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Josh Allen faces a daunting task in Minnesota Vikings defense

Head coach Mike Zimmer’s defenses have shut down rookie quarterbacks

The Buffalo Bills are reeling coming off a pair of losses to open the season, and while Buffalo is looking to shock the football world Sunday with a win over the reigning NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings, the Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t like Buffalo’s chances.

Buffalo (0-2) opened as a 16.5-point underdog vs. Minnesota, a disparity that is the second-biggest between two teams dating back to the 2003 season.

The road to that first win doesn’t get any easier Sunday, as the Bills travel to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, a traditionally tough place to play with its raucous fans and loud atmosphere.

As if it wasn’t enough that the Bills are struggling mightily on defense, having allowed 78 points in back-to-back losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers, the offense, led by rookie Josh Allen, must now attempt to solve a riddle that has befuddled many a rookie quarterback in the past: how to beat a Mike Zimmer-coached defense.

A HUGE area of concern for Bills fans is how Allen, who is making the first road start of his career, will respond playing an elite defense in a hostile atmosphere.

The last five times a rookie quarterback has squared off against a Mike Zimmer-coached defense, they have failed to pass for more than 180 yards in a game. While two rookies won their showdowns with Minnesota, it wasn’t because of their passing prowess.

During their rookie seasons, Mitchell Trubisky (twice), DeShone Kizer, Carson Wentz, and Dak Prescott combined to complete 55 percent of their passes while logging three touchdown passes and three interceptions. Together, they passed for 762 yards, an average of 152.4 passing yards per game.

Here are the stat lines and the game results for the last five games where a rookie quarterback took on the Vikings:

  • Oct. 23, 2016: Wentz: 16-of-28 passing for 138 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 0 sacks. Philadelphia Eagles won 21-10.
  • Dec. 1, 2016: Prescott: 12-of-18 passing for 139 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 3 sacks. Dallas Cowboys won 17-15.
  • Oct. 9, 2017: Trubisky: 12 of 25 passing for 128 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack. Chicago Bears lost 20-17.
  • Oct. 29, 2017: Kizer: 18-of-34 passing for 179 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 3 sacks. Cleveland Browns lost 33-16.
  • Dec. 31, 2017: Trubisky: 20-of-36 passing for 178 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 sack. Chicago Bears lost 23-10.

Here’s hoping Allen can fare better Sunday than these previous rookie signal-callers did in Minnesota.