Bear Bryant, one of college football’s greatest coaches said it years ago, offense sells tickets, defense wins championships. The league has transitioned away from this recently, but the Buffalo Bills are in a unique position where both their offense and defense are stocked full of must-watch stars that are each championship caliber in their own right. Against the Green Bay Packers, and all season long thus far, this was on full display. The offense rolled in the first half and even with mistakes in the second half, proved to be elite. The defense continued to show why the unit is rated so favorably.
This week’s edition of Mr. B’s breakdown will dive into how Buffalo’s defense dictated the game even if it appeared to struggle at times. Plus, how the offense on a night when they weren’t perfect, still scored almost 30 points. Finally, we’ll look into how each unit matches up against the Jets.
Bills Field a Defensive Juggernaut
It’s no secret head coach Sean Mcdermott and defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier run one of if not the best defensive unit in the league. All the metrics—pressure rate, points against, turnovers, yards against—show how impressive and dominant they’ve continued to be this season.
The beauty of this team’s construction is the sum of the parts that general manager Brandon Beane and One Bills Drive have assembled, and it creates a beautiful picture. The d-line getting pressure has caused disruption, leading to sacks, incompletions, and interceptions by linebackers and the secondary. They’re able to match up no matter the situation. Against Green Bay, the defense stayed in nickel formation for all 66 plays even when Green Bay brought in their heavy “22” personnel. This gave the Packers an advantage against the defense, but Buffalo didn’t care. They knew Green Bay wouldn’t be able to keep up on the scoreboard running the ball, even if they were giving up chunk plays on the ground.
The #Bills played nickel defense the whole game last night. Taron Johnson played all 66 defensive snaps — even when the Packers used ‘22’ personnel (2 RBs, 2 TEs). That means two things: They trust Johnson 100%, and they weren’t particularly worried about giving up rushing yards.— Jay Skurski (@JaySkurski) October 31, 2022
Buffalo’s defense predominantly rushes four, and keeps the box light. This puts a lot of responsibility on linebackers Tremine Edmunds and Matt Milano to stop the run. Running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 30 carries and 197 yards, but the offense was still limited and it showed on the scoreboard. They were unable to crack 10 points until the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter. Those numbers on the surface don’t paint a good picture for the linebacking tandem, but I believe they had a heck of a game. Edmunds was all over the field showcasing his sideline-to-sideline speed and length, while Milano continued to make timely plays that changed the game.
Milano put a stamp on his performance with a tip drill interception. As menioned above, the defensive unit is blending together so well that they bring each other up. On Milano’s pick, the d-line caused pressure, tipped Aaron Rodgers’ pass and Milano made a play on the ball.
Bills Defense faces off with New York Jets
With the matchup against the Jets on Sunday, Buffalo’s defensive line will look to feast against a weaker offensive line. In last season’s finale game, Buffalo had nine sacks while only allowing 53 yards of offense. This season, quarterback Zach Wilson has had to evade pass-rushers on 33% of his dropbacks, the highest rate in the league. Additionally, while he is pressured, he has the lowest completion percentage in the league at 14.6%. I expect edge rusher Von Miller and company to make life for Wilson miserable as this trend continues.
Buffalo Bills’ Offensive Dynamo
The Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs connection has shown no signs of slowing down so far this season. The duo has carved up everything and everyone in their path. Against Green Bay, Diggs put on a clinic with six receptions for 108 yards and a beautiful 26-yard touchdown grab down the sideline. Diggs has lined up all over the field this year, something that’s different compared to his previous campaigns.
Stefon Diggs' slot % this season is the highest it's been since his second year in the NFL...— Joe DiBiase (@SneakyJoeSports) November 4, 2022
----Traded to Bills----
Bills’ Offense to Face Stout Jets Defense
How the Bills will deploy Diggs on Sunday is still a mystery. One of the more sure things the Jets have going for them is a pair of talented cornerbacks. According to Pro Football Focus, the Jets are the only team with two top-10 graded CBs this season. Sauce Gardner is at 85 (which ranks fourth), and Reed has a rating of 79.3 (which ranks him seventh). Both of them will need to bring their A+ game to stand a chance against Diggs, who as we know, makes even the best look silly. Check out these clips of Diggs burning some of the best corners in the league and let me know how much faith you have in the Jets’ secondary being able to contain him.
Stefon Diggs vs. Marshon Lattimore
Diggs vs. J.C. Jackson
Bills vs. Jets Final Thoughts and Prediction
Buffalo sits at 6-1, and first in the AFC East, but yet still haven’t won a division game. It changes on Sunday. Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Von Miller are going to keep doing what they do week in and week out to carry this team to another victory. No matter how accustomed we get to watching this type of dominance, Bills Mafia always remember to never take it for granted. Even a “boring” game against Green Bay gave us jump-out-of-your-seat highlights from the team’s star players. Expect this to continue. Zach Wilson needs a get-right game, but Buffalo could be the worst team to match up against when trying to get back on your feet. I expect the Bills to win and cover the 11-point spread, despite injuries to star safety Jordan Poyer. Give me the Buffalo Bills to win, 33-14.
Who do you think will have the biggest impact for Buffalo on Sunday? Sound off in the comments section below!