Raiders vs. Bills : Top 5 Storylines to Watch in NFL Week 2

09/16/2023
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We’re on to Las Vegas. No, the Buffalo Bills haven’t said that is their mantra for this week, but it’s how I am looking at Week 2 after a very disappointing 22-16 overtime loss in New Jersey on Monday Night Football. Buffalo comes into its matchup with the Raiders as an 8.5-point favorite, according to most outlets at the time of writing. The Raiders come in 1-0 after defeating division rival Denver in Week 1. This game SHOULD NOT be close, but as we learned last week, the games aren’t played on paper. Without further ado, here are my top five storylines to watch as Bills Mafia gets set for the home opener in Orchard Park.

Just Win Baby 

“Just win, baby!” is a line made famous by Al Davis, the original owner of the Oakland Raiders. It needs to be the Bills’ mindset on Sunday. Simply find a way to win. A pair of losses would be tough to start the season. Two losses to AFC teams that you should have dominated, given the circumstances, would be a huge hole dug for Buffalo. The good thing for the Bills is that their main rivals in Kansas City and Cincinnati also lost, but you don’t want to give away more games.

Allen Bounce Back

For reasons I still don’t understand, Josh Allen decided to go full hero ball on Monday. The guy that we remember from early in his career. He had four turnovers in the loss, and three of those were of the WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING variety. The Bills are 9-3 after a loss since 2020. Making it 10-3 will depend on Allen finding the fine line between being a unicorn and being the workhorse that can guide you to an expected victory.

Run Defense 

The Raiders’ Josh Jacobs only ran for 48 yards in their win Sunday, but he is still the defending rushing champ. He is a guy who will grind your defense into a fine powder before he starts to bust off some bigger runs. The Bills need to avoid that. We saw Breece Hall rip off an 83-yard run that should have been a touchdown had his teammate not celebrated prematurely. It’s only one week, but the Bills are currently last in rushing yards allowed per attempt and fourth in rushing yards against.

It’s A Rapp

Rapp played 18 snaps for the Bills on Monday, or 33% of the team’s snaps. Poyer played 100%, and Hyde played 98%, so this wasn’t Rapp coming in to spell them at safety. He played what many have called a thicc dime, where you bring in a sixth defensive back to roam the middle of the field, someone with more physical stature than a normal corner. Pro Football Focus says he played 16 of those snaps against the run and only two in coverage. I’m interested to see how Sean McDermott decides to deploy him against a Raiders team that wants to run the ball.

Home Opener

This is the first time that Bills Mafia gets to cheer on its team since the home playoff dud against Cincinnati. Buffalo is 3-1 in home openers since 2019. I know fans will be at full volume on Sunday. The question is, do the Bills give you a reason to keep it up for 60 minutes?

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