The Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills come into their Monday Night Football matchup with nearly inverse records. Coincidentally, their fortunes seem to be diverging, and their records could be converging.
Just a few weeks ago, this matchup would have been an afterthought. However, things have changed drastically since the Broncos allowed 70 points to the Miami Dolphins. In fact, things couldn’t be much different.
Denver is coming off a bye week after beating the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time since Barack Obama was the President of the United States. They’ve won two games in a row and are looking for a third.
Meanwhile, the Bills look like a completely different team now than they did when they thrashed the Dolphins by 28 points at home. Since then, they’ve split losses and wins each week, and they’ve lost manpower along the way.
Denver Broncos vs. Buffalo Bills Predictions
What does the PFN selection committee think of Monday’s battle?
- Beasley: Bills
- Bearman: Bills
- Miller: Bills
- Morrison: Bills
- Robinson: Bills
As the creator of the weekly PFN picks column, your’s truly gets the opportunity to select games last. It has its strategic advantages and disadvantages.
The committee was unanimous here, but everyone is lying to themselves if they told you they felt confident with their pick.
Injuries Derailed Buffalo’s Defense
Losing Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, and DaQuan Jones in rapid succession was a gut punch to the Bills’ defense. Since Week 5, no team in the entire NFL has produced worse EPA metrics than the Bills. And in that time, only the Buccaneers and the Patriots have been worse at defending the pass.
But the injuries go beyond that. On Monday, they’ll also be without Micah Hyde and Christian Benford. Losing multiple defensive backs and playing a Russell Wilson-led passing attack could spell disaster. Say what you want about his consistency as a passer, but Wilson is a menace attacking downfield.
Josh Allen vs. the Broncos Defense
According to Inside Edge, no team in the NFL forces fewer three-and-outs than the Broncos at 9%. The next-closest team is Philadelphia at 13.2%, and the Steelers are at 16.3%. They have also allowed 7.6 yards per dropback in 2023, which is also the worst mark in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Allen is second in adjusted EPA per play and has the second-highest success rate in the league behind Brock Purdy. One may be thinking, “Dalton, if Brock Purdy is the leader in those stats, doesn’t that water down Allen’s accomplishments?”
No, it doesn’t. We saw the same thing with Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco. We’ve now seen him benched by the Raiders. In that offense, the situation matters. Any reasonable person knows that Allen is multiple tiers more talented than Purdy.
In other words, Allen can really hurt you, especially if you struggle to rush the passer. The Broncos are 24th in pressure and sack rate, according to Sports Info Solutions. Their sack rate is 25th.
But Baron Browning is back on the field after being injured to start the season, and he has posted 10 pressures and two sacks in that time. That will be something to watch for when the Bills meet third down.
Stefon Diggs vs. Patrick Surtain II
Follow the leader!
If Patrick Surtain travels with Stefon Diggs throughout the game, there is nothing else anybody needs to watch when the Bills are on offense against the Broncos’ defense. However, Surtain hasn’t frequented the slot much, and Diggs spends roughly a third of his time on the inside.
We don’t often get to witness battles between top-five players at their respective positions. Diggs is one of the smoothest, most explosive route runners in the NFL, and Surtain is arguably the most technically sound cornerback in the league. What comes from this matchup might decide the game.