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When this game was originally revealed on the schedule, few thought it would consist of two of the top three teams in football. While the Buffalo Bills are just about on par with their expected record, the Minnesota Vikings have sailed past all expectations.
The Bills have the third-ranked offense and the top-ranked scoring defense. This team is elite.
Well, if the Bills are elite, the Vikings should be considered -- good. Minnesota's scoring offense ranks eighth in the NFL, and their defense has improved to 12th in the league. They're like a poor man's version of the Bills, only none of their strengths are as strong as Buffalo's, and their weaknesses are even weaker.
Buffalo has one of the best passing offenses in football, and while their running game may not be wildly productive, they are efficient. The Bills average 5.1 yards per tote, which ranks fifth in the NFL.
Minnesota's passing offense doesn't have the same explosiveness we see in Buffalo. The Vikings average 5.9 yards per attempt, which ranks 20th in the NFL, on par with their rushing average, which also ranks 20th. It's wild, the Vikings have some great skill position players, but their offense has yet to open up like Buffalo's can in an instant.
At the end of the day, the Vikings are a technically sound team that limits turnovers, has cut down on penalties (third-fewest penalized team), and plays strong in fourth quarters, but they can be beaten.
Buffalo Bills vs. Vikings game details, where to watch
- Sunday, November 13, 2022
- Start time: 1:00 PM ET
- TV channel - FOX
- Location - Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
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Matchups to watch
- Stefon Diggs and Justin Jefferson
We might have the two best wide receivers in football taking the field on Sunday. Ironically, Jefferson essentially became the direct replacement for Diggs. Selected with the same pick the Bills traded for Diggs, it's impossible to say either team 'lost' this trade.
Diggs immediately helped turn around the Buffalo pass offense and stayed on top of the game, leading the NFL in receiving yards in 2020. Meanwhile, Jefferson gained the most receiving yards in a player's first two seasons in NFL history.
Both are incredible route-runners who display fantastic footwork and have a knack for coming back to the ball in clutch moments. They're not the biggest, the fastest, or the most physically imposing, but it's hard to argue there are many receivers who are consistently better than what they've been born with. (Tyreek Hill is just a freak, let's forget him).
For the record, Diggs is third in the NFL with 857 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, and Jefferson is second, with 867 yards but only three touchdowns.
- Von Miller vs. Christian Darrisaw (Vikings LT)
Buffalo's best acquisition this past offseason has to be Von Miller, by far. Already having tallied seven sacks, we can all forget about the possibility of the 33-year-old edge rusher losing his spark.
The Vikings also have one of the game's top young left tackles in football with 2021 first-round pick Christian Darrisaw. Pro Football Focus has Darrisaw graded as the second-best left tackle in football, and he hasn't given up a sack all season.
But we still give Miller the advantage, as he's the experienced All-Pro, and Darrisaw is still a young pup who hasn't seen all the moves these wily vets have to offer.
- Bills in the trenches vs. Vikings pass rush
Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter have proven to be a ferocious pass rush. Yet, with both coming off major injuries, there was a lot of uncertainty regarding their future production heading into the season. But Smith, in particular, has gotten back to being one of the most feared sack artists in football, generating an NFL-leading 46 pressures through Week 9. The dangerous duo has combined for 13.5 sacks. Buffalo's top tandem has combined for 12 sacks, so the Bills are right there with this group.
Buffalo's offensive line got manhandled against the Jets. That simply cannot happen again. Especially if it's Keenum under center, who has a keen sense of awareness in the pocket but won't be hurdling defenders on the run.
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Buffalo Bills vs. Vikings game prediction
- This season's record: Buffalo Bills 6-2, 1st in AFC East
- Minnesota Vikings: 7-1, 1st in NFC North
There isn't a player more impactful in Buffalo than Josh Allen. If he can't suit up due to his elbow injury, the Vikings immediately become favorites, but that doesn't leave the Bills without hope. They say you are as good as your record states, but the Vikes are outperforming themselves thus far.
If Allen can't go, this becomes a tasty revenge game for Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs. While Diggs may have wanted to depart the Twin Cities, Keenum did not. After leading the team to a Minneapolis Miracle win over the Saints, thanks in large part to Diggs' magical footwork, all Keenum got rewarded with was a ticket out of town to be replaced by Kirk Cousins. He may no longer be starter material, but there's a reason the Bills brought in Keenum. He can still provide a spark on game day, especially so against his former team with the QB who replaced him on the opposite sideline.
Same thing goes for Leslie Frazier. Sure, he leads the NFL's top defense now, and he's made a strong case to become a head coach again, but his first chance at the gig came in Minnesota. Frazier went 21-32-1 across parts of four seasons at the helm in Minnesota. He was able to lead the team to a 10-6 record in his third season before getting fired the following year. You don't think there's some level of Frazier that wants to show the Wilf ownership group they made the wrong call nine years ago?
In other words, there are several players on the Bills who want to prove their mettle. We may not think a team as good as Buffalo could enter this matchup with so many chips on their shoulders, but that's exactly what we're getting on Sunday afternoon.
The Bills are favored by Vegas by 3.5 points. This line will fluctuate heavily, depending on Allen's game status. And we may not know until the night before or the day of the game. Basically, if Allen plays, we should get a hard-fought Bills victory. But if he doesn't, we'll predict this score to flip in the Vikings' favor.
Game prediction: Bills 24, Vikings 20 - Bills victory
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