The Bills are back from London and preparing for their first home primetime game of the season. They'll be facing the Giants who are led by a couple familiar faces in head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.
Here are seven things to know for Sunday Night Football on NBC this week.
1. Daboll's return to Buffalo
Giants head coach Brian Daboll will return to Highmark Stadium for the first time in opposing teams colors. Daboll was the Bills offensive coordinator from 2018-2021 and was hired as the Giants' 20th head coach on January 28, 2022. Daboll has several ties to Western New York as he also grew up in West Seneca.
Sean McDermott said he's been happy to see his former OC take on a bigger role.
"He seems extremely happy," McDermott said. "He's earned that head coaching opportunity. He did a fabulous job in year one and know a lot of their staff over there who were with us who Brian took over there, along with Joe Schoen (former Bills assistant GM) who does an amazing job as a general manager, a real sharp personnel guy. So, they're in good hands and it will be a big test for us."
Daboll also played a huge role in Josh Allen's development as he was the OC for Allen's first four years as an NFL QB. The Giants HC installed an explosive offense that was led by Allen. During the 2020 season, the Bills ranked second scoring an average of 31.31 points per game. They also ranked top 3 the following year.
Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, who was the quarterbacks coach when Daboll was the OC, values the system that Daboll put in place to help Allen and the offense succeed at a high level.
"Dabes did a great job coming in here and putting together a great system that we've been able to build off of and continue to grow throughout time," Dorsey explained. "I think that for one and then two, just the mentality. Just that coming out to do whatever it takes to win a football game. I think he really instilled that in Josh and Josh takes that to heart. And that's really who Josh is, just giving his heart and soul each and every play, each and every game. And a lot of that was Dabes' personality as well."
2. Defense filling the void left by Milano, Jones and White
Just a week after losing cornerback Tre'Davious White for the season, the Bills suffered two more tough losses as linebacker Matt Milano (leg) and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (pec) are out indefinitely after getting injured during last week's game in London. Sean McDermott said that both injuries will require surgery.
Buffalo now has an even bigger void to fill, but the coaching staff believes their depth is ready for the challenge.
"They're here because we believe that if there's an opportunity for them to go into the football game and to help us win, that they can absolutely do that," assistant head coach and defensive line coach Eric Washington said of those who will get an opportunity to play. "So my exposure to them and what I know about them away from being able to start or whatever it may be, is why we have confidence. I have the confidence because I've seen them in a little bit more depth than the average person."
Without Milano, the Bills will lean on players like Tyrel Dodson and Dorian Williams. Both saw action against the Jags when Milano came out. Dodson is in his fifth year with Buffalo and has played in 47 games and started in five. Williams was drafted by the Bills in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
"His experiences, his skillset, the talent, that's a significant piece to take out," Washington said of Milano. "What you try and do is take the next person and make sure that person understands how they need to succeed. He understands the job duty, the description, and we move forward and rally around that person and do everything we can to support him."
It'll be no different when it comes to filling the void of Jones. The Bills will look to players like Jordan Phillips, Tim Settle and Poona Ford. Phillips has played in 111 games and started in 53 in his nine-year career. Ford has made 64 starts in his six-year career, and Settle has started in 48 in his six NFL seasons.
"We feel for the loss of DaQuan or anybody else on defense," Washington said. "Attrition is real in the NFL, but at that particular point, you just have to focus on the next situation that you have in front of you and just always keep a great thought for DaQuan and just give him the spiritual uplift that we can."
The defensive line and the linebacking unit have a great core group of players around them that will also step up the play. To start the season, the group has been one of the best in the NFL as they're allowing an average of 16 points per game (tied for 5th), 325.2 total yards per game (12th), a passer rating of 75.6 (6th), have 13 takeaways (1st) and have allowed just four passing touchdowns (t-3rd).
3. Opportunity for Bills offense to get back on track
The Bills didn't meet their average of 31.8 points per game (3rd in the NFL) on Sunday against the Jags, but they'll have an opportunity to get right back on track in front of their fans on Sunday Night Football.
One way the Bills want to get back on track is by finding a rhythm early with a more balanced offense. They put up 359 passing yards to just 29 rushing yards in Week 5.
"It's something you try and shoot for every week but you're not always going to get it," Sean McDermott said of a balanced attack. "Sometimes you have to stick with what's working. In this case, we really didn't find our rhythm offensively until we were just at the top of the fourth quarter. So, it's something we have to establish earlier, getting into a rhythm offensively whether it be the run or the pass."
"We just got to make sure we're being effective on first and second down, converting on third down, extending drives so that you can incorporate that balance and do those types of things that we've been good in the first few games of the year," Ken Dorsey said.
Heading into Week 6, Buffalo still ranks at the top of the league in several categories. They're averaging 390.4 total yards per game (4th), 274.2 passing yards per game (4th), scoring on 50% of their drives (tied for 3rd), converting 49.2% of their 3rd downs (4th) and scoring touchdowns in the red zone 72.7% of the time (2nd).
They'll be going up against a defense that's allowing 30.6 points per game (29th), 378 total yards per game (27th), scores in the red zone 57.9% of the time (20th) and have just three takeaways (t-28th) through five games.
4. Will Daniel Jones be ready to go?
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a neck injury in last week's game against the Dolphins. Jones was replaced by Tyrod Taylor and did not return to finish the game.
The QB's status is up in the air for this week's game against the Bills, but Brian Daboll is feeling like Jones has a chance.
"I'd say we're optimistic," Daboll told media on Monday. "He's feeling better today, so think he's moving in the right direction. See where he is, obviously, when he comes back on Wednesday. But he doesn't feel terrible today."
Jones appeared on the Up & Adams show on Tuesday and said his goal is to play.
"That's the goal," Jones said of playing in Sunday's game to Kay Adams. "I'm going to do everything I can to be out there."
Jones said the neck injury is different than what he's dealt with in the past. If Jones cannot go, the former Buffalo Bill in Tyrod Taylor will be the next man up. He's played in four games this season and is 11 of 15 for 92 passing yards.
The Giants have lost the last three games and are currently averaging 12.4 points per game (31st in the NFL), 255.2 total yards per game (32nd), have a score per drive percentage of 22.6% (31st) and are converting third downs at a rate of 35.6% (26th).
5. Defensive line ready to rush
The defensive line may not be at full strength due to injuries but there have still been plenty of positives to come out of that position group to start the season. And, the players who will step in to fill the void will aim to keep the play at a high level.
Buffalo leads the NFL with 21 sacks and ties for the most quarterback hits with 40. The defensive line will be going against a Giants offensive line that has let up 28 sacks in five games, which is the second most in the NFL.
One reason why Sean McDermott thinks this group is off to such a hot start is because of their chemistry.
"In Week 1 the guys got off to a pretty good start and that just is infectious, it just rolls from there," McDermott said. "They're confidence has been high, they're playing well together, the chemistry between the four that are rushing together. I think that's all been really fun to watch."
Von Miller will also add to the pass rush as he continues to get back to playing strength.
"Stepping into live NFL action after not being out there for 11 months, even for person of his caliber and resume, that's a tough duty," assistant head coach and defensive line coach Eric Washington said. "But as the game progressed and he found himself in that atmosphere with the speed of the game, every snap, I saw little glimpses of the old Von, and I expect that to continue."
6. Giants ties
With the former Bills offensive coordinator in Brian Daboll and the former Bills assistant general manager in Joe Schoen now serving as the Giants head coach and general manager, several other familiar faces have found new roles in New Jersey as well.
Former Bills defensive lineman Boogie Basham, wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, wide receiver Cole Beasley, running back Matt Breida, tight end Tommy Sweeney and cornerback Nick McCloud now make up part of the Giants roster. All six players were with the Bills when Daboll was the offensive coordinator.
Several coaches have also moved onto to become a part of the Giants staff. Former Bills offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, assistant quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney and assistant linebackers coach John Egorugwu all moved over to the Giants staff. Johnson is the offensive line coach for the Giants, Tierney is the quarterbacks coach and Egorugwu is the inside linebackers coach.
Laura Young who used to work in the Bills player development department now serves as the Director of Coaching Operations for the Giants.
7. First home primetime game
While the Bills started their season with a primetime game, they haven't had one at home yet. Sunday marks their first of three scheduled home primetime games.
Since Sean McDermott became Buffalo's head coach, the Bills are 4-2 in home primetime games. Josh Allen is 4-1 in as a starter and has thrown for 13 passing touchdowns in such games.
The Bills know just how much of a difference Bills Mafia can make at a home game, especially a night game. They want the fans to stay loud through all four quarters to help give them an advantage.
"The fans are critical," assistant head coach and defensive line coach Eric Washington said. "And they pose a huge problem for the offense in terms of their ability to communicate and to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage, and we love that, we embrace the challenge that it poses for us. But that energy that we get from the fans, it's infectious, and it actually pumps us up. It gets us going.
"It just provides a lot of that energy, that emotion that we use to fly around and to just have a great time out there. We know that you know we have tremendous support from our fans."