What to watch for: Bills-Giants

Check out Sal's game preview as the Bills look to go 2-0 to start the 2019 season

Sal Capaccio
September 15, 2019 - 12:34 am

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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The Buffalo Bills will look to go 2-0 on Sunday by pulling off rare back-to-back wins in the same road stadium when they take on the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Here are three keys to the game, plus notes and stats:

 

  • Big plays

The Bills were great against the big play last week, and the Giants were not, especially against the pass. The Bills were the only team in the league who did not give up a play of at least 20 yards. The Giants were one of five teams who gave up seven plays of 20 yards or more, tied for the most in the league. All of them came through the air. The Bills' offense had four such passing plays. All of this should translate into the Bills having opportunities to make big plays down the field.  You never know when those chances present themselves, but when they do, the Bills need to take advantage.

 

  • Giants' depleted wide receiver corps

The Bills have three players on their offense who have at least 3,000 receiving yards in their career: running back Frank Gore, and wide receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley. The combined career yards for the Giants wide receivers expected to play is 2,573, led by Bennie Fowler's 937. I'm not counting Cody Latimer as "expected to play" for the Giants. He's questionable. Even if he does play, that would put them at 3,282. Of course it wasn’t supposed to be that way for New York. Free agent addition Golden Tate is suspended and Sterling Shepard is out with a concussion. That leaves Fowler, T.J. Jones, and Russell Shepard as the only other available wideouts. The Bills had the best pass defense in the NFL last year, and have the second-fewest allowed so far this year after one week. Their secondary should have a huge personnel advantage against the Giants' wide receivers.

 

  • Slowing down Saquon

Giants running back Saquon Barkley might already be the best in the game. He’s fast, strong, and elusive. He finished second in the NFL in rushing yards last year in just his rookie season, with 1,307. He added another 721 receiving for a total of 2,028 yards from scrimmage, the most in the NFL. Last week against the Dallas Cowboys, Barkley only touched the ball 17 times, but he totaled 139 yards from scrimmage, including a whopping 10.9 yards per-carry, running for 120 on just 11 carries. Part of the reason he had such few carries was because the Giants were down most of the game and threw the ball in order to play catch-up. But considering the depleted wide receiver corps and knowing he’s their best player, expect New York to use Barkley a lot more against the Bills. Buffalo’s defense will know that’s coming and needs to have all-hands-on-deck when it comes to tackling Barkley, not allowing him to get into the second level and have the ability for a huge run.

 

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