The Buffalo Bills travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the Washington Commanders on Sunday. The Commanders have yet to play at home this season, so this will be the first time their fans pack FedExField. They are 2-0, beating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 and the Denver Broncos in Week 2. The Commanders are in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
You could say that this is the toughest test the Bills have had so far in their young season. Commanders quarterback Sam Howell has been playing good football, throwing for 501 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in two games. Chase Young, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Montez Sweat have been dominant so far this season, combining for 6.5 sacks.
The Bills’ offense and defense both have to play complete football games this weekend. Here are some players to watch in this highly anticipated matchup:
TE Dalton Kincaid
Dalton Kincaid may have a big opportunity on Sunday. Tight end Dawson Knox missed practice most of the week while dealing with a back injury.
Through two games, Kincaid has hauled in nine receptions for 69 yards. He will have a big impact in the pass-catching game if Knox is limited.
Not only will he be important as a pass catcher, but his ability to be physical at the point of attack in the run game will be another test. Kincaid came out of college at Utah as more of a pure pass-catching tight end who wasn’t a great blocker. With the Bills, he’s been inconsistent, but has shown a willingness to block when asked.
OT Spencer Brown
Spencer Brown was one of, if not the biggest question marks for this Bills’ offense heading into this season. Last week, Brown held his own against Raiders star pass rusher Maxx Crosby. Crosby didn’t record a sack and only accounted for two QB hurries and two QB pressures per PFF.
Brown has shown flashes of being capable as an offensive tackle in the NFL. Will he be able to build on his performance from last week and limit the Commanders from getting to his quarterback? That will be something to watch.
DT Ed Oliver
2019 first-round pick Ed Oliver signed a contract extension this offseason, and some people thought he didn’t deserve the deal. However, Oliver has taken a big step forward this year after signing the extension. Through two games, Oliver has five tackles, six stops against the run, and a run stop percentage of 17.9% — which is best for fourth in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. He also has four tackles for loss and four QB hits.
The interior of the Bills’ defensive line will be crucial against up-and-coming Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. Last week, Robinson ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Oliver is the leader of the Bills’ interior d-line, so look out for him to be a major force on Sunday.
CB Tre’Davious White
Tre’Davious White has looked good in pass coverage through two games. White went up against wide receivers Garrett Wilson in Week 1, and Davante Adams in Week 2. White has another test on Sunday going against Commanders receiver Terry McLaurin. McLaurin has seven catches for 85 yards and one touchdown in two games with the Commanders.
White struggled to fill gaps in the run game against the New York Jets in Week 1. Look for him to be physical and assist in the run game. As the season goes on, White should be able to take his game to another level.
Bills 27, Commanders 20
The Commanders come into this game 2-0. The Bills were able to bounce back last week against the Raiders to move to 1-1.
The Bills go into FedExField and it’s a dog fight. The run game might face some issues against the Commanders’ front seven, so this is a game where quarterback Josh Allen needs to get it done. I believe he does.
The Bills move to 2-1, and the Commanders suffer their first loss of the season.
The Bills face the Miami Dolphins in Week 4, in what should be a huge game for both teams.