3 Key Bills/Broncos Matchups

The Buffalo Bills are trying to keep pace in the Wild Card race on Sunday. They'll be trying to slow down a Denver Broncos team that averages 35.3 points at home. To pull off the upset, here are three key matchups that the Bills must win.

The Buffalo Bills face a pretty tall task on Sunday. The team needs to go on the road and defeat the Denver Broncos. Denver is 6-0 at home this season and averages 35.3 points per game at Mile High Stadium.

Containing Peyton Manning is a given, so you won’t find him listed in these three matchups. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer can pick teams apart, so Buffalo’s defense will need to continue their strong play to keep the Bills in the game.

Matchup of the Week: Sammy Watkins vs. Aqib Talib/Chris Harris Jr.

Sammy Watkins caught 12 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns in Week 7 and 8. In the four games since, Watkins has 13 receptions for 105 yards and no touchdowns. He’s battled injuries (groin and hip), solid cornerback play and the “rookie wall” as of late. The Bills need Watkins to play at a high level to have any chance of upsetting the Broncos.

The Broncos have a terrific 1-2 punch at cornerback with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Talib is probable to play on Sunday, but he’s battling a hamstring injury. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Harris line up across from Watkins. Harris is having a career year and is currently Pro Football Focus’ (Subscription Required) No. 1 cornerback. In 12 games this season, Harris has given up 35 receptions on 68 targets (51.5 percent) for 256 yards. Harris has yet to have a receiver score a touchdown against him and has logged two interceptions on the season.

Buffalo’s wide receivers will be tested tomorrow and it all starts with Watkins. If Watkins plays at the level he played prior to Buffalo’s bye, the Bills will have a chance on Sunday.

C.J. Anderson vs. Bills Front Seven

It sounds odd saying this, but C.J. Anderson has been Denver’s best player in the last two weeks. The running back has 59 carries for 335 yards and one touchdown. He’s also contributed in the receiving game, catching six receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. In his last four games, Anderson has gone over 100 total yards. He may be the most dangerous weapon on the field for the Broncos on Sunday. Anderson can extend drives and take time off of the clock if the Broncos get a decent lead.

Buffalo’s defense has been pretty strong against the run all season and they’ll need to continue their high level of play on Sunday. The Bills are currently ranked seventh in the NFL in run defense, giving up 96.3 yards per game. Buffalo’s front seven will need to continue their strong play against Anderson. In doing so, they’ll be taking away Denver’s most consistent weapon over the last month.

Cordy Glenn vs. DeMarcus Ware

Buffalo’s best offensive lineman will have his hands full on Sunday with DeMarcus Ware. Glenn is PFF’s 13th ranked left tackle, but he’s had his struggles in 2014. The analytics site says that Glenn is responsible for allowing seven sacks, four quarterback hits and 15 quarterback hurries. On Sunday, Glenn will need to play at a high level to give Kyle Orton time in the pocket. That’s easier said than done against Ware.

The Broncos defensive end has 33 total tackles, 10 sacks, an interception and two forced fumble on the season. He’s also credited with 12 quarterback hits and 23 quarterback hurries. Ware is playing outstanding football in his 10th season. Expecting Glenn to stop Ware would be foolish, but he needs to limit Ware’s effectiveness on Sunday.


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories