Chiefs-Bills: Von Miller elevated the ceiling of the Buffalo defense

In our weekly Opponent Scout sequence, I destroy down the Kansas City Chiefs’ upcoming opponent by means of inspecting their strengths, weaknesses and inclinations — and the way the ones issues have an effect on the matchup.

In Week 6, the Chiefs are web hosting the Buffalo Bills in a rematch of final yr’s all-time vintage: the 42-36 time beyond regulation shootout in the AFC Divisional around.

Here’s what to learn about this yr’s Bills.


Overview

This is the 6th season that the Bills were led by means of head trainer Sean McDermott — and the fourth season with quarterback Josh Allen as their full-time starter. The Bills are 4-1, main the league in level differential (91) by means of just about 60 issues.

Only the Chiefs have scored extra issues than the Bills this season, however Buffalo does lead in yards in line with play. The staff is first in internet yards in line with try, whilst additionally being peak 10 in speeding yards in line with try. It leads the NFL in third-down conversion fee (56%) however hasn’t been as environment friendly in the purple zone. Buffalo ranks seventh in Offensive DVOA.

The Bills have allowed the league’s fewest issues and the second-fewest yards in line with play. They have compelled a league-high 11 turnovers and feature additionally allowed the third-lowest fee of yards in line with rush try. They are the second-best unit in Defensive DVOA.

Offense

In his personal article, Arrowhead Pride movie analyst Nate Christiansen took a deeper dive into the Bills’ offense — and the way the Chiefs’ defense must react.

Defense

Whether it’s via statistics or the eye check, the Buffalo defense has lengthy been one of the NFL’s ultimate. Up entrance, it depends on a high quality rotation of defensive linemen who usually rush 4 at a time; it infrequently blitzes from the moment degree — particularly in opposition to the Chiefs. But that cast staff of down linemen now has a top-tier edge rusher, too.

Future Hall of Fame inductee Von Miller joined the Bills in the offseason. So a long way, he’s accrued 4 sacks whilst elevating the ceiling of Buffalo’s effectiveness on passing downs. It has additionally helped carry the efficiency of the edge rusher that begins reverse him: second-year participant Gregory Rousseau, who has already matched his 2021 sack overall (4).

Behind them, they’ll have high quality ends like A.J. Epenesa and Boogie Basham; the ones two have mixed for three.5 sacks and 4 different quarterback hits.

Behind them, linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano will play each and every snap; the Bills generally tend to are living of their Nickel team of workers, through which the ones two are tasked with patrolling the center of the box.

In final yr’s AFC Divisional around, Kansas City tight finish Travis Kelce was once in a position to get open at the moment degree — whether or not it was once in opposition to zone or guy protection. He totaled 96 yards on 8 catches. His really feel for open area (and Mahomes’ skill not to give away throws together with his eyes) could make it very laborious for those linebackers to stay observe of Kelce in zone.

Historically, Buffalo has basically performed zone. This season, the defense has been in zone for 85% of its snaps — the league’s third-highest fee. Toward the finish of the final matchup with Kansas City, then again, it looked to be trusting guy protection extra ceaselessly.

Seeing how neatly the Chiefs’ offense carried out down the stretch of this contest, the Bills would possibly now take a look at that as a mistake. Still, it’s value noting — particularly since this yr, each and every different staff has relied on guy protection in opposition to Kansas City a lot more ceaselessly.

But there’s a explanation why the Bills would possibly hesitate to stray from their customary technique: accidents. Starting protection Micah Hyde is on injured reserve, whilst their different stud protection Jordan Poyer has been restricted in observe this week with a rib harm; he overlooked final week’s sport.

Star cornerback Tre’Davious White nonetheless hasn’t performed this yr — and gained’t on Sunday. One of their Week 1 starters was once rookie Christian Benford, however he had hand surgical procedure previous to lacking final week’s sport — and has been restricted in observe. First-round variety Kaiir Elam has needed to step up, however he’s nonetheless a rookie himself. In quick, the out of doors cornerbacks have handled so much of biking out and in.

That would possibly drive Buffalo to persist with what their avid gamers are maximum relaxed in: the two-high shells with zone protection — whether or not it’s Cover 2 or quarters deep. But guy protection may also be beautiful easy — and one thing that I thought Elam may just do when he was once a prospect popping out of the University of Florida final spring. If Buffalo desires its avid gamers to play aggressively and speedy, this may well be the changeup Kansas City must face.

The final analysis

The Bills’ defense has been as statistically dominant as ever, suffocating opposing offenses with its disciplined go protection and playmakers at each and every degree. In the previous, the entrance could have now not had that difference-making participant — however in 2022, Von Miller is no doubt filling that position.

His have an effect on on the sport makes the whole lot more uncomplicated for the avid gamers in the back of him, who had been already excellent. Neutralizing Miller’s have an effect on shall be the key for the Chiefs’ offense to be as a hit as they wish to be.

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