The Buffalo Bills enter Week 10 off a tough 20-17 road loss to the Jets in East Rutherford. That game might end up being way more painful than just one loss as Josh Allen is listed as day-to-day with head coach Sean McDermott saying “we’ll see” when it comes to his status on Sunday when they host the Minnesota Vikings. I am going to write this top five storylines article with the assumption that Allen does not play. With that, here are five storylines to keep an eye on when things get underway from Orchard Park.
Just In Case
The Bills traded a 7th-round pick to Cleveland to acquire Case Keenum for this exact reason. Just in case Josh Allen had to miss anytime. If he does indeed miss the game on Sunday, Buffalo will have a veteran with some success in the league. Since entering the NFL as a UDFA in 2012, Keenum has started 64 gamed and tallied a 29-35 record. During that time he has thrown for almost 15,000 yards and has a 78-48 touchdown to interception ratio. The former Houston Cougar went 2-0 in 2021 for Cleveland and 1-1 in the playoffs for Minnesota. The playoff win is one of the most famous in football history, where Keenum hit current teammate Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard game-winning touchdown. That play leads us to our next topic.
Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs helped provide one of the greatest moments in Vikings history with the aforementioned touchdown in 2017. You may remember Keenum leading the SKOL chant as the clock wound down vs. New Orleans. Keenum and Diggs are just a few fan favorites that are also familiar faces in this matchup. Buffalo will also take on one of the nicest guys in the league when Harrison Phillips returns to town. Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was the Vikings’ head coach from 2011 to 2013. Lastly, this is the first time Bills’ rookie running back James Cook will be on the opposite NFL sideline as his brother Dalvin Cook, a running back for Minnesota.
We still haven’t seen Since Tre’Davious White in-game action since he went down with an ACL tear last Thanksgiving. Could that change this week? He is doing more and more at practice, giving fans more optimism that he lines up on Sunday. This would be a great game to have him back in as Buffalo gears up to take on one of the best WRs in the league in Justin Jefferson. He is currently second in the league in receiving yards at 867, 10 ahead of Diggs. His 59 receptions are 5th most in the league. As you’re well aware, the Vikings selected the LSU product with the 1st-round pick they acquired from the Bills in the trade for Diggs.
You want to win every game, but if you can steal this win with Case Keenum at QB, it could go a long way to deciding the seeding in the AFC. Entering Week 10, Buffalo is tied with Kansas City, but the Bills have the tiebreaker over the Chiefs, thanks to their win earlier this season. A Buffalo loss not only would open the door for KC to pass them, but there are currently five teams with three losses on the year – the Bills have just two. Buffalo still holds the lead in the AFC East as well, but the Dolphins and Jets are two of those three loss teams, and both have a win on their resume over the Bills. This game clearly isn’t do-or-die, but stealing a win with your backup QB would be huge.
The Bills are the only AFC team with zero home losses to date. They are one of just three teams without a home blemish joining the Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles. The 3-0 record in Orchard Park looks even better when you see how Buffalo has earned those wins. They are outscoring opponents 106 to 27, holding Tennessee and Pittsburgh to single-digit scoring.
The scoring stats are even crazier in the second half, where Buffalo has pitched a pair of shutouts and let in just 10 points to the Packers. The average margin of victory in WNY sits at 26.3, almost double what the second-place Eagles have done in Philly. If you’re into gambling, Buffalo has destroyed the spread at home by an average of 14.8 points per game.