The Buffalo Bills take on the Dallas Cowboys at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday, in what will be the featured national broadcast by NFL on FOX. The Cowboys come to Orchard Park, NY with a record of 10-3 and one of the NFL's hottest offenses.
The Bills are fighting for their playoff lives at 7-6 and need to stack wins together to end the season. Can they do it? It won’t be easy trying to establish a trend against the Cowboys. Here are some story lines for the best matchup of the weekend.
Trap game for both teams?
Both the Bills and Cowboys are coming off of big wins within their respective conferences last weekend. The Bills defeated the Chiefs 20-17 in a big win to help them climb their way back into playoff contention. The Cowboys are coming off a 33-13 dismantling over the Eagles, taking the lead in the NFC East.
Both teams are in a classic "let down" situation after big, emotional wins. However, I would call it a wash since each have huge reasons to remain focused. The Bills, however, may have the "edge" in the motivation department because almost every game is "do or die" as they fight to stay in playoff contention. The Cowboys are still fighting for the one seed in the NFC, currently tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the best record in the NFC. It will be interesting to see which team comes out ready to play with passion and energy.
This was supposed to be a must-watch matchup with older brother Stefon Diggs lining up wide receiver across from little brother Trevon Diggs at cornerback. Unfortunately, Trevon Diggs tore his ACL earlier this season and the brothers won’t get to compete against each other in this game. That being said, I’m sure Stefon Diggs will have some extra juice to show out against his little brother’s team.
Diggs has been quiet of late. The last time he had a game where he recorded 100 yards receiving was in Week 6 against the New York Giants — when he had exactly 100 yards receiving. The Bills have proven they can be a dangerous offensive team with their other weapons, and sooner or later that will take the attention off of Diggs. This seems like a prime spot for Diggs to have one of his signature Alpha dog games.
Stephon Gilmore returns to Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills’ 2012 first-round draft pick (10th overall) returns to Buffalo, this time a member of the Dallas Cowboys. The Bills have seen plenty of Gilmore since he left to play for the New England Patriots. The 11-year veteran has had another impressive season, now as a member of the Cowboys. Dallas has used Gilmore to shadow in recent weeks versus bigger physical wide receivers like DK Metcalf and A.J. Brown, but typically he hasn't shadowed receivers this season. Diggs isn't a big, physical receiver — but it will be interesting to see if the Cowboys decide to have Gilmore follow him around.
The Micah Parsons effect
Micah Parsons is one of the most dynamic athletes in the NFL and he’s wrecking havoc on opposing offenses. He’s eighth in the NFL in sacks with 12.5 and has 14 tackles for loss through 13 games. The Cowboys use him everywhere to get pressure on the quarterback. Parsons can be seen with his hand in the dirt on the edge, lined up inside as a defensive tackle, or blitzing as a linebacker. The Bills will have their hands full trying to account for Parsons, trying to keep up with where he is each snap. Buffalo will need a cohesive effort from the offensive line to keep a uniform pocket for Josh Allen. The Cowboys like to run stunts and blitzes to create seams in the offensive line for defenders to run through. The one advantage the Bills have with that is that Allen is adept at attacking those seams and ripping off big chunks of yardage on a scramble.
Allen vs. Prescott: A battle of elite quarterbacks
This matchup offers a supreme battle featuring two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Josh Allen has 3,447 passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns, adding 374 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns. Allen's 3,821 total yards and 35 total touchdowns are the most by any player in the NFL this season. Dak Prescott has 3,505 yards passing and a league-leading 28 passing touchdowns.
Allen and Prescott are no strangers to putting up numbers and I would expect to see more big numbers put up Sunday. Allen may have an advantage with questionable weather during game time on Sunday. Prescott will have his chance to prove he can succeed outside of Dallas' comfy, weather-controlled stadium.