Week 8 Bills Preview: This is the Statement Game
Writer: Alex James
Editor: Brandon Caputo
Photo Credit: Wade Payne via qctimes.com
Coming off the bye week, it feels like forever since the Buffalo Bills have taken the field. To make matters worse was how the Bills entered the bye, with a frustrating loss to the Titans on Monday Night Football. This result was especially tough for fans because of how well the Bills played the week prior against the Chiefs. The win against the Chiefs felt like the Bills asserted themselves as an elite team to be feared across the NFL, breezing by the team who ended their Super Bowl run last year.
Video Credit: More Deevo on Youtube via National Football League
However, only a week later and a frustrating finish against Tennessee, the negativity across social media was forefront and loud. Bills fans were not happy, and rightfully so; but it's time to move on, learn from those losses against Pittsburgh and Tennessee, regroup and dominate the rest of the season.
Last season, the Bills lost the heartbreaker game against the Cardinals prior to the bye week. Upon return, the Bills won 8 straight games (2 of those playoffs games) and it seemed like the majority of issues were fixed during the week off. We can assume that McDermott and Co., have done the same during the bye this year, by analyzing the weaknesses shown during the two losses, and rejuvenate confidence back with the boys that we have seen in increments over the last 2 years.
AFC East Standings (Through 7 Weeks)
Provided by Google via National Football League
The Bills play long-time rivals Miami Dolphins at home on Sunday afternoon in what should be a foretelling afternoon for where this team is heading for the rest of the season. The Dolphins are coming off a nail biting loss to the Falcons and are 1-6 on the season, with one of those losses already against the Bills being shutout at home 35-0 at home. The Bills do have some positives to build-off from the Titans game.
First, Allen threw for 350 yards, while the team totalled 400+ yards. On the teams stat sheet, the Bills were triumphant over the Titans in almost every category (except rushing yards, 4th down conversions and the final score), and will look to continue dominating all aspects of the game against Miami.
A major key to this game (and for the rest of the season) is converting red-zone opportunities. The Bills were 2 for 5 in the red-zone against the Titans, with a visit there in the final minute, only to be stuffed on 4th down on the 3 yard-line. The Bills need to be better in the red-zone, simple as that. You cant win a Super Bowl by wasting opportunities and kicking field goals.
Team Stats provided by teamrankings.com
The second & final key to Bills success is the decision-making/play-calling, especially during 4th down situations. The Bills have a 37% success rate on 4th down conversions this season, a big difference from the 80% conversion rate they finished off with last season (which was first in the NFL). The Bills have already attempted 4th downs eight times this year, while last season there were 10 attempts total.
Is it possible the Bills are being too aggressive because of last years success in going for it? Have teams realized the QB sneak and/or Allen run is inevitable put all their eggs in one basket to stop him? There are definitely questions that would have been addressed during the bye week, and it’ll be interesting to see how the aggressive the Bills are going forward in these situations.
Provided by StatMuse.com
As of Thursday, Dawson Knox is the only player ruled out for Sunday’s matchup, while Spencer Brown and Justin Zimmer are dealing with injuries that will be monitored up until Sunday. It's expected to be 50 degrees on Sunday with a 60% chance of showers and heavy humidity. If this is the case, expect a lower scoring affair all while Buffalo dominate the Dolphins.
This is the game where Buffalo shows the rest of the league they are still to be feared, and as a team are able to make the necessary adjustments throughout the season after tough games.
Circle The Wagons,
(Analytics/Statistics from www.espn.com & http://www.footballdb.com )