The Buffalo Bills will be taking on the Denver Broncos Sunday looking for their eighth win of the season. Buffalo is coming off of a convincing win against the Miami Dolphins while the Broncos blew a 20-point lead in a tough loss to the Minnesota Vikings. To preview the match-up, we talked with Joe Rowles from Mile High Report.
1) What happened to the team after they started so well against the Vikings on Sunday?
So the biggest thing that happened is Kirk Cousins stopped checking down at the first hint of trouble. In the first half there’s a few instances where the Vikings had open receivers downfield and the quarterback checked down to Dalvin Cook or a crosser instead of hanging in and taking a shot. In the second half Minnesota began to dial up more deep shots because the Broncos’ pass rush is heavily reliant on Von Miller and Fangio’s designed pressures to work. If either fails (or if Miller is on the bench) there’s a lot of time.
One really good example of this is the last touchdown pass to Rudolph. Von is sitting, and the Vikings use a deep post to occupy the safety and corner so a crossing tight end is wide open behind the second level. It happened in the first half, but a holding call on Riley Reiff negated a chunk play.
2) How do fans feel about the job general manager John Elway has done since Peyton Manning retired?
I wrote a piece called “The Good, The Bad, and the Elway” right before Vance Joseph was fired last year. Some parts of that still hold.
The good: Todd Davis remains an underrated linebacker, the 2018 and 2016 draft outside of Lynch has been very good, Shelby Harris was a heck of a find. The bad: Elway has yet to solve the right tackle situation, Garett Bolles still looks like a huge bust. The ugly: Quarterback remains a huge question mark.
More and more, this coming offseason is looking like the last best chance Elway has to turn things around.
3) What’s the deal with Drew Lock? Should he be given a shot yet?
When Lock was drafted it looked like the plan was to have him sit behind Joe Flacco for the entire season in order to refine his mechanics. He came out of Missouri with a really high ceiling and some big issues with his base and decision making. In the preseason he had issues with those things in addition to play calls and receiving snaps from under center. Then he got hurt and missed two months.
I still believe the best way to proceed with Lock is probably a redshirt season, but Flacco’s injury makes this week look like Brandon Allen’s last shot to hold off the rookie. Denver has the Los Angeles Chargers at home in Week 13.
4) How can Buffalo stop someone as dominant as Von Miller has been in his career?
Because Denver lacks a secondary rusher to make teams pay for devoting so much attention to him, there’s a number of ways Buffalo could try and neutralize him. Teams have tried blocking him with multiple tight ends, have rolled away from him, have set up a quick passing game. All have had varying levels of success.
I suspect if the Broncos can force Buffalo into long yardage passing situations, Miller is going to be a problem.
5) Prediction for Sunday?
Vic Fangio gets his fourth win after a defensive slug fest. The Bills don’t have the same kind of weaponry Minnesota does and the Godfather will dial up enough heat to generate turnovers from Josh Allen.