1 - McDermott on the best home-field advantage in the NFL
New Era Field is an incredibly unique NFL stadium.
It's not located in the heart of a booming metropolis. It's doesn't have a shiny glass roof. In fact, it doesn't have a roof at all.
The stadium, which opened in 1973, is currently the sixth oldest venue in the NFL. However, what the stadium lacks in glitz and glamour is more than made up for by its character, its heart. Over 70,000 screaming Bills fans pack the stadium for each and every home game, creating a raucous atmosphere that can often be heard from miles away. Buffalo fans often take over games, making it difficult for the opposition to even get a play off. This creates a home-field advantage like no other.
The Bills will kick off their 2018 home schedule this Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Chargers. Head coach Sean McDermott is excited to play at New Era Field once again, a stadium his team dominated in last season.
"It's huge," McDermott said. "6-2 last year, I believe, at home. We talk about defending our dirt quite a bit here, playing in front of our fans, to me the most passionate fanbase in the NFL, goes a long way toward creating a home-field advantage and giving our guys some energy and making it loud on opposing quarterbacks. Being able to that is very beneficial for us."
2 - Mortensen: Bills have 'a special one' in Josh Allen
Buffalo made a quarterback switch after Week 1 of the 2018 season. Josh Allen, who completed six passes for 74 yards in the second half of the season opener, will be under center for the Bills in their home opener on Sunday.
Sunday will be the rookie quarterback's first opportunity to prove his doubters wrong, to show that he's capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. Allen, however, won't have to prove anything to ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen.
During a recent appearance on 'One Bills Live,' Mortensen called Buffalo's quarterback verdict "the right decision," stating that Allen's physical gifts should allow the Bills to open their offense up.
"Josh Allen, what he does to a team, not just for his team because his team sees this every day, and I don't know if you guys are out at practice every day, but his team sees the ability, they know what it does to a defense," Mortensen said. "It's not just that he can throw it 75-yards, he can make intermediate throws, and his athleticism, and in this day and age quarterbacks do have to be a little more athletic than they used to be, will allow for the offense to breathe a little bit."
Mortensen went on to praise Allen's competitive nature. In fact, Allen's competitiveness was actually the analyst's main concern about the quarterback in the pre-draft process, fearing that Allen's aggressiveness could get him hurt. Mortensen feels that the 22-year-old has already fixed this part of his game.
"Physically, you don't want a guy to get hurt and suffer a setback," Mortensen said. "That's always been my primary concern about Josh, not because of durability but just because he's so dang competitive. But I've watched him in preseason and even the other day [vs. the Ravens], and when he gets out there to run, and it is remarkable to see a guy that big, that athletic, he's showing that he's going to take care of his body when possible."
Mortensen left Bills fans with a reassuring sentiment.
"My advice to the [Buffalo] fans is, I think you got a special one," Mortensen said. "I've said that I thought at least four of these first-round quarterbacks are going to be good, really good quarterbacks in the NFL, and I think a couple have a chance to great. I happen to believe that Josh has a chance to be one of the guys who has a chance to be great."
3 - Joey Bosa's absence has significant impact on Chargers' defense
The Los Angeles Chargers will be without defensive end Joey Bosa in their Week 2 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Bosa, who is currently dealing with a foot injury, was ruled out for this weekend's contest on Thursday.
Bosa also missed the Chargers' Week 1 matchup, and his presence was sorely missed. Last season, with the help of the dynamic Bosa, Los Angeles gave opposing quarterbacks an average of just 2.64 seconds to throw the ball. This number increased a bit in Week 1 of the 2018 season due in part to Bosa's absence.
Last weekend, the Chargers defense gave Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes an average of 2.91 seconds to get rid of the football, according to NFL NextGen Stats.
Bosa, who has recorded 23 sacks throughout his two years in the NFL, has missed five games throughout his professional career. Statistically speaking, the Chargers' defensive line is much stronger with Bosa than they are without. According to NextGen Stats, Los Angeles averages just 2.0 sacks per game when Bosa is on the sideline, this compared to the 2.46 they average when the 23-year-old is on the field.
Perhaps the biggest impact of Bosa's absence can be found on the scoreboard. When Bosa plays, the Chargers allow an average of 21.0 points per game. When the former Ohio State Buckeye misses time, Los Angeles' defense allows an average of 29.2 points. The Chiefs scored 38 points on the Chargers in Week 1.
Bosa's absence should bode well for Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen, who will start the first game of his professional career on Sunday.
The Buffalo Bills will host the Los Angeles Chargers this week for the team's 2018 home opener. In anticipation for the matchup, we take a look at the AFC opponents through the years.