Stand down, everyone. You can return your pitchforks to your local hardware store because the 2023 Buffalo Bills season is not about to go up in flames. Balance was restored in the Bills’ universe last week with their 38-10 walloping of the Raiders. This week, the Bills will look to make it two in a row against an upstart 2-0 Washington Commanders team.
The Last Five
Bills 43 Football Team 21 (2021)
Bills 24 Redskins 9 (2019)
Redskins 35 Bills 25 (2015)
Bills 23 Redskins 0 (2011)
Bills 17 Redskins 16 (2007)
Sunday will be the Bills’ first game against the Washington Commanders, the third version of the Washington football franchise. The last time these two teams played in 2021, oddly enough also in Week 3, the franchise was called the Washington Football Team. Prior to that the franchise was known as the Washington Redskins. The Bills lead the overall series 10-6, and that includes an 8-1 record in their last nine games against them.
What To Watch For: Buffalo Bills
Time For More WR Impact? – Two games is a very small sample size, but so far we have seen a philosophical change on the offensive side of the ball, and it is one that we might have expected after the Bills drafted Dalton Kincaid in the first round. Erik Turner over at Cover 1, highlighted the passing game positional distribution on Twitter this week. Here it is:
In 2022: WR – 63.2% (3rd), TE – 14.6% (31st), RB – 18.6% (18th)
In 2023: WR – 50% (25th), TE – 25.3% (7th), RB – 21.8% (8th)
This is quite a change, and the jury is still out on if it is working for Buffalo. The Bills struggled against the Jets defense, but had tremendous success against the Raiders. As these weeks pass by, we will get more data. Should the team be making more of an effort to get WRs involved? Trent Sherfield has not even been targeted this year and Deonte Harty has a measly 5 receptions for 13 yards. They would be wise to continue to target Davis as much as they did last week; the Bills are 12-1 when Gabriel Davis has over 60 yards receiving.
Sam Howell vs. Sean McDermott – Sean McDermott and his defensive staff have an impressive track record against young quarterbacks. Sam Howell will be making his fourth career start on Sunday against the Bills and you can bet McDermott will have a trick or two up his sleeve to confuse the young quarterback. Make no mistake about it, Howell deserves credit for getting his team to 2-0 and not being the reason his team lost yet. But the Bills are on a much different level than the Cardinals and Broncos. Disguised coverage and pressure from various spots will be the name of the game on Sunday. The Bills have another great chance to win the turnover battle, much like they did last weekend.
What To Watch For: Washington Commanders
Buy or Sell? – The Buffalo Bills are the perfect opponent for the Commanders at the perfect time. Despite a 2-0 start, there are some doubters out there who question just how good Washington is. After all, their first win came against the Arizona Cardinals and last week they mounted a 4th quarter comeback against the absolute tire fire Denver Broncos. Their point differential through two games is just +6. They are looking for a statement win to show the world that they are for real. Although, Vegas isn’t buying it, depending on where you look they are somewhere between 6 and 8-point underdogs at home.
Brian Robinson – While the Commanders don’t have any superstars on offense that jump off the page at you, second year running back Brian Robinson has had a fast start to the season, picking up right where he left off at the end of last year. Robinson rushed for 87 yards last week, averaging nearly 5 yards per rush, and found the end zone twice. He also added 42 yards through the air. Look for the Commanders to test the Bills’ run defense early so they can establish Robinson as a factor in this game. Although, it might be a tall ask as the Bills just held the reigning NFL rushing champ to his worst game as a pro: -2 yards on 9 attempts.
Buffalo Bills 34 Washington Commanders 16. I think we see another impressive game from the Bills as the team continues to get the bad taste from the MNF opener out of their mouths. One thing to note in this game is the potential for some difficult weather in the DC area this weekend. If that does happen, we might be in for a sloppier game from both sides, but I wouldn’t expect it the change the outcome of this game. The Bills should win this comfortably ahead of a massive game next weekend against Miami.
Featured Image Credit: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports