It’s time for the Bills to hit the road, after three straight games at home. The Bills will look to win their fourth consecutive road game to start the season for the first time since 1965.
Their opponents this week will be the Cleveland Browns who are returning for their first home game in three weeks.
Here are some of the top storylines to follow this week as the Bills get set to play their Lake Erie rivals on Sunday:
1. STEPS FORWARD FOR THE BUFFALO OFFENSE
The first half of the Bills season relied on excellent defense, with the offense working in nine new starters and adding new weapons. There’s evidence from Sunday’s win over Washington that the offense is ready to take significant steps forward in the second half of the season.
The Bills scored on their first three possessions, ran for 122 yards and converted 6-of-12 third downs last week against Washington. One reason for their efficiency, according to Bills radio color analyst Eric Wood, was the variety of offensive looks they put on the field.
“I loved how multiple they were offensively—jet sweeps, play-action, screens, run game, more Devin Singletary, mixing in Frank Gore, spreading the ball around the field,” Wood told One Bills Live. “On a day where the clock was just grinding out in the first half, as I said only three possessions in the first half, they score on all three possessions.”
2. ‘MOTOR’ SKILLS EMPLOYED
Rookie running back Devin ‘Motor’ Singletary seems ready to become an important part of the Bills offensive attack. He received 23 touches in the Washington game with 95 rushing yards and three receptions for 45 yards. He was on the field more than any other running back on the team, and now looks ready to become a major weapon in Buffalo’s offensive arsenal.
Singletary’s rookie season was set back a bit when he sat out three games with a hamstring strain suffered in the Giants game. Now, he looks back and says that three-game hiatus may have helped him.
“I believe that was a blessing in disguise,” he says. “Rookie season, it’s non-stop work, work, work. But during that time, I was able to get back to 100 percent. So, I’m definitely, definitely feeling good going into the second half of the season.”
3. CONSISTENCY COMING FOR JOSH ALLEN?
He’s always had the big arm, the dynamic athleticism, and a natural knack for leadership. Now, it appears Bills second-year quarterback Josh Allen may be developing a level of consistency that serves him well.
Allen has just two turnovers in his last four games. He’s thrown 89 consecutive passes without an interception – a career high for him.
Qualified observers from the outside, like ESPN NFL and College Football analyst Dan Orlovsky, see marked improvement from Allen after 19 starts.
“There’s much more consistency there.,” Orlovsky told One Bills Live this week. “He’s playing a much more consistent brand of football. And he’s doing a nice job of not trying to be the hero all the time. Early on in his career, he was always trying to make a ‘wow’ play. Now there’s a little bit of boring football that he plays, and it’s a complimentary boring football. Josh is doing a nice job of when the plays are there – taking those plays. Not missing those plays.”
Scroll through to view photos of every player currently on the Bills 53-man roster along with updates on their play to this point through 8 games.
4. ALLEN VS. MAYFIELD ROUND ONE
He’s gone up against Sam Darnold twice (one win, one loss). And Josh Allen will go head-to-head with Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson in a month.
This week, it’s Allen versus the top man in the NFL’s 2018 quartarback draft class in Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield lit it up for Cleveland in 13 starts last year completing 64 percent of his passes with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. But through the first half of this season, he’s been outplayed by Allen.
In 2019 Mayfield has seven touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Allen’s half-season quarterbacks rating is 82.9 compared to Mayfield’s 71.3.
5. 6-2 VS. 2-6
The midseason records may be the exact opposite of what NFL experts thought might happen in Buffalo and Cleveland this year. After a hype-filled offseason with big signings, the Browns were supposed to be the “It” team in the AFC. It hasn’t happened yet. And ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky says they only have themselves to blame.
“They are the best team in the NFL—at beating themselves,” Orlovsky says. “They’re on pace to set the NFL record for penalties and they’ve turned the ball over as much as anybody in the NFL.”
6. TIGERS ON THE LOOSE
The Bills shutdown corner, Tre’Davious White, will have his choice of which former LSU receiver to shut down this week. White, a 2017 LSU product, could face Cleveland wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (LSU 2014) or Jarvis Landry (LSU 2014).
White is the standout on Buffalo’s third-ranked pass defense but he’ll be challenged by this pair. Beckham has 39 catches this year, Landry has 36. And Beckham is looking for more, complaining about a lack of targets in Cleveland’s loss in Denver last Sunday.
“I can’t get the ball to save my life,” he said after the game
7. ADD ANOTHER PIECE TO THE BROWNS STRONG RUN GAME
Cleveland already averages 5.2 yards per rush, good for second in the NFL. Second-year back Nick Chubb has done most of the damage with 803 rushing yards already this year.
Here comes another threat—former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. The author of 1,300 rushing yards in his rookie year in 2017, Hunt is eligible to return this week after serving an eight- game suspension. Browns Coach Freddie Kitchens says Hunt will have a role to play this week, after practicing the last two weeks.
8. POYER RETURNS TO ‘THE LAND’
Bills safety Jordan Poyer spent most of his first four seasons in the league in Cleveland with the Browns. He’s established himself in Buffalo over the last two-and-a-half seasons as one of the league’s top safeties.
Poyer wrapped up his time in Cleveland on the sidelines, after suffering a serious injury, a lacerated kidney, six games into the 2016 season. He signed with the Bills the next year and has missed just one start in two-and-a-half years.