When and where: November 24, 2019, New Era Field, Buffalo, NY, 1:00 PM ET
After a heartbreaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Denver Broncos stay on the road on Sunday for an AFC tilt with the surging Buffalo Bills. One thing is certain: This isn’t the bumbling Bills team from past years. They have a confident, young quarterback in Josh Allen and one of the league’s best defensive units. They are also only three games out from surpassing the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Granted, that’s still light years away, but it does speak to the massive improvements that have taken place within the organization this year. They recently secured their seventh win of the season with a 37-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Is it Lock time in Denver?Broncos head coach Vic Fangio may not be ready to kick the tires on rookie quarterback Drew Lock this season. Even with Joe Flacco on injured reserve and Brandon Allen standing in behind center, the chances of getting a good look at the future for the Broncos may not come any time soon.
“I don’t think it’s vitally important [Lock plays this season],” said Fangio, via ESPN.com. “... I think with a young guy, with limited reps, it can be good, [but] you can get a false positive, you can get a false negative. You need a whole body of work, and that body of work includes offseason, training camp, [the] build up. I’m not putting any limits on him if he does get in there, but I would be reluctant to make final conclusions.”
That’s a new meaning for keeping a player under Lock and key.
The Broncos still have another week to decide if they want to promote Lock (thumb) from injured reserve to the active roster.
It’s back to Allen on Sunday in a tough road meeting with the vaunted Bills defense. Considering all of the problems for the Broncos on the offensive side of the ball, New Era Field could turn into a house of horrors for the young quarterback. The Bills have the No. 3-ranked defense in the league and is top-10 in sack percentage. So you can imagine coach Sean McDermott is thinking of a 1,000 different ways to make the Broncos offense cry uncle.
That is no slight at Allen, who has actually played well considering the circumstances. He helped lead the Broncos to a win over the Cleveland Browns and nearly toppled a playoff contender in the Minnesota Vikings on the road.
Of course, the real hero for the Broncos has been the sensational defensive play. Even with all of the turnover, the unit still ranks fourth in yards allowed (310.8) and ninth in points (19.7). Josh Allen and the up-and-down Bills offense will have their work cut out for them on Sunday.
Can the Bills remain consistent?As the season winds down, the Bills are actually getting into the meat of their schedule. They have meetings against the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots in three of their next six games. Things are about to get much tougher than beating up on a weakened Dolphins team on the road last week.
Not only do the Bills have potential playoff teams on their schedule, but they also have several trap games sprinkled into the mix. Sunday’s meeting with the Broncos would qualify as one of those games.
The Broncos don’t boast much of a threat from an offensive standpoint. Brandon Allen has looked decent in his short time as a starter, but it’s also hard to envision him cracking a Bills secondary allowing only 197.8 passing yards per game. They’d have better luck running the ball up the gut with the two-headed running back monster featuring Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
Yet, the real challenge will be Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s western-style standoff with the Broncos defense. He has been a mixed bag this season with the wacky playground football highlights that brings fans to their feet, but there have also been the backbreaking turnovers and stalled drives that let the doubt creep back in. Denver actually has the more well-rounded defense in their ability to stop the run and pass. Josh will have to figure out ways to make the plays needed to put his team over the top.
He’ll probably have to do so without the assistance of Ty Nsekhe. The veteran offensive tackle is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Broncos are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Broncos are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games in Week 12.
- Broncos are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games on turf.
- Bills are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games against teams in the AFC.
- Bills are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
- Bills are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Bills are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 12.