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Buffalo Bills vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: keys to winning

Also, the keys to losing.

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills are fresh off their bye week and at playing at home this weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There are plenty of factors that will lead to the Bills either winning or losing on Sunday, but I am going to pick one reason for each potential outcome*. Let’s get the painful idea of a Bills lose out of the way first and then move on to fun idea of having another Victory Monday.

*I know there’s technically three possible outcomes because of a tie, but I am choosing to disregard that rare outcome.

The Bills lose if: the Buccaneers defense plays like they did against the Patriots.

By almost every measure, the Buccaneers defense is terrible. They are 30th in the league in yards per game given up and 31st in the league in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. By points per game they are slightly better, but still 22nd in the league. However, in their toughest matchup this season they performed very well. On Thursday Night Football in week five the Bucs held the New England Patriots, a top five offense by all measures (2nd in DVOA, 1st in YPG, 5th in PPG) to a measly 19 points.

The Bills offense is on the complete other end of the spectrum from the Patriots. They’re also missing one of their biggest weapons in Charles Clay and possibly another big weapon in Jordan Matthews. If the Buccaneers can hold one the league’s best offenses to 19 points, they could certainly contain one of the league’s worst offenses to even less.

The Bills win if: the defense stymies the Buccaneer rushing attack.

As bad as the Bills offense has been, the Bills defense has been good. Continuing that on Sunday will be key to a win. Specifically important will be stopping Doug Martin and the Buccaneers rushing attack. In all three of the Bucs’ losses this season they have not ran for more than 100 yards. In both of their wins they’ve eclipsed that mark, albeit just barely. As Bills fans are aware, when an offense cannot get the ball moving on the ground, the defense can focus on the passing game and make the quarterback’s job much tougher.

The Bills have a lot going for them on Sunday. They’re coming off the bye week, playing at home, and either playing a hurting quarterback or Ryan Fitzpatrick. That doesn’t mean a win is assured. They’ll still need to get the offense on track and stopping the run will get the Bills their fourth win of the season.

Let me know what you think will lead to either a win or a lose in the comment section below.