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Friday Preview: Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills

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For the first time in 12 years, the Seattle Seahawks will travel to Orchard Park for a football game. Of course, the last time the Seahawks traveled to Buffalo for a “home” game, they actually had to travel north of the US border, as the game was played in the Rogers Centre in Toronto. It has been a while since Seattle has played at Bills Stadium, which has gone through two name changes since they were last here. If you would have asked me about this game a month ago, I would have guessed 70 points could have been scored given the pace of both offenses. Since then, the Bills’ scoring has slowed significantly, and the Seahawks’ scoring has not. I don’t think this will be the shootout that we once expected.

The Last Five

Seahawks 31 Bills 25 (2016)
Seahawks 50 Bills 17 (2012)
Bills 34 Seahawks 10 (2008)
Bills 38 Seahawks 9 (2004)
Seahawks 23 Bills 20 (2001)

When two teams play each other every four years, there is not much to gain when looking at their matchup history, especially considering the Bills virtually have a new team since their last matchup, which was also a Week 9 game played on Monday Night Football. Jerry Hughes is the only player that remains from the 2016 team, and if there was one player’s performance that the Bills wish they could replicate from that game, it would be Hughes. You might remember Hughes started that game off with a blocked punt and later added a sack. Overall, these two teams have faced each other 13 times in their history, with the Seahawks holding an 8-5 advantage.

What To Watch For: Bills

How To Attack Seattle – In my opinion, if the Bills want to beat the Seahawks then they cannot follow the script that they used against the Chiefs. I worry that the coaches will want to install a similar game plan considering the high-potent offenses that both teams have. After the Chiefs loss, McDermott sounded fine with the game plan, which was to concede the yards on the ground, keep the score close, and have a shot to win at the end. In McDermott’s defense, his team came close to doing that. If it wasn’t for a questionable 1pt conversion try, the Bills would have had an opportunity to tie the game on the final drive. I believe, and I think most fans do as well, that if they want to win this game they will have to do so in a shootout. After all, that is how they got to 4-0 in the first place and how they took down the Seahawks division rival Rams. Against an MVP caliber quarterback and a lethal offense, I think the Bills would be wise to gear up for a shootout and hope for a turnover or two.

Statement Game – These are the games that Sean McDermott’s Bills have struggled with for three and a half years. The Bills have little to no problem defeating the teams that they are significantly better than. But it is the teams that pose a greater challenge to the Bills, the top AFC and NFC contenders, they can’t seem to get over the hump against. We saw it earlier this season in their back-to-back losses against the Titans and Chiefs. Eventually, the Bills will need to start winning these games, unless they are content with being the Houston Texans: a team that makes the playoffs annually but is never really going anywhere besides the Wild Card round. This game doesn’t mean as much as the two games I mentioned prior from an AFC standings and seedings standpoint, but it does mean a great deal to the fans and NFL pundits that are waiting to see the Bills take the next step and win a football game against a team that most would consider better than them.

Josh Allen – The first eight games have been the tale of two halves for Josh Allen. During the first four games of the season, Allen was mentioned in the same sentence as his opposing quarterback this week for MVP consideration. Allen caught the national attention and the results followed. Since, Allen has been slightly above average. He has returned to the 2019 version of himself with more accuracy issues, especially downfield. Nobody expected Allen to keep up the pace that he set for himself during the first four weeks, but the Bills will need more from Allen than his performance in these last four games. Hopefully his average is somewhere in the middle of his first four games and his last four games this year.

What To Watch For: Seahawks

Future MVP – I firmly believe the 2020 NFL MVP will be playing at Bills Stadium on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Bills, he will be wearing navy and green. I have long said that Russell Wilson is the most underrated quarterback in the National Football League. He is deadly accurate both on the run and in the pocket and especially when throwing the ball downfield. According the NFL Next Gen stats, Wilson has a 146.8 passer rating when throwing the ball more than 20 yards on the right side of the field. For perspective, the league average is 73.2 and the next highest are Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Matt Ryan all around 137 passer rating.

DK Metcalf- DK Metcalf is a stud, and to be quite honest, the Bills missed on him. In their defense, the entire league missed on him, as he was drafted with the last pick in the second round. Beane traded up to draft Cody Ford and get OL help instead of bolstering their WR unit. To offset that, the Bills traded their first this year for Stefon Diggs. I am thrilled Diggs is on the team, but once in a while, watching Metcalf makes you wonder what last year would have been like if the Bills saw what the Seahawks saw in Metcalf and took him instead of Ford. One of the reasons why Russell Wilson has such an impressive passer rating downfield is because of Metcalf and his ability to run any route on the field from both sides of the ball. I took a look at where he does his most damage, and unfortunately for the Bills, there wasn’t just one answer to that. Expect Seattle to move Metcalf around the field, and for the Bills’ sake, hopefully, Tre’Davious White follows his every step.

LOB No More – The Seahawks have fallen quite a bit from their LOB (Legion of Boom) days that carried them to a Super Bowl victory. If Bills fans think their defense is a former shell of itself, I would like to know what Seahawks fans think of theirs. Seattle’s defense is ranked second to last in yards given up and last in passing yards. They are averaging a whopping 359 passing yards against per game through the first half of the season. As I mentioned earlier, if taking advantage of the Seahawks secondary is not part of the Bills’ game plan this week, I would be stunned.

Prediction

Seahawks 38 Bills 27 The Seahawks are a Super Bowl contender. It is incredible that they are considering how bad their defense is, but they have an offense that can score at-will against any opponent, which goes a long way in masking the defensive problems that they have. When the Bills were winning football games in the same manner, I also thought that they were Super Bowl caliber also. However, since their blazing hot start to the year, the offense, especially Josh Allen, has cooled down considerably. I think Seattle’s offensive firepower, combined with the Bills’ inability to match Seattle’s scoring, will prove to be too much for Buffalo to handle on Sunday, as the Bills will have to wait to get that statement win and assert themselves as a legitimate contender.

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