Well, here we are again. Another chance to clinch the division, and this time, the game is at Mile High. Really, this game against the Bills is both interesting, and a little bit scary to me.
For what it's worth, I think the plan to avoid knowing the outcome of the Chargers-Bucs game is very smart. I want to see the Broncos come out on Sunday, and be ready to play well and win this game, regardless of what happens in Tampa, or anywhere else. Then, I'd like to see the Broncos go to San Diego looking to win another game and finish 10-6. It's definitely worth the risk of injuries to go legitimately beat the Chargers on the road, so that everybody can shut up about the Hochuli situation.
What Buffalo Looks Like On Video
In a word, the Bills are kind of amorphous on defense. They seem like they want to play a lot of Cover-2, but I wouldn't call them a Tampa 2 team. Specifically, they don't drop Paul Posluszny as deep into coverage as your average Tampa 2 team does with their Mike linebacker. As HT pointed out yesterday in his always-excellent Chalk Talk, the Bills' linebacking corps is not a bunch of small quick guys that cover really well.
I think Buffalo is kind of program-less in general, and I can't figure out what kind of defense they want to be. Bringing in a Kawika Mitchell indicates that you want to play like the Giants, and use the Sam backer as a 5th rusher a lot, because he is not that useful moving backward. But then, I don't see them blitzing him that much when I watch them. It kind of makes me scratch my head. When I looked up their Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell on buffalobills.com to try to learn more about him and his background, clicking on his name links to Dick Jauron's page, which is kind of idiotic.
Anyway, the 2 DTs are good, and the secondary is good. I think the linebackers and DEs are average at best. The Bills will not be able to get anything resembling pressure by rushing 4 men. They will need to blitz, which they aren't afraid to do sometimes. When they show blitz, my impression was that they actually do bring it way more often than not. I saw Leon Washington take a screen 40 yards against a Buffalo blitz in the Week 9 game, which indicates some vulnerability.
Attacking the Bills Defense
There needs to be a return to running the football in this game. The Bills can be run on, particularly on the edges, because their ends and linebackers aren't speedsters. I think Tatum Bell or Selvin Young needs to step up and take care of business in this game, and break some long runs on the outside, and in the screen game. I think running inside will be difficult, mostly because of the RB personnel situation. Peyton Hillis could move it inside, but I don't think any of the current guys are stout enough to.
Assuming you can run well enough to get the Bills out of Cover-8, I think there are opportunities in the passing game, especially with the Tight Ends. Donte Whitner is a very good SS for the Bills, but they don't have anybody who can guard Scheffler or Graham down the field one-on-one. Terrance McGee is a pretty good corner for the Bills, but he's 5-10, and Brandon Marshall should be able to make plays with his size. I also don't think too much of Jabari Greer's chances to guard Eddie Royal well. I'd like to see the Broncos get him downfield more than they have been.
In the final analysis, this is a winnable game, and the Bills are an attackable defense. I expect that the lack of edge speed will be exploited, and the Broncos will be able to light up the scoreboard, and clinch the AFC West.