Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Robert Foster vs. Nevin Lawson
Buffalo’s big-play threat will be a handful for the Lions right cornerback. Over the last four games, Foster leads all rookie receivers in yards per game at 82.5. Lawson has just four pass breakups this season.
2 – Jerry Hughes vs. Taylor Decker
A battle of first-round draft choices could largely determine whether or not Matthew Stafford has time to throw. Hughes is a relentless rusher whose motor never quits. Decker will need to be the sharp technician he is to keep Hughes out of Stafford’s lap.
3 – Tre’Davious White vs. Kenny Golladay
Golladay will be one of the bigger receivers White has seen all season. The Lions new number one wideout is less than 150 yards away from a 1,000-yard season, but yards are hard to come by against Buffalo’s lockdown corner.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Third down defense
The Bills have done a solid job of getting off the field on third down this season. Buffalo ranks ninth in the league in third down conversion percentage allowed, as opponents are managing just a 38 percent conversion rate. They also rank third in three-and-out percentage at just over 24 percent. Detroit is even less successful than that this season. The Lions move the chains just under 36 percent of the time (35.8%).
Best advantage – Pass defense
Though Matthew Stafford can sling it, the Lions will find Buffalo’s pass defense to be quite stingy. The league top-rated pass defense has not surrendered more than 200 net passing yards to an opponent in eight of their last nine games.
Bills Number 1 Must
The Bills have gotten off to strong starts each of their last two games, but have been unable to close them out, losing fourth quarter leads in both contests. Buffalo has to keep their foot on the gas from start to finish and not only establish, but preserve a fourth quarter lead when they have one.
The Bills were bit by the injury bug in last week’s game, but they weren’t alone. Detroit also suffered some casualties in their game at Arizona last week. They lost DE Ziggy Ansah to a shoulder injury that could cost him the rest of the season. Fellow DE Da’Shawn Hand left last week’s game with a knee injury and figures to be questionable for this week’s game as well as CB Marcus Cooper who left with a back injury. On offense, starting RT Ricky Wagner sustained a concussion and may not recover in time to face the Bills. WR Bruce Ellington also left last week’s game with a hamstring injury.
Missing in the middle
The Lions have been decent at the outset of games and at the end playing their opponents pretty evenly in terms of points for and points against. But the team’s performance both on offense and defense have been noticeably absent in the second and third quarters this season.
Evidence of that comes in their lack of point production on offense and an inability to stop their opponents on defense. Detroit has been outscored by a count of 194-123 over the second and third quarters this season. That’s a minus-71 point differential and has often put them in catch-up mode come the fourth quarter.
Locking down two minute
The Lions defense has been good about keeping points off the board when their opponents jump into a two-minute drill. So far this season, Detroit has surrendered just three field goals when defending two-minute situations, good for sixth-best in the NFL.
On the 21 two-minute drives they’ve faced this season, they’ve also come up with a pair of takeaways (1 INT, 1 FR).
Red zone woes
Despite having a highly-paid quarterback, the Lions have not produced well at all in the red zone when it comes to point production. Detroit ranks 27th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage with a success rate of less than 50 percent (48.8%).
Part of the problem is the Lions have been a bit careless with the football with three giveaways in the red zone, all interceptions.
The Lions defensive front has had success in taking down opposing quarterbacks this season. Their 37 sacks rank 10th in the league. Detroit is led by third-year DE Romeo Okwara, who has 6.5 sacks in just 11 starts. Linebackers Devon Kennard (6) and Jarrad Davis (5) help to pace the group as they’ll blitz from the second level. Unfortunately, for the Lions they’ve given up as many sacks on offense as they’ve accumulated on defense (37).
Quote of the week
“Josh is a leader. That’s a little bit different for a rookie to be the leader, but the position he plays and the way that he’s played and earned their respect, he’s the leader on the offense.”--Head coach Sean McDermott on QB Josh Allen
Stat of the week
Buffalo’s defense ranks second in the league in plays allowed of 20 yards or more. The Bills have given up just 39 all season, second only to Chicago (36).
Milestones in reach
Robert Foster with 100 yards receiving or more will become the first undrafted rookie in team history with three 100-yard receiving games in a season.
With 100 yards rushing or more, Josh Allen will become the first quarterback in NFL history with three straight 100-yard rushing games.
Isaiah McKenzie, with a rushing touchdown, can become the first Bills WR with three rushing TDs in a season and tie Elbert ‘Golden Wheels’ Dubenion for the most career rushing TDs by a Bills WR.
The only player in the NFL to rush for more yards than Josh Allen since Week 12 is NY Giants RB Saquon Barkley.
The Bills are hosting the Detroit Lions at New Era Field for a Week 15 matchup. To get ready for the game, take a look back at the opponents through the years.