Bills vs Bolts: Keys to a “W”

While unfortunate, last week was last week and the herd is heading home. The Buffalo Bills will kick off their home opener in week two against the Los Angeles Chargers this Sunday at 1pm Eastern Time. If the Bills Mafia thought this week was going to be any easier – it won’t be. Phillip Rivers and the Bolts are touching down in Buffalo as seven and a half point favorites. If the Bills want to prevent themselves from starting the season 0-2, there are a few things that need to happen:

  1. Pressure Phillip Rivers – If Joe Flacco looked elite last week, what can Rivers look like this week? Last year Rivers finished second in passing yards, trailing only Tom Brady. All he’s done to start this season is carve the Chiefs defense up for 424 yards and three touchdowns in week one. 20-year-old rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds looked everything like the Bills hoped he would after a week one performance that netted seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, but he will need help from his counterparts to apply additional pressure.

    Tremaine Edmunds
    Tremaine Edmunds
  1. Utilize LeSean McCoy – Last week Shady finished the game with only seven carries for 22 yards and added one reception for a loss of a yard. Granted, Buffalo was only able to disperse 33 touches in total last week, but McCoy needs to be used early and often. He’s the best player on the team one of the most dynamic playmakers in the entire NFL. Don’t abandon the run and include him in the pass game. With an aggressive pass rush like the one like Melvin Ingram the Chargers will bring, successful screens could end up putting points on the board.
  1. Allow Josh Allen to use his athleticism – For his size, the rookie is a tremendous athlete. It will be his first ever start in a match-up that features a great pass rush and a suspect offensive line, so the Bills should have a few plays designed to allow him to use his mobility. Some of the flashes Josh has shown have come when he is on the move and throwing on the run. If he’s able to extend the play with his feet maybe his receiving core can finally find some separation.

    Josh Allen
    Josh Allen
  1. Contain Keenan Allen – Let’s be honest, stopping him all together is unlikely, you can only hope to contain him. Last week Allen went for 108 yards and a touchdown on 8 receptions. Rivers is good enough to make any wide receiver or running back a weapon but if you slow down his favorite target, it will in turn slow down the game. The Chiefs may have had the firepower to win a shootout against the Chargers – Buffalo does not. Tre’Davious White could shadow Allen but there should be safety help over the top wherever he may line up.
  1. Win on special teams – Special teams won’t just help win the field position battle, it will help win the game. The Chargers special teams looked atrocious last week. They allowed Tyreek Hill to rip off a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown, fumbled on their own two-yard line late in the game, and missed a field goal that would have put them within striking distance of the Chiefs last week. One big play will ignite home-field advantage in a big way.

These are no small tasks, but they are necessary if Buffalo hopes to compete against a team that can light up the scoreboard. One thing that won’t be standing in Buffalo’s way this week is the weather. The high for Sunday is 82 degrees – mostly sunny.

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