The Buffalo Bills have a chance to get over .500 for the first time this season when they visit the Washington Commanders on Sunday. Buffalo is coming off a convincing 38-10 home win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2. Their date in the DMV is with a team riding high as Washington sits at 2-0, tied for the top record in the NFC. The Bills opened as 4.5-point favorites, according to many sportsbooks. That number has ballooned to 6.5 in most areas. Without further ado, here are my top five storylines to watch as Bills Mafia gets set to travel down to Maryland for a date with crab cakes and Commanders.
It’s A Trap
We all know and understand that the easiest way into the NFL playoffs is to win your division, which is something the Bills have managed to do for three straight years. For them to do that, they will most likely need a win or two against the Miami Dolphins. Why am I mentioning that in a preview for the Commanders? Well, that makes this a perfect situation for a trap game. Buffalo is not only playing a non-division rival, Washington isn’t even a conference foe. Couple that with the large spread for this one, and you have the makings of a trap game. Sean McDermott, Josh Allen, and crew staying focused on the task at hand will go a long way in determining the winner.
Spencer Brown, with the help of his linemates, quarterback, and game plan, was pretty effective in the win over the Raiders on Sunday. They had Maxx Crosby out of the box score for the most part, as Buffalo won by 28 points. The only problem is that Crosby is the Raiders’ only real defense threat, and the Commanders have a line of dudes who can get after Allen. Washington enters this contest with ten sacks, the most in the NFL. Brown may see himself in a lot more one-on-one opportunities on Sunday. He will have to prove he can do it on his own. Note: as of writing this, Brown had just appeared on the injury report, but it appears he should go with a shoulder.
Howell Good Is He
First-year starter Sam Howell is 2-0 on the season, but as I say often, “wins aren’t a QB stat.” So, the question needs to be asked, “How good is he?” In those two games, he had 501 yards for three touchdowns and a pick. Those wins were against Arizona and Denver. The Broncos lost to the Raiders, and you are familiar with how Buffalo beat them down. As for the Cardinals, they are on the fast track to the first overall pick. The Bills defense will be Howell’s toughest test so far and by far.
Despite everything I just said above about the level of competition the Commanders have played so far, you can only play the teams on your schedule. This isn’t college football where beauty points matter in some ranking. Washington took care of business in both of its games and deserves credit for that. Just like their QB, I think we learn on Sunday just how good they really are. I also mentioned above that this is a possible trap game for the Bills. The next opponent for Washington after Sunday is a date with their division rivals in Philly.
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From #12 to #17: https://t.co/Ur7gRIfsaT
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— If The Walls Could Talk In Buffalo Podcast (@IfBuffalo) September 22, 2023
Sean McDermott is obviously familiar with Ron Rivera on the other sideline for Washington, but the entire Buffalo defense should be familiar with the offensive play-caller in Eric Bieniemy. While he wasn’t the play-caller in his former home of Kansas City (that was Andy Reid) he was on their sideline for all of the major matchups between the Bills and Chiefs over the last few years. How he decides to attack the Buffalo defense with the knowledge he has will be a fun storyline to study.