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Coming off a 35-0 shutout victory where the Buffalo Bills squished the Phish, the Herd now faces the task of taking on one of the most formidable defenses in the NFL.
The Bills were able to knock Miami’s starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out of the game early, whereas the Washington Football Team are already down to their second-string QB. Taylor Heinicke’s last name may sound like a clean synonym for describing one’s rear end, but the Bills are hoping his play resembles his namesake as well.
Though he’s a backup, Heinicke’s a good enough option to help the WFT stay in the game. Yet another blazing-fast receiver complements him in Terry McLaurin and a solid defensive supporting cast.
One former NFL scout even thinks Heinicke is good enough to be Washington’s QB1 for the rest of the season. Of course, he’ll never come close to being as good as Josh Allen. Heinicke’s probably more like a Mitch Trubisky, which isn’t bad, but not what you want as a starter against a playoff team.
Buffalo Bills Week 3 game details, where to watch
- Sunday, September 26, 2021
- Start time: 1:00 PM ET
- TV channel - FOX
- Location - Highmark Stadium at 1 Bills Dr in Orchard Park, NY
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
What happened last time the Bills played the Washington Football Team?
In Week 9 of the 2019 football season, Washington traveled to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills. While they may have had a different team name then, they still stunk.
Washington would finish the season 3-13, and the Bills continued to improve, ending at 10-6. In 2019, Dwayne Haskins and Adrian Peterson were their highlights on offense. Much has changed in just two years, including the hiring of Ron Rivera to be the head coach.
Defensively the WFT still has some core players from 2019, but it will be Buffalo’s first time facing the freakish edge rusher Chase Young. Washington finished with the 27th ranked defense, allowing 27.2 points per game that season. Don’t expect that same porous defense to show up on Sunday. In 2020, Washington improved to fourth in the NFL, allowing just 20.6 points per game.
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Matchups to watch
- Josh Allen vs. WFT secondary
This is an important matchup for both Josh Allen and Washington’s secondary. Allen hasn’t quite been the same quarterback as we’ve seen from him the past couple of seasons. Struggling again to connect on intermediate passes, Allen needs to have a big game to quiet the early concerns.
The good news for Bills Fans is Washington’s secondary presents a chance for Allen to bounce back. Their defense is strong up front but a bit weak outback. Josh Allen can be great if the WFT can make Daniel Jones look competent as they did in Week 2.
- Buffalo OL vs. Washington front seven
Washington’s pass rush is by far their best and scariest portion of this team. With bookends Montez Sweat and Chase Young representing possibly the quickest pass rush duo in the NFL, the blocking scheme will have to be even better than last week, when they allowed 12 pressures. Young has yet to tally his first sack, so he’ll be hungry on game day.
One way the Bills can slow down the pass rush is by continuing to run the ball effectively. Hitting Washington in the mouth early with some first-down runs will take away their ability to pin their ears back and chase after Josh Allen.
Buffalo’s 260 rushing yards in the first two games suggests Brian Daboll is more serious about sticking with the ground game in 2021. After going away from it a bit in Week 1, the Bills had great success in Week 2. We’ll see if that momentum keeps rolling at home.
- Bills pass rush vs. WFT O-line
Washington’s front five is coming off a great game, only allowing five pressures on Thursday Night Football. They also will be very well rested, with nine days in between games.
But don’t get it twisted, the pass rush of the Bills is coming off a phenomenal performance of their own, pressuring Dolphins QB’s an astonishing 38 times in one game, per Pro Football Focus. Sticking with PFF, Groot had the best pass-rush win rate of all Bill defenders, beating his opponent on 35.7% of the snaps he was out there rushing the passer.
If Leslie Frazier can keep getting the defense to wreak havoc, the Bills can legitimately be a top-ten unit on both sides of the ball all season long.
Bonus stat: We’ve been waiting to see some speed out of Buffalo’s backfield for some time now. Last week, Devin Singletary sprinted for a 46-yard touchdown and displayed a burst we hadn’t quite seen before. It was the quickest Singletary has ever run on an NFL field, reaching 20.29 MPH. For some additional context, the fastest any NFL ballcarrier has gone this season is 21.62 MPH.
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bills Week 3 game prediction
- Last season’s record: Buffalo Bills 13-3, reached AFC Conference Championship
- Washington Football Team 7-9, 1st place in NFC East, lost Wild Card 23-31 vs. Bucs
DraftKings currently has the Bills favored to win by eight points, which is the most Buffalo has been favored by heading into a game this season. A big part of that has to do with Washington being forced to start their backup QB.
With a total of just three NFL starts on his resume, Taylor Heinicke remains inexperienced. The other thing is, he’s never faced the Bills Mafia. While he has had some solid games against the Tampa Buccaneers and the New York Giants, Heinicke isn’t going to wow anyone with his arm, as Josh Allen consistently does.
Nobody really thinks Allen has regressed back to his rookie-year form. As long as the blockers do their job, if there’s a game for the air assault to happen, it’s this one. Stefon Diggs is still the best there is, and with just 64.5 yards per game in the first two weeks, he’s due for a big performance.
For Buffalo’s defense, slowing down the speed of scary Terry McLaurin will be paramount to their success. If Sean McDermott has the Herd playing anywhere close to as well as they did in Miami, then Bills Fans should be able to go home celebrating a 2-1 start to their season.
Game prediction: 28-13 Bills victory