The Buffalo Bills host Washington this week in a chance to rebound from last week’s 31-13 thrashing at the hand of the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington has been mediocre at best for the majority of the season, so the Bills are expected to win handily. However, the team has looked better since head coach Jay Gruden was fired, as interim coach Bill Callahan has the team playing hard.
After Buffalo struggled to move the ball for much of the second half last week, the offense will certainly be excited for the chance to redeem itself. The same can be said for the defense, which looked lost in trying to stop Philadelphia’s running game.
Here is our list of Buffalo players to watch this week.
QB Josh Allen
Buffalo’s second-year quarterback has looked improved this season, but he still has plenty of work to do. Last week, he didn’t look comfortable throwing the ball in the wet, windy conditions while completing less than 50% of his passes for the first time this season. Against a Washington defense that has allowed an average of 240 passing yards per game, Allen has a chance to work effectively and efficiently following a poor performance.
RB Devin Singletary
To take a page from former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson’s playbook, “Just give him the damn ball!” Prior to his hamstring injury, Singletary only had a total of 15 touches in two games. He averaged 12.7 yards per rush and 5.6 yards per reception on those touches. Since returning from a hamstring injury, Singletary only has 14 total touches. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per rush and 7.5 yards per reception on those touches. The Bills drafted the dynamic running back in the third round presumably because he could add some explosion to the offense. He has done just that in his limited touches, yet he hasn’t seen an expansion of his role in the early going of his career. Washington has allowed 137.8 yards per game this year, fifth worst in the league. It’s time Buffalo let the Motor run.
DT Star Lotulelei
It’s darn near impossible to watch a defensive tackle on every play, but the takes surrounding Lotulelei reached a fever pitch this week after the Bills allowed 218 rushing yards against Philadelphia. Joe Buscaglia graded Lotulelei highly in his post-game review, but the veteran has still received some criticism for the failures of Buffalo’s run defense. The highly paid defensive tackle has one job—to keep his linebackers clean—and this week will present him with another tough test. Adrian Peterson, the ageless veteran, has averaged 92 yards on a 4.8 yards-per-carry-average over the last three weeks. Peterson should see a ton of carries this week, especially if veteran quarterback Case Keenum is out due to a concussion he suffered last week. Lotulelei will have to keep blockers off of Tremaine Edmunds and company if the Bills are going to improve on last week’s dreadful performance.
LB Matt Milano
After showing that his hamstring was fully healthy last week—Milano led the Bills with 13 tackles in his return from injury—the pass-coverage specialist will have a tough job this weekend. The Bills have been abysmal against screens this year, and Washington may have pass-catching specialist Chris Thompson back from injury. Combine that with the possibility of a Haskins start, and it’s a recipe for plenty of short, high-percentage passes. If Milano plays the way he’s capable, he’ll be a huge part of shutting Washington down.
CB Levi Wallace
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Wallace, as the second-year corner was picked on by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago, and then followed up that performance by allowing a huge 38-yard completion to Alshon Jeffery last week against Philadelphia. Corners have a tough gig, as they could do their job on nine straight plays, then give up a huge catch on the tenth, and everyone wants to bench them over the one play they didn’t make. Wallace has set a high bar for himself in his young career, and over the last two games he hasn’t reached that standard. Against a Washington receiver group that includes burner Terry McLaurin, Wallace needs to bounce back.