After a disappointing loss abroad last weekend, the Buffalo Bills return to the United States with a chance to rebound from their second loss of the season. This week, they face Brian Daboll’s New York Giants, whom appear to be on the brink of a disastrous season. Will Buffalo’s first primetime home game of the year be a “get right” game? Or is there a legitimate chance for a Giant upset? Let’s take a look.
The Last Five
Bills 28 Giants 14 (2019)
Giants 24 Bills 10 (2015)
Giants 27 Bills 24 (2011)
Giants 38 Bills 21 (2007)
Bills 24 Giants 7 (2003)
Despite being very close geographically, these teams rarely play due to being in the opposite conference. The last time was Week 2 in 2019, which was Josh Allen’s first full year as a starter. As was the case last week against the Jaguars, these two teams come into this game with the all-time series in a dead heat. The Bills and Giants have played 14 times, with each team winning 7.
What To Watch For: Buffalo Bills
“New” Defense – New defense, you say? It sure is. Despite having the same scheme and same coaches, once you lose the All-Pro quarterback of your defense, an All-Pro cornerback, and one of your best defensive lineman all in a matter of 2 quarters of gametime, you might as well call yourself a new defense. Sean McDermott’s crew was on fire to start the year. Even last week, down the players that they were, the defense gave Josh Allen and the offense ample opportunities to win the game. I still expect the Buffalo Bills defense to be great, but expecting them to be elite given their injuries seems unfair. The Bills thrive on their “next man up” mentality. Well they will have countless opportunities to practice what they preach from now until the end of the year.
A Man Not Named Diggs/Davis – Going into the offseason it was determined that the Buffalo Bills needed more weapons for Josh Allen. The team added Deonte Harty and Trent Sherfield in free agency. They also drafted the best tight end prospect in Dalton Kincaid. So far, the Bills’ passing attack has consisted of two men: Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. Between the two, they have accounted for 60% of Josh Allen’s passing yards and 82% of his passing touchdowns. Hardy and Sherfield have been almost non-existent and a look into Kincaid’s routes and usage in the offense is concerning; it’s something that Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey said this week needs to be fixed. For a team that was intending to have success in 2-TE sets this year, they have been unable to get either tight end involved enough up to this point.
Run Game – The Bills run game disappeared in London and, with it, any chance of winning the game. Without a balanced attack, or even the threat of a run game, the Bills were unable to keep the Jaguars from honing in the passing game. James Cook’s career stat line was worse when he left the field on Sunday than when he ran onto it. He finished with -4 yards. As a team, the Bills finished with 29 rushing yards, their lowest single-game total since 2020 and their 8th lowest in franchise history. During Buffalo’s 3-game win streak, the run game performed at a high level and the results could not be denied. McDermott has long asked for a balanced attack, and it would be wise for the Bills to give him one.
What To Watch For: New York Giants
Tyrod Taylor Revenge Game? – As if a home night game in Buffalo isn’t juicy enough, the quarterback who ended the once-longest playoff drought in the league will be starting on the other side of the field. Giants starting QB Daniel Jones is out Sunday night due to a neck injury. Jones has not been good this year and Giants fans are already expressing concerns about the contract the tea, gave him. While McDermott had a full year of Tyrod Taylor up close and personal, Tyrod has not played consistently since 2017. That unknown, combined with his desire to stick it to the team that traded him away because they felt they could upgrade the position (breaking news: they could, and did!), has me on the edge of my seat.
Daboll’s Return – Brian Daboll is an interesting case to Bills fans. When he was the offensive coordinator, Buffalo fans wanted him gone on a weekly basis. Sound familiar? There is a saying that the backup quarterback is the most popular player on the team. If that is true, then offensive coordinator is the least popular. Last year, as the Bills offense struggled, many fans forgot about the complaints they had of Daboll the previous year. Fast forward to this season and a slumping 1-4 Giants team with the look of a lost quarterback, Daboll’s honeymoon in New
York Jersey appears to be over. Most of those Bills fans are no longer wishing he was back in the booth in Buffalo.
Sunday will be an emotional night for Brian Daboll, a Buffalo native, coaching in his first game back home as a head coach. There are few men in the league that know Josh Allen as well as Brian Daboll. Fans have expressed concern this week over his knowledge of Allen and the Bills offense. However, knowing Allen and the offense and being able to stop them are two different things. It’s a lot easier said than done. Personally, I would not worry about that if I were Bills fans.
Run, Run, Run – The New York Giants’ gameplan should be simple going into this game… Run. Regardless of the quarterback under center and regardless of the Bills’ question marks at cornerback opposite Christian Benford, any team facing the Bills right now should run the ball as often as they can. Defensively, the Bills are ranked 31st in rushing yards allowed per play and 25th in rushing yards allowed per game.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they are not having much success running the ball this year. Saquon Barkley and Co. are averaging only 92 rushing yards per game, good for 23rd in the league. Holistically as an offense, the Giants are dead last, averaging just 255 yards per game. While running the ball is the best path to beat the Bills, it appears the Giants might not even be able to muster up anything significant when they have the ball, making their path to victory that much harder.
Buffalo Bills 31 New York Giants 13. Wanting to wash away the memories from their failed trip to London last week, I expect the Bills to come out firing at home on Sunday Night. As the stats suggest, the Giants are quite bad. No amount of injures will be able to save Brian Daboll’s unit from Josh Allen and the Bills.
Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports