1 - Kyle Williams 'encouraged' by Bills young core
Buffalo defensive tackle Kyle Williams accomplished a lifelong goal in the 2017 season, playing in his first NFL playoff game.
Williams considered retirement after the conclusion of the campaign. The veteran had already constructed a decorated career, and a playoff appearance seemed like icing on the cake. Williams, however, ultimately decided to return for a 13th season, citing his teammates as his primary motivation to come back.
Through the first eight games of the 2018 campaign, Williams has seen the team's young core progress and mature, something that has left him encouraged for the future.
"I am [optimistic] because I see the growth in our young players," Williams said during his weekly interview on WGR 550. "Guys that are going to be cornerstones for this franchise well into the future, and obviously when I'm gone. I'm looking at Tre'Davious White, Tremaine [Edmunds], and Taron [Johnson].
"I'm watching a lot of these guys grow, and I'm seeing what I think they're going to turn into. They're going to be great players for this franchise. You see the way the guys work, the young guys, guys that are there day in and day out."
Williams, who has totaled 15 tackles and 3.5 sacks in eight starts this season, has been pleased with the team's toughness, not letting their lackluster record impact their mindset.
"This group of guys, the group of men that are in the locker room," Williams said. "The adversity they've shown with the constant being what your record is, and how you're not performing, watching them attack every day, watching them work, I think is an encouraging sign if you're able to see that day in and day out like I am."
2 - Bills' defense excelling in nickel package
The nickel package has seen its popularity grow exponentially over the past number of years. The defensive alignment features five defensive backs, with an extra cornerback or safety replacing a linebacker or lineman.
Buffalo's defense has been stellar when playing in a nickel scheme thus far this season. According to ESPN, the Bills are allowing an average of just 5.3 yards per play when in nickel personnel, tied for the sixth lowest total in the league.
Buffalo's success in the package can largely be attributed to the strong play of its nickel defenders. Rookie cornerback Taron Johnson has shined in the slot through the first half of the 2018 campaign, as he has totaled 31 tackles, two pass deflections, and one interception through seven games.
Safety Rafael Bush has also seen time in the team's 'big nickel' package this season, filling in heavily for the injured Johnson in Week 2. Bush played well in Johnson's absence and has impressed in spot duty since. In seven games this season, Bush has recorded 27 tackles.
While defending the pass is the primary objective of the nickel defense, the package can also be quite effective against the run. Johnson has excelled as a run defender thus far, earning praise from head coach Sean McDermott for his "dog" like mentality.
3 - Lorenzo Alexander still one of NFL's best pass rushers
For some football fans across the country, Week 8 was a coming out party for veteran pass rusher Lorenzo Alexander.
For Buffalo fans, it was just another week of excellence from the 35-year-old.
Alexander totaled two sacks and one forced fumble in the Monday Night Football matchup, notching his second-career multi-sack game.
Though not a household name nationally, Alexander has quietly constructed three stellar seasons in Buffalo. Now in his third season with the team, the former Cal Bear has already recorded 35 tackles, is tied with Jerry Hughes for the team lead in sacks with 4.5, has five pass deflections and one interception.
Alexander's stellar play has been recognized by Pro Football Focus, as according to the outlet, he's been one of the best edge defenders in the league through eight weeks.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier praised Alexander after his strong Week 8 outing, describing him as an integral part of the team's defense.
"We need his pass rush, obviously, based on what he did [Monday] and what he's done throughout the season," Frazier said. "Those were big sacks that he got [Monday] for us. The sack caused fumble was big, so we need him on our defensive line."