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Buffalo Bills vs. Las Vegas Raiders preview: Turn the page

After a disappointing loss to the Jets on Monday Night Football, the Bills face the Raiders in their home opener on Sunday

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

Throughout the course of a 17-game season, teams are going to have bad games. The Buffalo Bills on Monday night happened to have one of them, and quarterback Josh Allen was the main person to blame.

After being up 13-3 at halftime against the New York Jets, the Bills’ offense turned the ball over three times in five drives in the second half. The three turnovers were all on Allen, whether it was throwing the football into double coverage, trying to make the tight-window throw, or just being careless with the football in his hands.

But we’ve spent enough time on the troubles from Week 1. It’s time to turn the page and focus on their next opponent: The Las Vegas Raiders, the current leaders of the AFC West. The Raiders are 1-0 after squeaking out a win on the road against the Denver Broncos.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who led the league in rushing last year, struggled in the team’s win. He carried the ball 19 times for only 48 yards. Newly acquired wide receiver Jakobi Meyers had a great debut in the win, but didn’t practice on Wednesday after he suffered a concussion in Week 1. Star wideout Davante Adams also didn’t practice Wednesday with a foot injury. Those are two players to monitor heading into Sunday’s matchup.

The Bills have an injury-free football team heading into Week 2. Mitch Morse is dealing with a finger injury, but the Bills held a walkthrough on Wednesday and he was listed as a full participant.

What do the Bills have to do to bounce back and get the win on Sunday? It all starts with Allen. There’s been way more good than bad with Allen, but turnovers have plagued him throughout his career.

“It’s a doubled-edged sword. Sometimes we get away with it, and sometimes it’s the greatest play ever. Sometimes it happens the other way, like it did Monday night,” Allen said. “I understand. I want to be smarter. I want to help this team win football games. I don’t wanna put the football in harms way or in jeopardy. I’m just trying to trust that, trust the guys on the field with me. Play selfless ball.”

If he’s able to trust what’s around him and be smarter, Allen could be in for a big day on Sunday.

The Raiders’ defense isn’t elite by any means. In 2022, they allowed 362.1 yards per game, which ranked 27th in the NFL, and allowed 24.9 points per game, good for 26th in the NFL. Arguably their best player on defense, defensive end Maxx Crosby, will test Bills right tackle Spencer Brown, who had trouble against the Jets Monday night in pass protection. Crosby is a game wrecker, and if Brown doesn’t bring his A-game, Crosby could cause havoc and change the tone of the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, stopping the run was an issue for the Bills Monday night. Jets running back Breece Hall recorded 127 yards on 10 carries. Going up against a running back like Jacobs, the Bills will need to put an emphasis on filling gaps, making the tackles/wrapping up, and aligning correctly pre-snap in order to limit him.

Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garropolo, a game manager, has had success in his career — but he may be without Meyers and Adams. This should lead to another dominant performance for the Bills on defense. If it doesn’t, Buffalo should expect its offense to dominate anyway.

This may be the reason why:

“Obviously, gotta play smarter football... In the grand scheme of things, it’s only one game and not going to turn into two,” Allen explained.