game at 14.8, which is .3 points per game behind the top-ranked 49ers. They rank fourth in defensive DVOA behind the Browns, Ravens, and Lions. They’re ninth in PFF’s defensive grade at 74.7. So, there are several ways to judge the Buffalo defense, but the numbers say it is still an elite unit.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… Diggs had a target on his back?
The national media, specifically ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, spent the entire offseason digging for reasons to bash Stefon Diggs and the Bills. It was weird! I know it was a slow time for sports media. I’ve been a member of that not so famed fraternity since 2004, I get it, but this was overboard. I’m going off on a tangent, so let’s get back on track. Diggs was targeted 16 times by Josh Allen on Sunday night. The All-Pro WR brought in ten receptions for 100 yards. The 16 pass attempts going his way tied for the most he has ever had with the Bills and only trail the 18 he received in a Vikings loss to the Bears, back in 2018.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… The Bills are being rewarded for sticking with AJ Epenesa?
I have no problem calling myself out for my misses. I was on the “trade Epenesa for a pick once Von is healthy” train. I probably tweeted a poll during camp on “Would you take a mid-round pick for him?” It has paid off for Beane and co. that they stuck with their former second-round pick. His four sacks are tied for 17th most in the league. He is currently 20th overall, among all humans, in PFF’s pass rush win rate at 16.5%. His pass rush grade, per PFF, is 12th among EDGE best at 86.3. He also leads all defensive ends with five batted balls.