The Denver Broncos will faceoff against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. After a big win against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, the Broncos have improved to 3-5 on the season and are riding a wave of confidence at the BYE. Standing in the way of their playoff aspirations are the Bills who are 5-4 on the year and coming off a Week 9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
It’s not out of line to say this might be the biggest game remaining on the schedule the rest of the season. A win would put them at 4-5 and smack dab in the middle of a Wild Card playoff berth, but a loss would drop them to 3-6 and vanquish any legitimate shot they have at the post-season.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the Buffalo Bills, some of their key players, and what the Broncos can to do secure a must-win game on the road.
2022 Buffalo Bills Review
The Buffalo Bills were 13-3 and finished first in the AFC East, but were defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals in their AFC Divisional Round matchup. Their offense ranked second in points scored and yards accumulated and their defense was second in points allowed and sixth in yards allowed.
2023 Offseason Moves and Acquisitions
The Bills had a strong roster and didn’t have to make too many splashes in free agency to round out their team. Connor McGovern was their biggest signing and has been a plug-and-play starter at guard for them this season. Additionally, they were able to bring in pass rusher Leonard Floyd on a one-year deal. Their draft class brought them two instant impact starters in O’Cyrus Torrence and Dalton Kincaid—who have both impressed in their rookie campaigns.
The Bills Offensive X-Factor — Josh Allen
Buffalo’s offensive X-Factor is quite obvious. Since being drafted out of Wyoming in 2018, Allen has embarked on an incredible ascension in the pros and solidified him as one of the game’s best quarterbacks. There is no doubt that fans across Broncos Country often wonder “What if?” had John Elway decided to pick him as opposed to Bradley Chubb.
In 85 career starts Allen is 57-28. This season, he is 5-4 at the helm of the Bills offense and is completing a career high 71.3% of his passes. He already has 2,423 yards through the air and 18 touchdowns—but is tied for the league high in interceptions throwing 9 in the first nine games of the year. It’s never easy stopping Allen, but he has had numerous games where he has made some very questionable throws.
If the Broncos want to boost their chances of winning on Monday Night Football, generating pressure and getting after Allen is paramount. Forcing him into a bad decision or two could help change the tide of the game and help keep the momentum in Denver’s favor. Let’s hope Vance Joseph’s defense can continue to play good ball and limit Allen’s impact on the game as a thrower and rusher.
The Bills Defensive X-Factor — Leonard Floyd
After notching back-to-back 9 sack seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, Leonard Floyd surprisingly didn’t receive a ton of interest on the open market. Months went by and the NFL Draft came and he still wasn’t on anyone’s roster. That change in early June when the eighth year pro signed one-year deal with the Bills.
So far, so good for the former Georgia Bulldog. In nine games this year, he already has 7 sacks which is Top 12 in the National Football League. Additionally he has racked up 28 tackles, 14 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. The Bills have some good players on their defensive front seven with Ed Oliver, A.J. Epenesa and DaQuan Jones, who have done a good job generating pressure and giving Floyd an opportunity to shine off the edge.
Floyd has been one of the best free agent acquisitions of the year. Without question, he has shined in the absence of longtime Broncos legend Von Miller, who has only seen a little over 100 snaps defensively this year. Throwing in an extra tight end to chip Floyd in clear passing situations would be a smart move for the Broncos who have struggled to keep pass rushers at bay—especially on the right side off the offensive line.
The Formula for Beating Buffalo
The Bills are a solid team, but they aren’t as good as people thought they were heading into the season. They have endured their fair share of injuries and suffered several gut-wrenching losses in their first half of the season.
This is a game I expected to be a loss at the beginning of the year, but my tune on that has changed. The have one significant weakness the Broncos can exploit and that’s their horrendous run defense. Through nine games, they have already given up over 1,000 yards on the ground with teams averaging nearly 5 yards per carry going against them.
With that in mind, a solid and consistent rushing attacked fueled by Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin sounds like a recipe for success. I’m not sure the Broncos want to try and outduel Allen in a shootout, so I expect a healthy dose of running and a ball control centric offense to help keep Buffalo’s Top 5 offense at bay.
If the Broncos can do this, cause a turnover or two and keep playing great defense in the red zone—they have a real shot at securing a big victory on the road on Monday. A win will give the Broncos a realistic shot at the playoffs. A loss will most certainly crumble their chances completely.
Denver’s win against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago was their biggest win since Super Bowl 50. Monday Night’s matchup against Buffalo just might be their most important game of the year. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.