It wasn’t too long ago the Buffalo Bills helped to begin the Drew Lock era by thoroughly embarrassing Brandon Allen. After the Broncos’ backup quarterback flailed helplessly through four quarters in the New York winds, he lost his starting job. Lock stepped in for the final five games and the Broncos rolled to a 4-1 victory.
This time around, Lock gets a crack at the Bills. With a tight race in the AFC playoffs on the line, they won’t make it easy. To get an idea how Denver can steal the victory, I stoke to Buffalo Rumblings’ Corey Giacovelli
1st and 10
Josh Allen’s been incredible all season and the Bills offense has become one of the best in football. What can the Broncos defense do to slow him down minus their three top cornerbacks? Allen’s been a redzone and short yardage his whole career. Is there anything specific that he likes to do around the endzone?
Giacovelli: You have to put pressure on him and try to force him into some mistakes. We saw in the Steelers game when they brought pressure that there were a couple of times they were able to hit his arm while throwing. This obviously caused the ball to go off target and led to one of the interceptions. It is hard because now Allen stays composed when facing pressure and is able to make the right read in a short amount of time. Try to get him guessing at the line of scrimmage about who is and isn’t coming on the blitz. As for Allen in the redzone he has yet to throw an interception so he understands the importance of hanging onto the football at that end of the field. He started off his career with more runs in the redzone to do it himself but now he is going throw his reads for passing touchdowns and relying on running the ball as a last resort.
Allen has the #1 adjusted completion percentage in the NFL from a clean pocket, and #14 when pressured, per @PFF. If you can't get to him, you've got no chance. https://t.co/ys212g1SOD— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) December 12, 2020
2nd and 3
I’ve noticed Buffalo’s offense is really good attacking the edges, but weaker in the middle than the last time these two met. What will Brian Dabol do to establish the run?
Giacovelli: The Bills like to run those zone reads to try to get their running backs on the outside. They did a good job against the Steelers running to the opposite side of where the blitz was coming, especially in the fourth quarter when they were trying to ice the game. Sometimes though, Buffalo tries to establish the running game through the passing game actually by hitting the running backs on little swing routes outside the numbers and letting the receivers block for them.
3rd and 8
The Broncos run game has really turned in on since the Raiders game. On top of their typical zone plays, have had success with power, trap, an pin-and-pull lately. What do you expect to work most against the Bill’s defensive front?
Giacovelli: At the start of the season, Buffalo had struggles with the run it down your throat type of football. They were not getting penetration up front and they were getting gashed up the middle. This has gotten a lot better recently with the return of Matt Millano from injury and Tremaine Edmunds getting back to 100 percent. The team has had trouble in the past defending the screen game so that may be the route to go to get the job done.
Moar screens. Moar. pic.twitter.com/EK3fqQeVKR— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 13, 2020
4th and inches
How do you expect Leslie Frazier to attack Drew Lock? What could the Broncos do to find success through the air?
Giacovelli: I expect Frazier to crowd the line of scrimmage to confuse Lock on who is coming on the blitz. The defense has been clicking on all cylinders lately, and the guys up front are getting to the quarterback and quickly. On the back side of the defense, the secondary is making tackles in the open field and allowing very little run after catch. The best way to find success would be to lock to Noah Fant against the linebackers and safeties. Use Fant’s abilities to your advantage to get a lot of yards down the middle of the field.
Drew Lock finds Noah Fant to convert the Broncos first third and long. pic.twitter.com/r5FBPu8F7r— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 7, 2020
What’s your prediction for the game?
Giacovelli: The Broncos have a tough defense that always keeps them into the games. However, everything seems to be going right for Buffalo lately and they have to seize the moment to claim the division for the first time since 1995. 27-17 Bills.
Who ya got?
This poll is closed
Broncos by a lot.
Broncos by a little.
Bills by a lot.
Bills by a little.