1. DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!
Six games left for the Bills, three at home, three on the road. And the Bills path could get a little tougher in the weeks ahead — Denver is one of only two teams left on Buffalo's schedule with a win-loss record under .500 (the Jets, the season finale matchup, is the other one).
The Bills still must face the top two teams in the conference – New England and Baltimore. And they're keeping an eye on Houston and Oakland, one game behind in the AFC standings, and then the Steelers, who are two games back.
It's stretch run time now in the NFL and the Bills are well positioned for a run to the regular season finish line and a playoff spot. They're well-positioned, but not guaranteed anything.
2. STILL FEARLESS?
Head coach Sean McDermott set the tone midway through last week when he told Josh Allen and his team to play "fearless" against the Dolphins.
They did and wound up dominating Miami on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Josh Allen appeared to take the "fearless" direction to heart playing his best game of the year.
Allen told One Bills Live this week when "fearless" meant to him:
"It just kinda gave me a green light to go out there and play free," he said. "Not to worry about things, not to worry about interceptions, not to worry about turning the ball over, not to worry about an incompletion here or there. Obviously, there are still a lot of things I want to clean up, things I have to clean up. But I went out there, put the ball down field, our guys made some plays."
Sounds like a plan for the rest of the season, too.
3. ALLEN VS ALLEN
Two of the league's three starting quarterbacks with the last name of Allen are scheduled to go head-to-head in Orchard Park this weekend — the Bills Josh Allen versus Denver's Brandon Allen. Carolina's Kyle Allen will be in New Orleans.
Brandon Allen will get set for his third NFL start. A sixth-round pick of Jacksonville three years ago, Brandon Allen has bounced from the Jags, to the Rams, to Denver this year, playing his first NFL game three weeks ago against Cleveland.
He has completed 49 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and one interception.
The Broncos used a second-round draft pick on Missouri's Drew Lock last April, but he's been out since preseason with a bad thumb. Lock has been practicing for a week, and he's eligible to come off injured reserve at any point, but it doesn't look like that will happen this week. Denver coach Vic Fangio says it's unlikely Lock will be added to the 53-man roster for the Bills game.
4. BRONCOS BOUNCE BACK?
It's been a rough year for Denver. The Broncos started the season with a four-game losing streak and have now lost three of their last four.
Last week's loss in Minnesota may have been the toughest. Denver bolted out to a 20-0 halftime lead but collapsed in the second half, losing 27-23 to the Vikings. Denver has lost three games this season on opponent's field goals in the final minute.
First year head coach Vic Fangio is trying to keep the faith.
"I think we're close," he said after the Vikings game. "But we haven't gotten over the top well enough yet. We'll eventually get it done. These guys are good guys."
5. NO HUDDLE OR NOT?
Part of what undid the Broncos in Minnesota was the Vikings use of a no-huddle offensive approach in the second half. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins was asked why the no-huddle approach threw off Denver's strong defense so much.
"It worked," Cousins told ESPN. "And I don't know if that's because you run play after play without huddling, and they start to get a little winded, and now they don't have the same get-off as they had in the first half—I'm not sure."
Now, here comes Buffalo, which went almost exclusively no-huddle in the win at Miami last Sunday.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll isn't handing out any clues on his approach this week.
"Just because you go no-huddle doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to drive down and score a bunch of points," Daboll said Monday. "It's the execution of whatever concept, whether it's huddle-up, use different personnel groups, go fast. Going fast allows them to have more time at the line of scrimmage, so you can see things, we can communicate up until the time ends. So, we'll see how it goes."
6. FORD TOUGH UP FRONT
Bills rookie tackle Cody Ford has started 9 of 10 games this year at right tackle. And now his workload looks like it will get heavier.
The Bills haven't said whether the ankle injury suffered by tackle Ty Nsekhe will keep him out, but they're moving ahead with Ford as the man at the position. So far this season, he and Nsekhe have played a fairly even split of right tackle snaps: Ford had 52 percent of them going into the Miami game.
Now, he'll get ready for the bulk of the right tackle snaps, maybe joining the rest of the Bills starters on the offensive line who get 90 percent or more of the work.
7. JOB SHARE AT CORNERBACK NOW?
The Bills split the reps at cornerback opposite Tre'Davious White last Sunday, with starter Levi Wallace getting 33 snaps and Kevin Johnson getting 36. That may be the way forward for the Bills at the spot, although defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier wasn't ready to announce a rotation early this week.
"We'll take a look at it again this week and see what's the best thing to do," Frazier said. "Kevin is a really good football player and so is Levi. You want to get them on the field. We've been using Kevin previously at the nickel position and given him opportunities that way. But he's been a really good corner. And so, we wanted to give him a chance and we'll see how it goes this week as we prepare."