In some ways the Buffalo Bills, a developing team coming off a 6-10 season, are like the New York Giants. Let’s learn more about them. Corey Giacovell of SB Nation’s Buffalo Rumblings offers some insights in this week’s ‘5 questions.’
Ed: Talk about Josh Allen’s development. How is he coming along, and is there a belief in Buffalo that they have found a 120-12-year franchise quarterback?
Corey: There has been obvious signs of Allen’s development but also signs that he still has some things to work on. Against the Jets, he had some ball security issues that were partly to blame for the four first half turnovers. Last season, Allen had the same issues so we would like him to take care of the football better. As for the positives, he looked more decisive and in control of the offense. He was reading the defense better and going through his progressives much faster. A main thing was his performance against the blitz. Allen was one of the worst in the league last year when getting blitzed but against the Jets he passed for over a hundred yards when facing it and was very successful. There is certainly the belief that he will be our QB for the foreseeable future but we realize there is still a way to go.
Ed: Buffalo’s first two draft picks, Ed Oliver and Cody Ford, are players many here at Big Blue View wanted the Giants to select at some point. What are the Bills getting from those two players?
Corey: On the defensive side Oliver can be that impact player up front that can disrupt any offense. Following Kyle Williams is no easy task but he has certainly been up to the task. Oliver had five quarterback pressures but was a problem all game long up front allowing other players to get in the lanes to make the tackles. Oliver was actually the highest rated Bills player on defense for his performance. On offense Ford can be a solid piece on the offensive line. The benefit he has is that not all the pressure in the world on him. On Sunday, he split reps pretty much down the middle with Ty Nesheke at tackle. This will only benefit Ford in the long run because he is learning from a veteran and he already has the skills to be a great lineman in the league.
Ed: The Bills won six games a year ago. What are reasonable expectations this year?
Corey: We are not sure what to think when it comes to the Bills. Reasonable would probably be the 8-8 record that fans are used to seeing almost every year but this team has the potential to take it to the next level. The defense will continue to show up and play each and every week but the key will be the offense. Many times in the past when Buffalo has a great defense, the offense is unable to put points on the board. If Allen can take the next step and consistently get the team down the field for points and keep the defense fresh in the fourth quarter then this team will be interesting to watch going forward.
Ed: You can take one player off the Giants’ roster not named Saquon Barkley to put in your starting lineup. who are you taking and why?
Corey: I would go with tight end Evan Engram. It has been quite some time since the Bills had an impact tight end and Engram could be that guy. He was impressive against Dallas catching 11 balls for 116 yards and a touchdown. Engram is an athletic guy that can make an impact especially in the passing game. Pairing him up with Saquon is a problem for defenses because if you focus too much on Barkley then Engram will kill you in the play action game.
Ed: The Bills win Sunday if? The Giants win Sunday if?
Corey: The Bills will win Sunday if they can prevent Saquon Barkley from taking over the game. I am not saying they have to shut him down completely but at least limit him to no game changing plays. One thing with the Bills defense is that they wont give up 20 plus yard plays. If they can do that they have a good chance to come away with a victory as long as the offense can put up some points. On the flip side, the Giants will win if they can get some turnovers and capitalize on them. The problem with the Jets last week is they did the first part of that sentence but not the second. If NY can get some points off possible turnovers then it will tough for the Bills to come back in this game. Pound the ball with Barkley to tire out the defense before going for the kill in crunch time.