For tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup, the Buffalo Bills (5-4) play host to the Denver Broncos (3-5). The Bills, determined to remedy their recent offensive struggles, are after redemption following a disappointing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. With their eyes set on reclaiming momentum, Buffalo aims to capitalize on their home advantage. Meanwhile, the Broncos will be looking to build on their recent victory over the Chiefs and continue their upward trajectory. As the Bills are favored by more than a touchdown at -7.5, all eyes will be on their ability to overcome recent offensive challenges and secure a convincing win on their home turf.
This week Buffalo Rumblings is doing a giveaway at halftime for a signed Stevie Johnson Jersey and he is this week’s special guest on the Pregame Rumblings Podcast Presented by DraftKings Sportsbook. We discuss what he’s been up to in Buffalo as of late, his thoughts on Del Reid being named Buffalo’s Fan of the Year, and how he see’s tonight’s game between the Bills and the Broncos going.
- The Bills are currently a 7-point favorite against the Broncos in NFL Week 10 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
- As of writing, Buffalo is at -325 on the moneyline, while Denver is +260.
- The over/under (point total) is set at 47.5 points.
- The Broncos are coming off a 24-9 win against the Kansas City Chiefs.
- The Bills are coming off a 24-18 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals.
I feel like a broken record, but once again the Buffalo Bills may be searching for solutions on offense in a game that they should win. Favored by a touchdown, it’s clear which team is more talented on both sides of the ball and who should win tonight. However, this season has given me a different perspective on this team that I love so much. I thought the Bills would dominate the New England Patriots by two scores. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield could have left Highmark Stadium with a win had wide receiver Chris Godwin tracked the final throw better. And the Tyrod Taylor revenge game almost went poorly — that is, had the referees made a call on nickel cornerback Taron Johnson for a foul that should have been flagged.
When people tell me that the offense is fine because of stats and metrics, I fully understand their point. But there’s something about the eye test that doesn’t quite meet the mark. Since 2020, the Buffalo Bills have been one of the most efficient, high-powered offenses in the entire league. Prior to this season during quarterback Josh Allen’s tenure, you never questioned whether or not they would convert on third down because Cole Beasley was always open or Stefon Diggs was making a play. Yes, the stats are all there when you compare Allen’s numbers to the other quarterbacks in the league. Diggs is near the top of every receiving category. James Cook is top 10 in rushing yards coming into Week 10 and the Bills have the second most-touchdowns behind only the Dolphins. But if that’s all true, then why have there been so many questions about whether or not offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey should be replaced? Why has head coach/defensive coordinator Sean McDermott started to lose a growing portion of the fan base’s trust in the process?
The defense isn’t without blame either, but it’s more understandable because of injuries. Two All-Pro talents and another who was headed toward an All-Pro season are on Injured Reserve (IR) with no clear timetable for return. You can’t just replace their brand of talent and production easily, regardless of the depth. But there’s a clear difference in the overall performance of the defense since the rash of injuries took hold.
Buffalo Bills defensive DVOA— Aaron Schatz (@ASchatzNFL) November 6, 2023
Weeks 1-4: -24.6% (3rd)
Weeks 5-9: +18.9% (dead last)
So while the defense hasn’t performed up to its ability, the offense hasn’t put them on its back in a way that you’d expect. Against the Bengals, the time of possession was embarrassing for Buffalo, with 23:22 to Cincinnati’s 36:38. That can’t happen tonight against the Broncos and it can’t happen again this season if the Bills want to remain in contention for the AFC East and even a playoff spot.
So, here are my thoughts and things to look for during tonight’s game:
“I want that old thing back!”
I know this is a completely different team with a completely different offensive coordinator. But can you blame me for wanting to see the version of Josh Allen that was fired up in Kansas City after throwing a touchdown to wide receiver Gabe Davis? Or the fiery passion after that QB sneak on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys? It just doesn’t seem like Allen is that guy this season. When that energy is missing you see it in the team’s overall performance. It’s not that there’s no energy, there is — but he’s missing that energy. In weeks past I’ve mentioned that a lack of designed runs for Allen could be a factor. Years ago, Allen mentioned that he needs to feel involved on a certain level sometimes to really get going. When you take away the designed runs or the freedom to improvise the way he would when everyone complained of “sugar high Josh,” then you really take away the thing that makes him great. Allen is a gunslinger who loves to run people over. While I understand the need for him to take less hits, it doesn’t mean that we need to remove everything that made him stand out from most of the other quarterbacks in the league — and now’s the time to do it. The emergence of wide receiver Khalil Shakir and tight end Dalton Kincaid has been just what the passing game needs. On some level, they represent production behind Diggs that looks very similar to that of Beasley and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. If Davis can get more involved tonight, the offense can really take advantage of the opportunity to make everyone forget about last week and the record — and they can take some momentum into next week’s rematch against the New York Jets.
“Don’t let Russ cook, cook Russ instead”
Quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t looked all that great this season, but he hasn’t been as bad as you remember from last season. Last week he only had 114 yards passing, but he threw three touchdowns in the win over the Chiefs. On the season, Wilson has 16 touchdowns to only four interceptions and a QB rating of 101.7. His play has been wildly inconsistent but Wilson hasn’t been horrible every game, and he’s not the reason the Broncos have underperformed. With the injuries to Buffalo’s defense and the decline of splash plays over the last few weeks, it’s actually not out of the question for Wilson to have an efficient day where he does enough to keep the game within reach. That’s where the defensive line has to come into play. Edge rusher Greg Rousseau hasn’t had a sack in his last four games. Edge rusher Von Miller isn’t quite himself yet, and he hasn’t logged one sack this season since returning from last season’s ACL injury. As a team, the defense had just one sack last week against Joe Burrow and the Bengals. That dearth in production has to change tonight. The Broncos’ offensive line is a strength this season. Offensive tackle Garrett Boles and offensive guard Quinn Meinerz should both earn Pro Bowl honors this season. But in tonight’s game I need to see defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Groot and Miller make it their worst day.
“Complementary Football = Real Talk or Coach Talk?”
Sean McDermott has said several times that the Bills need to do a better job playing complementary football. That seemed to strike a nerve with a portion of the fan base. But does he have a point? In the simplest terms he’s just saying that the offense has to play well, as well as defense and special teams. Some weeks the defense hasn’t played well, others it’s been the offense. They also seem to get penalized in the worst moments. There have been big plays on special teams taken off the board this year because of penalties. I know as fans we typically think every call is horrible, but we also have to admit some things just aren’t smart. Buffalo can’t put games in the referees’ hands. I’m looking for smart football with minimal mistakes. Flags stall drives at the worst possible times, and this is a game that the Bills need to execute to their full potential and come away with a convincing win.
MNF Week 10 Score Prediction: 31-23, Bills over Broncos
After it’s all said and done, I think the Bills win this game. The offense will put up points tonight, but the defense will give up some plays because DaQuan Jones and Matt Milano still aren’t back to help with run defense. As much as Wilson hasn’t been anything close to a top quarterback, he’s experienced enough to have one of those games at any moment. The Broncos will make the game interesting, but the Bills head into their Week 11 rematch with the Jets carrying a little bit of momentum.
The Kings Ransom Same Game Parlay Segment
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