The Buffalo Bills have a cross-conference showdown in Week 6 with the New York Giants — a battle to be decided under the brightest lights of Sunday Night Football. Here’s what to look for as both teams try to gain momentum and a win following tough losses last weekend.
This will be the Bills’ first home primetime game of the season, and One Bills Drive appears ready to start the party off right with some sweet pregame entertainment.
The team will also suit up in their all-red color rush uniforms this week, which I believe are their best uniforms!
Brian Daboll’s return
New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll makes his first NFL return to Western New York after spending four years as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. Daboll has close ties to both the current regime and WNY having grown up in the Buffalo-area suburb of West Seneca.
Brian Daboll was an important part of Bills QB Josh Allen’s development, and Allen was a big reason for Daboll’s success as an OC. It’s clear that both sides have immense mutual respect for each other.
This will be the first time we get to see McDermott and Daboll square off in a head-coaching matchup, and it should be interesting to see if either of them have any tricks up their sleeves. After four years of coaching together, it would be safe to assume they’ve picked up on some tendencies from one another. However, so much has changed since Daboll left that I doubt either side is relying on any past knowledge. The greetings and handshake moments before and postgame will likely resemble a pair of old friends who haven’t seen each other in a while.
The injury bug on both sides
Both the Bills and the Giants are dealing with a massive amount of injuries — and injuries to key players at that.
The Giants have a shocking 18 players who were listed on their injury report this week. They have five players who are listed as OUT, including the following key starters:
- QB Daniel Jones
- OT Andrew Thomas
- C John Michael Schmitz
- DE Azeez Ojulari
They also have seven players who are listed as questionable, including starters:
- LB Micah McFadden
- TE Darren Waller
- RB Saquon Barkley
- OT Evan Neal
The Buffalo Bills are dealing with their own rash of injuries as they lost starting CB Tre’Davious White for the season in Week 4 and then lost starting LB Matt Milano and starting DT DaQuan Jones in Week 5 with long-term injuries. The Bills currently have three players listed as questionable for this weekend’s game:
- CB - Dane Jackson
- TE - Dawson Knox
- TE - Dalton Kincaid
The good news is that Buffalo will get back starters in cornerback Christian Benford and edge rusher Greg Rousseau, who both missed the game in Week 5 due to injury.
The biggest question will be who steps up for Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, and DaQuan Jones? Some young players will get their opportunity to shine this week and make their case to be the solution for the rest of the season.
Which "next man up" will step up the most on defense?
This poll is closed
Dorian Williams - LB
Tyrel Dodson - LB
Kaiir Elam - CB
Dane Jackson - CB
Ja’Marcus Ingram - CB/S
Poona Ford - DT
Jordan Phillips - DT
Tim Settle - DT
Other (comment below)
With Giants starting QB Daniel Jones listed as OUT, the Bills will go against backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The former QB1 of the Buffalo Bills played three years (2015-2017) with the team and was the QB who helped the franchise break a 17-year playoff drought in the 2017 NFL season. Bills fans should have fond memories of Taylor and what he was able to help Buffalo accomplish in his time with One Bills Drive. I’m sure Bills Mafia will give Taylor a warm welcome upon his entrance to the field, but after that, it’s game on.
Taylor has had a long journey since his departure from Buffalo, including stops with the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Houston Texans, and now the Giants. The 34-year-old QB won’t look exactly the same as he did when he left Buffalo, but the Bills’ defense will have to be on their toes to make sure no “revenge game” magic happens during Sunday Night Football.
Bills’ pass rush should have a “Giant” night
To say the Giants’ offensive line has struggled so far this season is an understatement.
The New York Giants Offensive Line PFF Positional Rankings among the rest of the NFL in Week 5— Monte (@MONTECRI5TO) October 9, 2023
Josh Ezeudu 65/65
Evan Neal 64/65
Matt Peart 63/65
Jalen Mayfield 70/70
Marcus McKethan 65/70
Mark Glowinski 55/70
Ben Bredeson 30/31
Just absolutely horrible across the board.
The Giants have allowed 30 sacks, 104 pressures, and have a sack percentage of 15.3% — all of these marks rank the worst in the NFL. To make matters worse, things aren’t looking much better with the injuries to the unit overall.
Buffalo did lose DaQuan Jones last week, but Greg Rousseau is returning from injury and edge rusher Von Miller is back in the lineup as he returns from an ACL injury on a limited snap count. The emergence of defensive end A.J. Epenesa in a strong Week 5 performance further bolsters the Bills’ pass rush. The Buffalo Bills currently lead the NFL in sacks with 21.
The best pass-rushing team in the league going against the worst pass-blocking team in the league should equal a ton of sacks. However, to the Giants’ advantage, Tyrod Taylor is not Daniel Jones and shouldn’t take as many sacks, but things still don’t look too promising for the G-Men. The Giants may look to keep the ball on the ground, but with Barkley being questionable and a likely lopsided scoreboard, they might not have another choice but to throw the ball.
A “Get Right” game for Buffalo’s offense
After a lackluster performance in Week 5 across the pond in London, England, the Bills’ offense will look to get itself back on track against a struggling Giants defense. The Giants rank 29th in opponents' points per game, allowing an average of 30.6 points. They also allow an average of 378 yards per game to their opponent, which is 27th in the NFL.
The Giants appear fairly formidable in their defensive secondary, ranking 12th in the NFL in opponent completion percentage at 64.43% and 19th in passing yards allowed at 226.6 yards per game. However, their run defense is struggling by allowing 151.4 rushing yards per game (30th), 5.3 yards per rush (29th), and 1.8 rushing TDs per game (31st).
I’d expect Buffalo to incorporate a good mix of run and pass this week. It’s important to establish a run game early after their abysmal performance on the ground in Week 5. Hopefully, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey will have some other run plays drawn up besides the “sprint draw” to James Cook. I’d look for James Cook and the team’s stable of running backs to have a big game this week. The Bills should be up early in this game and will likely be pounding the rock to seal the victory late.
In Week 5 Buffalo strayed away from play action from under center. This was a little puzzling after they had a lot of success using the formation in Week 4. Check out my article analyzing the play action from Week 4 here. Look for the Bills to circle back around to play action from under center and take advantage of the benefits it provides once a run game is established.