Let’s get to know our Wild Card opponent.
The Buffalo Bills, along with several fans often known as Bills Mafia, will travel to play the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend for some NFL Wild Card action.
Of course, we all know this is the Jaguars’ first playoff appearance since 2007 and first time hosting a playoff game since 1999. But let’s focus on the team we know less about.
Who are the Buffalo Bills? Let’s find out.
Records, Rankings & Basics
Record: 9-7, second in AFC East
Wins: New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins (twice).
Losses: Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots (twice),
Total DVOA Ranking: 21 (-9.8 percent)
DVOA Offense Ranking: 26 (-11.1 percent)
DVOA Defense Ranking: 15 (1.7 percent)
DVOA Special Teams Ranking: 10 (2.9 percent)
Thoughts: The DVOA rankings illustrate that Buffalo struggled on offense and played much better on defense. Those numbers may be skewed a bit from the two games rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman started — including throwing five interceptions in one game — but it is what it is. The Bills are in the top half of the league of defensive DVOA and top-10 in special teams. Offensively, the Bills are similar to the Jaguars — both teams are much stronger when running the ball as opposed to throwing it. Buffalo had some good wins against the Chiefs and Falcons (both playoff teams), but some bad losses against lower teams such as the Jets and Bengals. The Bills were destroyed by the Chargers (Peterman started) and Saints as well.
Team (NFL rank):
Total yards per game: 302.6 (29th)
Pass yards per game: 176.6 (31st)
Rush yards per game 126.1 (6th)
Total yards allowed: 355.1 (26th)
Pass yards allowed: 230.5 (20th)
Rush yards allowed: 124.6 (29th)
Tyrod Taylor: 89.2 QB rating, 62.6 completion percentage, 2,799 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs, 427 rush yards, 4 rushing TDs
LeSean McCoy: 287 rushes, 1,138 yards, 6 TDs, 59 receptions (led team), 448 yards, 2 receiving TDs,
Charles Clay: 49 receptions, 558 yards, 11.4 yards per reception, 2 TDs
Preston Brown: 144 total tackles (led NFL), 3 passes defended
Micah Hyde: 82 total tackles, 13 passes defended, 5 INTs
Head Coach: Sean McDermott
Offensive Coordinator: Rick Dennison
Defensive Coordinator: Leslie Frazier
Offensive scheme: West Coast, heavy run
My basic understanding is that the Bills’ offense is a West Coast base, which focuses on the zone run. However, the offense also calls for a lot of play-action and bootleg passes. It’s not really an offense that is going to stretch the field much by throwing vertically, as you’ll often see under-center formations with a single back and either three-receiver or double tight end sets, but some wrinkles could be thrown in there. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been quite efficient in Rick Dennison’s offense this season, throwing only four interceptions. SB Nation’s Buffalo Bills counterpart Buffalo Rumblings explains it much better than I can.
Defensive scheme: 4-3 base
The Bills defense transitioned from the Rex Ryan 3-4 base to the Sean McDermott/Leslie Frazier version of the 4-3. Growing pains are plentiful for this transition year. While the defense fares well in DVOA, it ranks 26th in total yards allowed, 20th against the pass and just 29th against the run. The defense seems to rely heavily on zone concepts in coverage and one-gap responsibilities for the defensive line in hopes of getting penetration off of the snap. Again, I would consult the experts over at Buffalo Rumblings for a more detailed explanation than what I can provide.
This will be 16th all-time meeting between these two franchises, and second playoff meeting. The first time the Jaguars and Bills ever played was the 1996 Wild-Card game, which Jacksonville won 30-27 in Orchard Park, New York.
So, there is a brief look into the Buffalo Bills’ 2017 season and what to expect on Sunday. It is also worth noting that LeSean McCoy, who leads the Bills in both rushing yards and receptions, was carted off the field in Week 17 with a sprained ankle. His status for this Sunday is up in the air.