Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#411 Denver Broncos vs.
#412 Buffalo Bills
Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 1:00pm EDT
New Era Field, Orchard Park
Written by Jordy

An AFC tilt between the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills takes center stage at Highmark Stadium for Week 2 preseason action on Saturday. The Bills are expected to unleash their starting lineup in this game, while the jury is still out on Denver’s approach. Both teams won their preseason openers with the Broncos knocking off the Dallas Cowboys and the Bills eking out a victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Will run game be an issue?

The Broncos only gave up seven points to the Dallas Cowboys in their preseason opener, but they got absolutely gashed on the ground. You can still see the footprints from the Cowboys’ runners at Empower Field. They gave up 141 rushing yards in total on 28 attempts.

But they didn’t give up many points.

We’ll see if that remains the case against a Bills team with the No. 3-ranked scoring offense from last season. Along with running up the scoreboard, the Bills can chew up rushing yards as well. The team ranked sixth in the league with 131.2 rushing yards on average per game. So the Broncos' defense is going to be tested right out of the gates, especially with the Bills expected to play their starters.

Speaking of starters, will we see Russell Wilson get in some reps on the field? That’s one of the bigger question marks heading into this game. If not, it could end up being more of veteran backups Josh Johnson and Brett Rypien against a tough Bills defense that got even better in the offseason.

It’s Allen time on offense

Bills coach Sean McDermott is taking a more aggressive approach on Saturday in playing his starters. Not only is he playing his starters, but he’s planning on playing them for a “healthy amount” of snaps. That could mean big problems for the Broncos considering the bevy of weapons for the Bills.

Quarterback Josh Allen will obviously be the biggest weapon to deal with in this game. The Broncos had a lot of running lanes available for the Cowboys to take advantage of the preseason opener, but McDermott might want to avoid his franchise quarterback scrambling around and taking too many hits in a preseason game.

This matchup should be all about utilizing the running backs and letting Allen rip a few passes from the pocket. Meanwhile, the Bills defense could face a similar challenge of a dual-threat quarterback if the Broncos play Russell Wilson. If not, it’s hard not to like the Bills’ chances with the Broncos’ backup quarterbacks facing a ferocious Buffalo defense.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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The Bills are seemingly all in with this game being treated as their legitimate dress rehearsal ahead of the regular season. Coach Sean McDermott has already stated that his starters will play a “healthy amount” on Saturday. So this isn’t a situation where Josh Allen and company play in a series or two and go have a seat on the bench.

Buffalo is unleashing the hounds on Denver in this game.

It’s no certainty Denver will follow suit given Russell Wilson’s injury history. They might opt to rest their veteran quarterback when facing a Bills defense that averaged the sixth-most sacks when playing in their home building last season. Imagine finally getting a franchise quarterback, only to risk potentially losing him in a preseason game. The Broncos might not want to test those waters.

Allen and company will put on enough of a show in their time on the field for the reserve unit to close things out with a victory. The Bills aren’t losing in Buffalo if Allen is playing significant minutes. I’m laying the points in this one.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills (-6)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Josh Allen and the starting offense for the Bills being back on the field will assure at least some fireworks in Saturday’s AFC matchup. But it won’t be enough to cover the over in the end. Both the Broncos and Bills had the top-two scoring defenses in the league last season.

Teams only averaged 18.3 points per game against the Bills, while the Broncos held opponents to 18.9 points. Allen and the starters are expected to play significant minutes, but McDermott likely won’t chance them playing an entire game. Give me the under in this one.

Prediction: Under (42)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.