The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in for their second primetime game of the year, and it’s set to be a tough one.
The Bucs will play the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, New York, on Thursday, and it will be on a short week after a rough 16-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Bills aren’t exactly a bounceback opponent, either, as they boast one of the best offenses in the league.
We went behind enemy lines and sat down with Bills Wire’s Nick Wojton to talk about the Bills offense, Dawson Knox’s injury, the team’s pass-rushing prowess and more:
The Bills had a rough loss to a bad Patriots team on Sunday, though division rivalries always complicate things. What went wrong there, and how will the Bills try to fix it on Thursday?
Wojton: Not to sound like Sean McDermott dusting off a ton of coach-speak that means nothing, but they have to improve their fundaments. The Bills have struggled to handle the blitz on offense and maybe the O-line needs some help there. Defensively, they couldn’t tackle anybody. Patriots QB Mac Jones had himself a day if you’re looking at his stat line–But I’m not sure he threw one pass further than 10 yards down the field. It was all quick passes and it was all terrible execution by Buffalo’s defense.
Buffalo remains one of the best offenses in the NFL per advanced metrics, but TE Dawson Knox is set to have surgery on his wrist. How much of a factor will that injury be for the offense?
Wojton: I don’t think Knox’s injury will hamper the Bills offense too much. I’ve questioned Buffalo doing two things: 1. Extending Knox, 2. Drafting Dalton Kincaid. Both have talent, don’t get me wrong, but QB Josh Allen never seems to turn to his tight ends often and he still hasn’t much this year even with the team running 12 personnel a bunch. Kincaid had a career day last week with eight catches for 75 yards. Hopefully, that can lead to more production out of the tight end position because aside from WR Stefon Diggs, it’s hit-or-miss if anyone else contributes much on offense.
What would you say is Buffalo's biggest strength on defense? What is its biggest weakness?
Wojton: Defensively their biggest strength is the pass rush… and they’re not even getting anything from Von Miller yet. AJ Epenesa and Greg Rousseau are breaking out and Leonard Floyd has been a strong addition. Once this crew has Miller back to 100 percent from his season-ending knee injury last year, it’s going to be scary. The weakness is covering for linebacker Matt Milano. Everyone knew that’d be difficult. The drop-off went from All-Pro player to the basement. Rookie third-round pick Dorian Williams has been benched in two of three games since Milano’s injury. Not good.
Who is a Bills player flying under the radar this year that Bucs fans should look out for?
Wojton: CB Christian Benford has played well. Following Tre’Davious White’s (yes, another) season-ending Achilles injury, Benford is now the No. 1. He’s no All-Pro, but he’s outplayed his sixth-round pick status.
What is your game and score prediction for the matchup?
Wojton: I think the spread is awfully high, but the Bills desperately need a win. Back in Buffalo, I’ll go Bills 24, Bucs 17.