The Buffalo Bills made quick work of the New York Jets on Sunday, winning 32-6 in a game that felt over after a fumble on the opening kickoff. New York had to play near-perfect football to win with quarterback Zach Wilson under center, and Week 11 was far from it.
Buffalo’s win probability never dipped below 75 percent, and after quarterback Josh Allen connected with receiver Khalil Shakir for an 81-touchdown, the Bills might as well have started preparing for Week 12 as the final seconds ticked down considering the elite opponent they now have to face.
On Sunday, Buffalo travels south for a late afternoon date with the Philadelphia Eagles. At 9-1, Philadelphia has put itself in a strong position for the NFC’s top seed. Having just defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in their own building on Monday in. 21-17 comeback win, returning home against an inconsistent Bills squad could keep the good times coming.
Buffalo, of course, is fighting for its playoff life at 6-5. The AFC is crowded and while Week 11 was a statement of sorts, the Bills will have to beat good teams down the stretch to stay afloat.
Assistant head coach Eric Washington is wary of the challenge Philadelphia presents but remained even-keeled on Monday.
“Every week in the National Football League is challenging and this is the next challenge for us,” Washington said. “Certainly, we’re gonna need a great week of practice, we’re gonna really need to do our homework as a staff and present it to the players with a concise, clear plan of attack that doesn’t drift away from our core identity.”
The last week had been spent scrambling to transition into the Joe Brady era as interim offensive coordinator. These next few days should prove equally important to Buffalo’s short-term future. The Eagles’ rushing attack is not only unstoppable in certain short-yardage situations, but it is also versatile enough to make opposing defenses play left-handed.
Furthermore, quarterback Jalen Hurts’ presence puts the math in their favor with the threat to hold onto the football, and when he drops back to pass, he’s operating one of the most successful vertical attacks in the league.
Philadelphia would be a tough task for any defense, much less one without injured starters at every level. The Eagles offense, on paper, is far more talented than the Bills defense. Thus, creating turnovers takes on even more importance.
“Execution is gonna be huge and we’re gonna have to be just as opportunistic in that environment as we were [Sunday],” Washington continued. “Those things give you a chance. I know they’re going to be stingy, they take care of the ball extremely well, and we’re gonna have to go and force some opportunities for themselves”
Don’t be surprised if Week 11 comes down to a new addition like cornerback Rasul Douglas making a play on the ball. The recently-acquired trade piece had three takeaways on his own in the win over the Jets. Philadelphia’s boundary streaks are a staple, putting defenders into one-on-one matchups against perhaps the league’s best receiving duo. Someone’s going to have to make a play if Buffalo’s offense once again stumbles out of the gate.
Washington seems confident in the defense’s ability to do so.
“I’m excited about the challenge and I know our players will be also.”