It’s been quite the week in Buffalo. Between record breaking temperatures, and the Bills sitting at the top of their division at 2-1, Buffalo seems to be content at the moment. Buffalo’s huge win on Sunday may have made a statement on how good this team, especially the defense, has been up until this point. With that said, they will face another extremely tough test this Sunday, as they take on the Atlanta Falcons down in Georgia.
Buffalo hasn’t given up more than 16 points in a game this year. On the other side, Atlanta has scored 23+ points in 12 straight games. Buffalo was 1 goalline play away from being 3-0, and Atlanta was 1 goalline play away from being 2-1. This weekend, one of those has got to give. This weeks key matchup will be how the Bills defensive backs match up against one of the best receiving corps in football.
Atlanta’s Passing Attack:
Atlanta’s passing attack is nothing short of fantastic. Lead by quarterback Matt Ryan, they can pick apart even the best passing defenses in the league. This season already, Atlanta is averaging 270 passing yards per game. As usual, the prolific receiver Julio Jones has 265, which averages to nearly 90 yards per game. Also in this core is Mohammed Sanu, Austin Hooper, and Taylor Gabriel. Each of the top 4 receivers averages 10 yards per catch, and Julio never fails to get open. Buffalo certainly has their work cut out for them on Sunday afternoon.
Bills Defensive Backs:
On the other side, Buffalo’s defense is as stingy as you can get. They’re ranked #1 in the league, giving up just 835 total yards and 37 points after 3 games, including a bout with Carolina in which they gave up just 3 points. Buffalo has averaged just 203 passing yards given up per game, which also equates to 5.0 yards per attempt. This Bills defense smothers offenses. Their ability to get pressure on the quarterback eases the job for the d-backs, but there’s still some doubt left in many critics minds. Jordan Poyer, Micha Hyde, Tre’Davious White, and EJ Gaines are Buffalo’s starters, and they balled out against Denver. White and Gaines both had picks, as well as several pass breakups. Poyer hits hard, and also has some pass breakups of his own. Tre’ White struggled at times versus Denver, but it didn’t take long for him to adjust and begin to shut down Siemian (who tried to pick on White a lot). I expect the Bills backs to be tested early and often.
How Buffalo Can Win the Matchup:
Until the Bills defense truly starts to get recognition, teams will have the same idea…throw it deep and test the rookie/experience of this defensive back grouping. I expect Tre White to be targeted many times throughout the day, and Atlanta will have to pay for it. White has shown he can bounce back after a bad series, and he has proven he’s got what it takes via his physical nature with receivers. Buffalo also has an advantage with their front 7. Matt Ryan is human, and can make mistakes under pressure.
Ryan has 3 picks on the season, and I’m more than positive that Ryan will be forced into at least one mistake on Sunday. It’s up to Buffalo to make Ryan uncomfortable and make him test the Bills corners. Gaines and White will need to play a physical matchup with Atlanta’s receivers, especially Julio, to knock them off their route early. On the far back end, expect Poyer and Hyde to play deeper than they usually might, as well as play a physical game on the deep balls thrown. It’s going to be a tough matchup for both sides, and the game will be decided by how effective Atlanta’s passing game can be against this tough Bills secondary. Thanks for reading, and as always, let’s go Buffalo!