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Scouting Report - Week 3 - Bills-Broncos

Posted Sep 22, 2017

The Denver Broncos have been an outstanding team on third down this season on both sides of the ball. Buffalo's defense has been among the best in yards allowed per possession.


Top 3 Individual Matchups

1 – E.J. Gaines vs. Demaryius Thomas
Buffalo’s right cornerback is going to have a tall task Sunday with the 230-pound Thomas. Capable of running past you or boxing out cornerbacks to make plays on jump balls, Thomas is a challenging matchup for any defensive back.

2 – Jerry Hughes vs. Allen Barbre/Donald Stephenson
Hughes might have the most advantageous matchup of any Bills player this week. With Denver starting LT Garett Bolles questionable with a bone bruise, Buffalo’s right defensive end will be working against a backup.

3 - Jordan Mills vs. Von Miller
Miller will be moved around, but typically lines up on the left side of Denver’s formation as an outside linebacker. The Broncos All-Pro pass rusher is coming off a two-sack game last week, his 17th career multi-sack game. Mills may need some tight end help or a back chipping to keep Miller under wraps.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage: Pass defense
Buffalo has yet to give up a passing touchdown this season and have been especially stingy in the red zone. The Bills new secondary has jelled quickly and the safety tandem of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde has already flashed playmaking ability.

Best advantage: Pass rush
Denver has a pretty strong pass rush in their own right, but coming off a six-sack performance at Carolina and a favorable matchup at right defensive end, the Bills should be able to generate pressure on Trevor Siemian.

Bills Number 1 Must
Take a chance
Head coach Sean McDermott talked about moving the pieces around on offense. A spread attack could help to open lanes in the run game, but the Bills may also need to pull out an unconventional play on special teams to help flip the field.

Scouting Eye
Siemian stepping up
Last year as a first-year starter, Broncos QB Trevor Siemian was just asked not to screw it up. In his second-year running the offense, Siemian has taken a step forward. Through the first two weeks of the season Siemian leads the NFL in touchdown passes with six. He’s completed 65 percent of his passes and has a 106.9 passer rating.

Rolling in the red zone
The Broncos offense has been pretty close to a sure thing when they crack their opponent’s 20-yard line. They rank fourth in the league in red zone touchdown percentage (77.7%) and their seven red zone touchdowns are tops in the NFL. Six of those red zone touchdowns have come through the air.

Run game carrying offense
As much as Siemian has made plays in the passing game, part of the reason is opponents have had to respect Denver’s rushing attack. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Broncos lead the league in rushing at 159 yards a game. In Week 1 they rushed for 140 yards against the Chargers and followed that up with a 178-yard rushing day against the Cowboys.

Owning third down
Denver’s defense is still a pretty stout unit, and they’re especially adept at getting off the field on third down. On 26 third down attempts by their opponents they’ve converted just six for a success rate of just 23 percent. That ranks second in the league.

The Broncos offense is even better when it comes to converting third downs. Denver’s attack is tops in the league through the season’s first two weeks with a conversion rate of almost 57 percent (56.7%) making good on 17 of their 30 third down situations.

Pick artists
Everyone is wholly familiar with Denver’s two starting cornerbacks, who are supreme opportunists when it comes to making interceptions. Chris Harris took a deflected pass the other way for an interception last week. And Aqib Talib took an interception 103 yards the other way for a touchdown in Denver’s blowout win over Dallas.

Talib leads all active players and is fourth in NFL history with 10 career interception returns for touchdowns.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
“It is always great competing against other great defenses. You want to be in that realm so you can see that great defense coming in, back to back weeks basically. We have to find ways to be the better defense, and that hopefully will lead to a win.”
--MLB Preston Brown

Stat of the week
The Broncos have won a team record 30 consecutive games when winning the turnover battle. It’s the longest streak in the NFL.

Milestones in reach
Head coach Sean McDermott needs a win to become the first Bills head coach to win his first two home games.

LeSean McCoy needs 90-plus yards from scrimmage to extend his streak to 12 consecutive homes games. It would be the longest streak in the NFL since Jamaal Charles’ 12-game streak from November 18, 2012 – December 22, 2013.

Jordan Poyer needs one sack to become the first defensive back in NFL history to post a three-game sack streak to start the season.

Final note
Buffalo’ defense allows the second-fewest yards per drive by their opponents, giving up an average of 19.3 yards, good for second in the NFL.