The Buffalo Bills are currently an enigma wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in a conundrum, wrapped in a what the hell are they doing? I wish I had answers for you on how to fix the latest issues we saw in their 24-18 loss to the Bengals in primetime on Sunday night, but I don’t. The loss knocks Buffalo down to 5-4 on the year, out of the current playoff picture, and into everyone’s favorite spot “in the hunt.” The primetime games continue Monday when the Bills host the 3-5 Broncos in a game that, all of a sudden, feels far more crucial than it should. Before we turn the page to the Bills playing on Monday Night Football, let’s look back at five “would you believe me if I said…” stats coming out of Week Nine’s loss.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… the Bills are becoming predictable?
While looking for stats for this piece, two numbers stuck out to me when tracking the Bills’ tendencies. One is that they run the ball to the guard games or “a gap” over 50% of the time, according to analytics website nfeloapp.com. That is the third-highest rate among all 32 teams when broken down to guard, tackle, or end. That same site has the Bills throwing the ball to the right on 47% of pass attempts. That number, broken down by left, middle, and right, is only behind the Cowboys, who throw right 50% of the time.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… the Bengals crushed the Bills in hidden yards?
Buffalo started with the ball beyond their own 25 just twice vs. Cincinnati, and those drives began at their own 26 and 35. Those also had two drives that started at the nine, one at the 12, another at the 15, and the rest at the 25. The Bengals had drives began at Buffalo’s 32 and 45. They also started at their own 42 and 31. That’s four drives starting with better field position than any of the Bills’ possessions. It doesn’t pop on the box score, but that is a massive amount of hidden yards in favor of Cincinnati.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… your eyes were right, Shakir was open?
My replies were littered with people begging for more targets to go towards Khalil Shakir, and if you were one of them, you were right. According to NextGenStats, Shakir had an average separation from his closest defender of 3.82 yards. That is nearly a yard higher than the league average and the highest on the Bills for dudes not named Stefon Diggs.
— Greg Vorse (@GregVorse) November 6, 2023
Would You Believe Me If I Said… I understand if you hate analytics?
There is a growing hatred for analytics, mainly because they keep talking about how awesome the Bills are despite their 5-4 record. If you are getting frustrated with this, I understand. As of writing this, Buffalo has the best offensive EPA per drive, is second in point differential, fifth in total DVOA, and second in offensive DVOA. If those numbers frustrate you for a team “in the hunt.” I get it!
Would You Believe Me If I Said… the Bills are once again in the hunt?
You read that last live above correctly. The Bills are currently “in the hunt” when it comes to the playoff picture. It’s a dark and gloomy spot, especially for a team with Super Bowl hopes after three seasons of winning at least one playoff game.