Scouting Report - Week 15 - Buffalo-Washington

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Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Ronald Darby vs. Pierre Garcon
Garcon is a clever, veteran receiver, who still has run after the catch ability. Darby has held his own against just about every wideout he's faced this season. It's a matchup worth watching.

2 – Cordy Glenn vs. Ryan KerriganBuffalo's left tackle will be squaring off with Washington's top pass rusher. Kerrigan has 7.5 sacks and is second on the team in quarterback hits with 11.

3 – Corey Graham vs. Jordan ReedWashington's tight end is coming off his biggest game of the season and poses matchup problems on a weekly basis. The Bills veteran safety will have his hands full with the tight end in coverage. Reed is second in the NFL in receptions by a tight end with 67, despite missing two games due to injury.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Run defense
The Bills run defense looked back on track last week against the Eagles holding them to 3.4 yards per carry. Washington only averages 3.6 as a team, good for 28th in the league. Managing less than 95 yards on the ground per game, Buffalo should be able to make Washington's offense one dimensional.

Best advantage – Run gameBuffalo's rushing attack has been in the top five all season long and has taken advantage of weaker run defenses like Washington's. Jay Gruden's defensive unit gives up better than 120 rushing yards a game and the Bills offense rolls up almost 142 on the ground each week.

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Bills Number 1 Must
Smart football **This isn't the first time we've made this the team's top necessity entering a game this season. After a 15-penalty outing last week in a game that they lost by three, Buffalo faces a similar NFC East opponent with its share of weaknesses and shortcomings. If they can just string together enough positive plays without any unforced errors the Bills should be able to post a much needed victory.

Scouting Eye
Cousins home cooking
Washington has been a team that plays much better at home (5-2) than on the road (1-5) this season and their QB Kirk Cousins mirrors that team trend. Away from FedEx Field, Cousins completes 64 percent of his passes, averages 6.5 yards an attempt, has just seven passes of 25 yards or more, six touchdowns against nine interceptions and a pedestrian passer rating of 74.6.

At home he completes over 74 percent of his passes, averages 8.1 yards an attempt, has 14 passes of 25 yards or more, 12 touchdowns against two interceptions and a 111.5 passer rating.

Giveaway pointsWhen it has come to turnovers their offense and special teams simply don't want to do it. Washington has 21 total giveaways this season, which isn't the highest total in the league at all. However, those 21 turnovers have led to an astounding 106 points for their opponents this season. That's the highest total of points surrendered off giveaways in the NFL this season.

Takeaway bundlesFortunately for Washington their defense has been particularly opportunistic when it has come to takeaways. They've not only recorded takeaways on a consistent basis, but have posted multiple takeaways in seven games this season. It's the most through the first 13 games of the season for Washington since 2012 when they did it in nine games.

Long driversWashington's offense follows the classic West Coast model of dinking and dunking their way down the field. When Cousins is efficient and accurate their offense can hang onto the ball and sustain long drives. That's why Gruden's offense ranks fourth in the league in average number of plays per scoring drive at almost nine plays per series (8.78). They also rank third in the league in number of drives that chew up five minutes of clock or more with 20 so far this season.

House huntersThe special teams units for Washington are not altogether perfect, but their kick return unit has been pretty special this season. They've returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns this season with each run back by a different return man. Andre Roberts had a 99-yard kick return for a touchdown against the undefeated Carolina Panthers, and Rashad Ross took one 101 yards to the house for a score against the Giants. Washington ranks fifth in the NFL in kick return average at almost 26 yards a return (25.8).

Run downIt doesn't matter which side of the ball you're talking about, when it comes to Washington and the run game it's not pretty. Running the ball has developed into a big problem for Jay Gruden's offense, to the point where they've used a short passing game to replace it at times. Washington has just 24 runs this season that have gone for 10 yards or more. That ranks 31st in the NFL. Less than 40 percent of their runs go for four yards or more. Alfred Morris has regressed this season and is now platooning with rookie Matt Jones. Both however, are averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.

The situation isn't much better on defense where Washington's defensive front stands just 24th against the run giving up better than 120 yards a game on the ground. First down runs have been the primary problem as they give up almost five yards per carry on first down (4.96), which ranks 30th in the league.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
"I think our sense of urgency has to come out starting at halftime. I think we have to recognize that we haven't played well in the second half. We may go put that first drive in for a touchdown, but third and fourth quarter is when we need to win football games."
--G Richie Incognito

Stat of the weekWashington is winless in their last seven meetings with AFC East clubs dating all the way back to Nov. 4th 2007 when they beat the Jets. They are 0-3 against the AFC East this season.

Milestones in reachRonald Darby needs three passes defensed to set a franchise record with 24 on the season (Nate Odomes 23, 1991)

Tyrod Taylor needs 106 yards rushing to set the team record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.

Sammy Watkins needs two catches to set the mark for most receptions by a Bill in his first two seasons. Receptions mark is 105, held by Jerry Butler and Robert Woods.

Final noteIn his last four career games against Washington, LeSean McCoy averaged 119 total yards from scrimmage with four touchdowns while averaging four yards per carry.

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