One of the narratives out there is that the Bills remaining schedule, while more difficult than the first 7 games, is pot marked with easy games against bad teams like Washington, Miami, Cleveland and the Jets.
A loss to a good Eagles team (who was only 3-4 coming in and was desperate) while concerning, isn’t a season crusher. The playoffs may be attainable just by winning the “easy games” against “bad teams”.
For me, this is just a total crock of crap. There are no “bad teams” and there are no easy games. The Bills could beat all of the teams on their remaining schedule or lose to all of them.
The Bills need to play to the standards they’ve set on defense and begin to show some semblance of a pulse and consistency on offense. As it was suggested in the Geezer’s pre game post last week, the Eagles took it right to the Bills defense.
The Bills did not “put on their big boy pants” for that game and got outmuscled and outplayed. The Eagles D was very strong against the run before the Bills game and while the weather conditions may have dictated a ground and pound approach, the reality was that it was going to be a futile exercise pounding away at Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.The Bills passing attack was not up to the challenge.
This brings us to the Washington game. Washington may have the most dysfunctional management and front office in all of football, but I advise you not to sleep on this Washington defense.
You may not have heard of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Loannidis and Montez Sweat, but that D line is a HANDFUL. They are aggressive, hustle and attack QB’s.
They also have solid veteran NFL players like Ryan Kerrigan, Landon Collins and Jon Bostic. They are coming off games against the undefeated 49ers whom they held to 9 points in Washington (in the rain admittedly) and the Vikings who they held to 19 points on the road. This is a good, young, aggressive D with a lot of talent in their front seven.
It is on the other side of the ball that they have their major issues. Case Keenum, should he get out of concussion protocol, offers a Ryan Fitzpatrick type approach to quarterbacking.
He can make lots of throws, is competent and can run an offense but is not elite by any stretch of the imagination. If Dwayne Haskins, the 15th pick in the entire draft out of Ohio State, has to be QB because of Keenum’s concussion, it will be a Washington nightmare.
Reports out of DC are that he has had troubles learning and mastering the offense much less figuring out opposing defenses. Four INTs in 22 passes is beyond even a Peterman level of quarterbacking. He does, however, have a strong accurate arm.
Interim Washington coach Bill Callahan is from the old school ground and pound school of coaching. To that end, they have a ground and pound master in Adrian Peterson. Peterson has close to 400 yards rushing this year and is 6th all time among NFL running backs with 13,701 yards.
He is only 400 yards short of 5th place. Peterson is still productive, despite running behind a below average O line that is missing the recalcitrant star, left tackle Trent Williams. He is one of the best at that position since being drafted in 2010.
The Redskins also have a developing star receiver in Terry McLaurin, a 3rd round pick out of Ohio State. He is built along the lines of John Brown, though maybe a touch taller and a hair faster. He has 28 catches for 459 yards and five touchdowns in half a season.
The point of all of this is not to overwhelm you with stats. It is to point out that the Redskins are not going to be a pushover. It may well be a very difficult slog on offense against this team and the Bills offense is not dynamic enough or explosive enough to run away from anyone.
The Vegas over/under on this game is 37 points, the lowest over/under total for an NFL game this year. If the Bills D is not up to it again in the front seven, it becomes a losable game. My hope is that losing the way they did to the Eagles last week will sharpen the Bills focus and increase the urgency. I think we are going to learn a lot about where the Bills are in their development in these upcoming games.
It is clear to me that there is still a ways to go but they have improved from 2018. How far they need to go to be a true contender remains to be seen.
Editor’s babble: This game bothers me for all the reasons Joe explained. Thanks to Joe Tauriello for his insightful contributions to our blog. You can find Joe on Twitter @Joe_Tauriello.