The Buffalo Bills went down to Miami in Week 3 and got burnt by the Sunshine state both literally and figuratively as they fell to the Dolphins, 21-19. The loss is their first on the season, and they look to right the ship when they visit Baltimore on Sunday. Here are five storylines to keep an eye on once things kick off in Maryland.
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Buffalo Bounce Back
The Bills have done a great job bouncing back after a loss during Josh Allen’s career. The Wyoming product has guided Buffalo to a 15-5 record after a setback. That number is even more impressive since the start of 2021, where they’re 5-1 after an “L,” and some of those wins have been by a wide margin. During that span, the Bills have topped Miami 35-0, the Jets 45-17, and Carolina 31-14. Keeping that trend going in Baltimore would not only push Buffalo to 3-1 on the year but could be bigger later in the season when we are looking at playoff seeding. Right now the Bills and Ravens are two of six teams tied at 2-1 in the AFC, sitting a game back of Miami.
As things sit, the Bills’ Josh Allen and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson are first and second in MVP betting odds regardless of what sportsbook you like to donate your money to. The numbers for the two quarterbacks explain why the money is pouring in for them to win the award. Allen leads the NFL in passing at 1,014 yards with nine touchdowns which only trails the ten put up by Jackson. Lamar has thrown for 749 yards and added 243 more on the ground with another pair of touchdowns. As for Allen’s rushing stats, they aren’t too shabby, adding 113 rushing yards and another TD. While the two will never be on the field at the same time, their respective defenses could help give them a leg up in the MVP race by slowing down the opposing QB in this showdown.
It might be more applicable to call that unit for the Bills the THIRDary or FOUTHary with how many injuries Buffalo has dealt with in the back four over the last week or so. Against Miami, the Bills used Jaquan Johnson, Damar Hamlin, Taron Johnson, and Kaiir Elam on 100 percent of the defensive snaps. Not exactly how you would plan Week 3 to go down. To add insult to injury, rookie corner Christian Benford suffered a hand injury during the game. Heading into Week 4, Dane Jackson, Cam Lewis, Jordan Poyer, as well as Benford are on the injury report. This goes along with us knowing that Tre White and Micah Hyde won’t be suiting up. The Bills did make one move so far to fill all these voids, and that is signing former All-Pro corner Xavier Rhodes. We’ve known the Bills to be the model of health the last few years, but the sooner the injury bug gets exterminated, the better for Buffalo.
Health and Wellness
You read all about the secondary in the above paragraph, but it isn’t limited to just the corners and safeties. At the time of writing this, the Bills’ injury report listed fifteen players on it. Those mentioned above as well as Ryan Bates, Gabe Davis, Dion Dawkins, Dawson Knox, Jake Kumerow, Von Miller (vet rest), Mitch Morse, Justin Murray, Ed Oliver, Jordan Phillips, and Rodger Saffold (vet rest), round out the Bills’ injury report. Thankfully Morse and Saffold were listed at vet rest, but the bumps and bruises on offense are almost as crazy as those in the defensive backfield. We’d all agree you’d much rather be in top shape in week 17 than Week 4, but my goodness, this is insane!
Running of the Bills
The Bills’ running game has been downright awful so far in 2022. As I mentioned in my “unbelievable stats” piece for this week, the Bills’ run blocking grade is currently 40.6, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). That is the worst in the NFL by nearly eight points behind the Seattle Seahawks. The Buffalo backfield duo’s rushing numbers tell the story. Currently, Devin Singletary sits in 48th (80 yards) and Zack Moss 52nd (78 yards) in rushing yards this season. ESPN’s run block win rate isn’t favorable either, the Bills sitting last in the league with a win percentage of just 62%. That is again just behind Seattle’s 66% win rate. The Bills are currently tied for 23rd in rushing touchdowns with just one on the year. Sadly, it wasn’t by a running back, but by the aforementioned MVP candidate. I could go on and on, but you get the picture of how poor this rushing attack has been for Buffalo through three weeks.