After a heartbreaking 33-30 overtime loss to the Vikings, the Bills have a week to learn from the tape and get ready for the Browns.
Here are 5 storylines to know for Week 11.
1. Learning from the mistakes and getting back to winning
Whether it's a win or a loss, the Bills can always learn from the game film. They'll take time this week to correct their mistakes from Sunday's loss in hopes of turning it around for Week 11.
"You've got to be able to learn from every experience whether you win or lose and then be able to apply it where it's necessary," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "That's what we're trying to do every week. It's no different if we had won the game with how we'll be searching tape and trying to figure out things we've got to get better at because that's what the opponent is doing. They're trying to find ways to attack what you're doing.
"So, it's important that we learn from some of the mistakes that we made and continue to try to get better and apply those to our next opponent."
Added motivation to get back into the win column is the fact that the Bills are fighting for the division and the No. 1 seed. Both are not out of the picture yet, but they need to start stacking wins if the Bills want the playoffs to run through Buffalo. If the playoffs were to start this week, all four AFC East teams would be in. This goes to show just how competitive the division has become with the emergence of the Dolphins and the Jets. The AFC East is the only division in the NFL where all teams are currently above .500.
When it comes to conference rankings through 10 weeks, the Bills rank sixth. Buffalo will get an important opportunity on Sunday to stack a much-needed AFC win in a conference led by the Chiefs (7-2). Good for Buffalo, the Browns are giving up more than 26 points a game, which is the most in the AFC and the second most in the NFL.
2. Winning the turnover battle and taking care of the football
It's tough to win in the NFL when you're not winning the turnover battle. The Bills finished the day -2 against the Vikings because Buffalo had four turnovers compared to Minnesota's two. The Bills have been in the plus all year in turnover differential, but after Sunday's loss they fell to minus for the first time all season. They now tie for 19th in the NFL with a turnover margin of -1.
Obviously, Buffalo wants to get this corrected because they know the importance of the turnover battle.
"That's a stat that doesn't change," McDermott said of the impact of turnover differential. "Every year you pull it up, it has a direct impact on winning or losing games. And that's what makes it so frustrating is there was a lot of good football that we played on Sunday. But when you're turning the ball over, you turn the ball over four times, you make it awfully hard, and it almost erases everything else that we did in terms of the scoreboard there. So, we've got to we've got to get that fixed."
Buffalo might have a little bit of help this week with limiting turnovers because the Browns only have three interceptions this season, which ranks near the bottom of the NFL. On defense, the Bills have been taking away the ball at a high rate with 13 interceptions (tied for 1st) and 17 takeaways (t-3rd). McDermott said it's been exciting to watch younger players step up in the absence of starters due to injuries.
"The defense has done a really good job of staying the course and some of those young guys getting valuable experience, stepping up and making big plays," McDermott shared. "That was fun to watch yesterday, and it's been happening most of the season. That's something we have to continue with as well as our fundamentals."
3. What it takes to stop Nick Chubb
One of Cleveland's strength this season has been their rushing attack. They rank fifth in the NFL averaging 158.8 rushing yards per game. Running back Nick Chubb has helped the Browns be a top 10 team on the ground because he is averaging 100 rushing yards per game and ranks third in the NFL with 904 rushing yards this season. He also leads the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns.
The Bills are allowing an average of 109.6 rushing yards per game, which is the seventh lowest in the NFL. But, over the last three weeks Buffalo is allowing an average of 176.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 28th in the league. They limited the Vikings to just 23 rushing yards in the first half, but unfortunately let up an explosive play in the second half.
Buffalo won't get a break this week with Chubb coming in. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier says it's important to not give Chubb a gap to break off a big run.
"We've just got to do a good job of not giving up the explosive plays," Frazier explained. "That explosive run that Dalvin (Cook) had really put a damper on some of the good things we were doing against the run on Sunday. And Chubb is another type of back who you can stop, and stop, and stop, and all of the sudden he can break one. So we have to learn from Sunday's ball game and just stay gap sound and tackle throughout because he is an exceptional running back, and one of the best if not the best in the National Football League."
4. What the stats say about the Bills and Browns
Both the Bills and the Browns are coming off a Week 10 loss and are looking to start stacking wins again. The Browns are 3-6 and haven't won back-to-back games yet this season, while the Bills are 6-3 and had a four-game win streak going before their loss to the Jets.
Here's how the two compare when it comes to the stats:
Points per game – Bills: 27.78 (2nd), Browns: 24.11 (10th)
Total yards per game – Bills: 424.1 (1st), Browns: 375.9 (5th)
Passing yards per game – Bills: 294.2 (2nd), Browns: 217.1 (20th)
Rushing yards per game – Bills: 129.9 (10th), Browns: 158.8 (5th)
Red zone efficiency – Bills: 52.9% (21st), Browns: 60.6% (10th)
Turnover differential – Bills: -1 (tied for 19th), Browns: -5 (t-28th)
Points allowed per game – Bills: 16.78 (2nd), Browns: 26.44 (31st)
Total yards allowed per game – Bills: 319.8 (8th), Browns: 349.1 (17th)
Passing yards allowed per game – Bills: 210.2 (14th), Browns: 218 (19th)
Rushing yards allowed per game – Bills: 109.6 (7th), Browns: 131.1 (23rd)
Opponent red zone efficiency – Bills: 44.4% (3rd), Browns: 58.8% (20th)
Takeaways – Bills: 17 (t-3rd), Browns: 8 (t-27th)
If the Bills can take advantage of some of Cleveland's weaknesses, they have a chance to collect a couple season records. Stefon Diggs is 15 receiving yards away from becoming the fastest Bills receiver to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season. Josh Allen can also become the second Bills quarterback with 3,000 yards in 10 games if he throws for at least 266 yards. Bills legend Drew Bledsoe had 3,000 in 10 games in 2002.
5. Health update
The Bills unfortunately suffered more injuries in Sunday's game. According to Sean McDermott wide receiver Jake Kumerow injured his ankle and is week-to-week and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds suffered a groin injury and his status is unclear for this week.
In terms of Josh Allen's elbow injury, McDermott said the QB "came out of the game in a good spot, so we'll see where he goes."
Defensive end Greg Rousseau, safety Jordan Poyer and cornerback Kaiir Elam did not play in Sunday's game but are all improving according to McDermott.
McDermott also said cornerback Tre'Davious White is still day-to-day.
"He's just not in a position where he's ready, and we're going to continue to take it one day a time."