The Buffalo Bills are licking their wounds heading into Week 11, coming off of back-to-back losses to the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. They now get used to the most unusual game as they travel to Detroit to “host” the Cleveland Browns. The 3-6 Browns have also stumbled of late, losing five of their last six games, including a 39-17 loss in their last outing down in Miami. Here are the top five things I believe Buffalo needs to do to bring another win back to Orchard Park… whenever that is.
Allen, not Alien
Josh Allen needs to get back to the player that was far and away the MVP favorite just a few weeks ago. The one that was near the top of the NFL in TD/INT ratio, total yards, completion percentage, and basically all QB stats. That guy has taken a back seat the last few weeks to the Josh Allen we came to know in 2018 and parts of 2019. The one that tries to win games all by himself and has boneheaded turnovers that cost his team the win.
Allen has six interceptions in the last three weeks alone. Those turnovers are paired with costly fumbles, including the one that handed the game back to Minnesota on Sunday.
I fully believe the wild stallion nature of Josh Allen is what makes his highs extremely special, but he needs to learn to reign in that mustang while still keeping the throttle to the floor.
Would WR2 Please Stand Up
I admit I was leading the charge in saying Gabe Davis was going to be a monster WR2 this season. I even traded for him in several dynasty leagues. That potential hasn’t turned into production quite yet.
Davis has produced just 24 receptions in eight games with 544 yards and five touchdowns. There are no excuses for Davis not to ball out this week. First, the game is being played indoors and on a fast trick. Second, the Browns’ secondary is banged up. If Davis can’t show out under these prime circumstances, it is time for even the most hardened fans to start to re-evaluate.
When the Bills reacquired safety Dean Marlowe from Atlanta at the trade deadline we all thought he was plug-and-play in the secondary with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer out. That didn’t come to fruition as he played just one snap in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings. With the depleted safety group still an issue Marlowe must see more snaps against a Browns team that does feature a pair of solid wide receivers in Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
The Browns’ number one offensive weapon is running back Nick Chubb. The bruising back is currently third in the NFL in rushing yards at 673, just 31 yards off the league leader’s pace. His nine rushing touchdowns are the most in football, two clear of second place. The scariest thing about these numbers is he does all of this while sharing some of the load with fellow headache for defenses Kareem Hunt. To make matters worse, the Bills’ only real weakness on defense is stopping the run. The 4.5 yards per rush allowed ranks 14th in the league, and Buffalo is allowing just under one rushing TD per game. The Browns will almost certainly try to establish Chubb, and the Bills will have to do their best to slow him down.
All Gas, No Brakes
I have no idea what the Bills have been doing in the second half since the bye, but it has been ugly. In those three games, they have been outscored by the Packers 10-3, Jets 10-3, and the Vikings 20-6 in the third and fourth quarters (or overtime). I don’t need to tell you, but that isn’t good enough and the Bills have gone just 1-2 in those contests. Through the first five weeks of the season, the Bills had outscored opponents 70-7 in the second half of games. Whatever secret sauce Ken Dorsey was using early on, he needs to find again. Part of this is the aforementioned issues with Josh Allen, but the combo must reclaim the second-half scoring they once had if this team is going to continue to dream about playing in February.