Getaway: What’s going on with the Bills?
The Bills are playing with a lot of pressure, but the offense and defense still seem to be finding ways to keep things humming.
What happens when things slow down for the Bills on Sunday?
How will things look at the end of the season?
Will they make the playoffs?
The answer to all of those questions, of course, is: “They’re going to lose!”
So what is the answer?
Here are five questions that the Bills are asking themselves.
Can they slow down?
Last year, the Bills’ offense was the third-best in the NFL, scoring 28.7 points per game and allowing just 18.3 points per contest.
That’s not quite the same story this year, though, as the Bills have a new offensive coordinator, new quarterback and a new wide receiver.
The Bills had three games this season with passing scores of 30 or more yards.
They were 4-of-10 in those games.
So if the Bills don’t find a way to slow down and not allow many big plays, the offense will be a mess.
The best answer for this one is simple: “I don’t know!”
The Bills’ defense has been much better than the offense this season, which is a good thing.
They allowed just 18 rushing yards per game last year, and that figure jumped to 35.3 yards per contest this year.
So there’s plenty of room for improvement.
But if they can slow down a bit and not make too many big throws, the defense will be able to hold up. 2.
Can the Bills hold up?
After going on a three-game winning streak against the Jaguars and Falcons in Week 13, the Buffalo defense gave up an average of 21.4 points per outing during that span.
In a Week 14 loss to the Dolphins, the Patriots scored 18 points, but that was a huge difference in volume than it was in points allowed per game.
With the Bills having been in a three, four and five-game losing streak, they need to stay healthy for a playoff run.
It’s not just about stopping Brady and the Patriots, though.
If the Bills can slow the game down, they could make a run at the division crown and potentially get a first-round bye.
Can Tyrod Taylor keep up?
With the addition of second-year wide receiver Corey Coleman, the new Bills’ top target has been the best in the league.
The only other player to catch at least 100 passes for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in a season was rookie quarterback Kellen Winslow in 2014.
Taylor has caught at least 50 passes for 2,000, and he’s been as productive as they come.
Taylor will need to hold on to his job as the top receiver, but it could help if he can keep his targets high and make good reads.
That won’t be easy, though; Taylor has yet to record more than seven catches and five touchdowns in two games.
Can a defense keep up its production?
Buffalo has allowed just 19.3 rushing yards a game and 10 rushing touchdowns, but its defense is allowing just 8.5 yards per carry and a league-low 3.4 yards per play.
That could be the difference between getting the Bills into the playoffs and not, depending on how the game goes.
With Taylor out, the defensive line and secondary will need help.
If they can keep the game in the red zone, it could be enough to get the Bills to the postseason.
But it will be an uphill battle.
Will the Bills keep pace with the Patriots?
This is a tough one for Bills fans.
If there’s a team that can’t keep pace in the AFC East, it’s the New England Patriots.
In six games, the Pats have averaged 19.5 points per matchup and have outscored their opponents by 27.6 points per 100 possessions.
If you’re looking for reasons why the Bills shouldn’t be playing in the division, look no further than this one: The Bills have given up 17 touchdowns to the Patriots this season.
That includes three in Week 14.
With Brady’s suspension, the Colts could be playing a much different offense than they did last year.
The Patriots have struggled to find a consistent running game in recent weeks, and the Bills defense will have to adjust to a different scheme.
Will it work?
There’s no way to know for sure, but based on what the Bills did in Week 15, they should be able for at least one of those three to hold them off.
And if they don’t, that means that it could all come down to one team: the Patriots.