1 - Hughes excited to bounce-back in front of 'electric' Buffalo crowd
Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier preaches a "playoff caliber" standard for his defensive unit, and in Week 7, the group struggled to live up to expectations.
The Colts put up 37 points on the Bills, totaling 376 net yards. Indianapolis' previously stagnant ground game found success against Buffalo, as Marlon Mack doubled his season rushing total on the day. Andrew Luck completed 17 passes for 156 yards and four scores.
The Bills' defense, a unit that had largely been excellent to start the season, is eager to prove that Week 7 was an anomaly, not the norm. Defensive leader Jerry Hughes is confident that the group has what it takes to bounce back.
"We know that's not how we play Bills defense," Hughes said. "We know that we can perform better, especially against the run. We certainly have our matchup cut out for us, but we know that we have to go out there and play great defense."
Through seven games this season, Hughes has totaled 22 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He and his teammates are looking forward to Buffalo's Week 8 contest with the Patriots, a Monday Night Football matchup that will be played under the lights at New Era Field. Hughes looks at the game as an opportunity for the group to prove itself on a national scale.
"Absolutely," Hughes said. "We're finally back at home, we get our crowd behind us, we get that atmosphere. We know it's going to be electric. We've been hearing about it throughout the city all week. It's going to be great to be back at home, but certainly, for us, it's a bounce-back game. We don't want to be on this losing streak, we want to end the skid as quickly as possible."
2 - Belichick breaks down Bills' defense ahead of Week 8
Week 8's Monday Night Football contest will see an incredibly efficient offense attempt to overpower a defensive unit that has been stout thus far.
The Patriots enter the matchup with the league's ninth-best offense, and their points-per-game average of 30.6 is good for fourth in the NFL. They'll face off against a Buffalo defense that is allowing an average of just 320.9 yards per game, the fourth lowest total in the league.
The pressure that Buffalo is able to get on opposing quarterbacks is something that stuck out to New England coach Bill Belichick this week.
"They have a lot of very disruptive players on defense, some of our old friends like Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes," Belichick said. "Some new ones like [Tremaine] Edmunds, their number one draft choice from Virginia Tech. [Matt] Milano, second year."
Belichick described Williams, who has recorded 77 tackles and seven sacks in 22-lifetime games against the Patriots, as "a thorn in everybody's side."
The respected head coach also had praise for Edmunds, describing him as, "the Luke Kuechly of the Buffalo defense." Through seven games this season, the rookie leads the team in tackles with 54.
Belichick is particularly concerned with Buffalo's ability to force turnovers. The Bills' defense has totaled 13 forced fumbles and five interceptions thus far this season.
"They do a great job, probably as good as anybody we play, of stripping the ball out or just having good ball awareness," Belichick said. "No matter who has it, quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end, they do a real good job of putting pressure on the ball."
3 - McDermott pleased with Shaq Lawson's growth
While seeing an NFL player improve on the field is important, watching him grow off the field as both a person and professional is perhaps paramount in his development.
Buffalo coach Sean McDermott has noticed this off-field progress from third-year man Shaq Lawson, who has impressed his sideline boss with his work ethic this season.
"He's done a good job," McDermott said. "I think he continues to develop in terms of his approach to his job and just being a professional."
In five games this season, Lawson has recorded seven tackles, one pass deflection, and one sack. A primary rotational defender for the Bills, Lawson has played on 27.7 percent of the team's defensive snaps, according to Football Outsiders.
Lawson will look to make an impact this Monday against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a signal-caller he has sacked two times throughout his career. McDermott is confident that Lawson's off-field commitment will lead to on-field results.
"[Lawson's off-field progress] has translated into more success on the field and more trust on the field," McDermott said. "That's a good thing."