The Bills have had a long week to lock back in ahead of Week 10. After trading wins and losses since Week 4, this team and this fan base want nothing more than to get another win streak going as the season is past the halfway mark. To get that going in front of their home crowd on Monday night would perfect, just like the team has been at Highmark Stadium this season.
Monday is a chance to show NFL fans and Bills Mafia what type of team the Bills want to be known as—one that's electric on offense and led by one of the best QB's in the NFL, and on defense, one that gets after the quarterback and takes the ball away.
Now that's fun football, and it's what this team has looked like at home all year.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
The Bills are perfect at home this season. Nope, we're not counting the London game in this equation. Buffalo is 4-0 with a shot to make it 5-0 with a win over the Broncos.
It's an interesting matchup because it's between two teams who are still trying to figure out a consistent identity.
"We've had stretches where we haven't played up to our standard in the past, and we've always found a way through those," QB Josh Allen said. "That's what we're doing right now. We're trying to find a way through it. We have an opportunity Monday night at home against a hungry, hungry team in the Denver Broncos.
"So, we've got to be ready, and we've got to do everything we can do to get a win."
The Bills are hungry because they're currently sitting on the outside of the playoff standings and need to grab more wins for a better chance at the postseason. The Broncos are hungry because they're riding a two-game win streak, and if they can pick up a few wins to round out November, they could be in the playoff conversation.
"Russell's actually playing well," ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky told One Bills Live. "It's just the first five weeks of the year their defense was historically bad. So, Russel's playing well. They're absolutely designing things to push the ball down the field.
"He's got some players, Jerry Jeudy is a very good route runner. (Courtland) Sutton is a big body…they're doing a really nice job getting their backs in the pass game both check downs and screens because they're a heavy screen team."
Scroll to see the best photos from the Buffalo Bills Week 10 Practice at Highmark Stadium.
The Broncos started out the 2023 season 1-4 but since then are 2-1. On defense, in the first five weeks of the season, they were allowing an average of 36.2 points per game (worst in the NFL), 450.6 total yards per game (worst), a 61.9% red zone touchdown rating and a 124.6 passer rating (worst).
They've seen a big difference in their defense from Weeks 6 through 8 as the Broncos have allowed an average of only 15 points per game, 331.3 total yards per game, a 27.3% red zone touchdown rating and an 80.9 passer rating.
National analysts say there has been such a stark contrast in the defense partly due to younger players stepping up to the challenge.
"The Broncos defense is playing better," Orlovsky said. "And their pass rushers, especially their young edge pass rushers, are starting to play better. And so that's got to have the attention of a Buffalo. Patrick Surtain II is playing big-time ball, and I would imagine that he is probably going to probably follow Stef (Diggs) a good amount. So, I think how they manage those edge pass rushers and how they manage the matchup of Patrick versus Stef is going to go a long way."
It'll be interesting to see how the Broncos defense tries to shut down Buffalo's offense while the Bills are trying to get things right. Buffalo has shown they have what it takes on offense as they averaged 41 points per game from Weeks 2 through 4. But in the last five straight weeks, the Bills have been held to 25 points or less.
"To me, it's finding ways to dictate to the defense," Bills radio analyst Eric Wood said of how he thinks the offense can get back to where they were at. "And I think the ways you do that is the up-tempo offense at times, there's scripted plays at times…also it's personnel wise, it's formationally just dictating. Make them shift and not always the Bills offense reacting. I just feel like at times it's so hard for them to just consistently react to the defense play in and play out."
"I definitely feel like we're on the verge of being the offense that I know we can be," Allen shared. "Obviously, every possession counts in this in this game, especially in the later part of the year, and we have to make those drives count."
Orlovsky says he's seen a Buffalo offense that was making every drive count earlier in the season. Now sitting at Week 10, he wants them to get back to that.
"I do think that there's more room for growth," Orlovsky said of Buffalo's offense. "And I do think their offense is okay right now, but it needs to be great."
THE BILLS MAFIA EFFECT
Being at home could be just what Buffalo needs to get back to being great on offense.
In front of a home crowd, Josh Allen is averaging 271.8 passing yards per game, 3.25 total touchdowns per game, 8.2 yards per pass attempt, a 77.3% completion percentage and has a 122.3 passer rate. On offense, they're averaging 31 points per game, close to 400 total yards per game, scoring touchdowns in the red zone 73.7% of the time and converting third downs 52.1% of the time.
"I think our guys take a lot of pride in playing at home Western New York in front of our fans," head coach Sean McDermott said. "We try and establish that early, especially with the new players who haven't been here before with how important that is and how much this team means to the fans in this city and in the community here."
It's not just the offense that's been elite at Highmark, the defense has held their own as well. They're allowing an average of 14.3 points per game and are averaging more than a takeaway per game.
"I was having a conversation earlier of just how difficult it's going to be for this (Broncos) offensive line, specifically because this game is at night and in Buffalo," NFL Network’s James Palmer said of the atmosphere on Monday night. "You know the extra jump that could be there. It's going to be difficult for offensive linemen to hear, difficult for offensive linemen to handle a defensive line like Buffalo has."
Bills fans know the impact they can have at home games. We've seen the delay of game calls and issues opposing offenses have with communication.
It's safe to say that Bills Mafia plays a part in the reason why Buffalo is undefeated at home.
"Any chance we get to play in front of them, they show up and they show out," wide receiver Kahlil Shakir said. "They're very, very loud."
"That's something we take a lot of pride in, playing at home," wide receiver Trent Sherfield said. "Sean talks about it a lot, just protecting your dirt. When we show up and we're in front of our fans, that's going to be something that's big for us because we take pride and ownership in making sure that we're showing up for our fans."
Players believe the fans can help set the tone early in the game.
"It's from the jump," Shakir said of Bills Mafia's impact. "You come out of the tunnel and everybody's screaming. So, I think it kind of sets that tone of like, 'Alright, they're here supporting us, watching us. They know what we can do, so let's make sure that they come in and see a show.'"
A CELEBRATION FOR TWO ON MONDAY NIGHT
There will be two special fans in the crowd on Monday night that would love nothing more than a big show from Buffalo's offense. Their names are Georgina Provenzano and Lynn Cavey, and they have a lot to celebrate.
Provenzano is a Western New Yorker and is a Bills fan. Cavey is from Wisconsin and cheers for the Packers. But don't worry, she has also adopted the Bills as one of her teams.
While they claim different teams and live in different states, they share something that has united them forever. Cavey donated her kidney to Provenzano back in July.
"I knew that I wanted to do it and I didn't want to do it anonymously," Cavey said of becoming a kidney donor. "I wanted to know their story. I came upon Georgina's, and I reached out to her and said, 'I want to help you.'"
It was a Facebook group brought them together initially. And after, the two spent the next nine months talking every day in their lead up to surgery.
"Lynn was actually in the room next to me, so once the kidney came out of her it was transferred right away," Provenzano said.
"I think that it was God's choice to put us together because it seems like a perfect match," Cavey said. "I couldn't be happier. I feel like the lucky one."
They're both feeling lucky ahead of Monday because Delaware North heard their story and wanted to find a way to celebrate the pair. As the stadium food and beverage operator of the Bills and Packers, they decided to host the two in their suite on Monday to get them back together.
Cavey and her husband will also get to watch a Packers game from a suite at Lambeau Field later this month as well.
"I'm just excited to be with Lynn," Provenzano said. "I haven't seen her since July, and I'm just ready to spend some time with her."
"We have become Buffalo fans now, so we cheer them on," Cavey said of her and her husband.
Since it will be Cavey's first Bills game, Provenzano is excited to see what her kidney buddy thinks of the passionate fanbase and exciting atmosphere.
"Just the whole feel that it's a night game and the environment with all the Bills fans," Provenzano said. "Hopefully we can get a win because that makes a difference too with the excitement in the stadium, and I hope it's a good game for her to see."
As they'll be attending their first NFL game together, they also found out they're more than just a perfect kidney match.
"I try to keep the yelling at a minimum," Provenzano said of how she acts at games. "We'll see what the game is like. If it's exciting, then I can't promise anything."
"I'm a yeller, too," Cavey said with a laugh.
Provenzano is excited to share one of life's pleasures with her best friend. She's also hoping to see her team get back to stacking wins.
"You gotta have faith," Provenzano said. "Just because we might take a loss, doesn't mean that we are a bad team. Things happen. You never know. It's kind of the same thing that happened with me and Lynn. You just never know, and you have to believe."
Provenzano had faith to see something through she wasn't sure would happen. Now with a new kidney and better health, she has faith her team can finish out the season strong. She's also not the only one who has faith in the group who will be out there on Monday night.
"(I'm) confident in our team," McDermott said. "Confident in our coaches. Confident in our players. Confident in our staff. It doesn't mean we don't have work to do…we've got to continue to drill down on those areas and play better as an overall team."