DENVER (3-5) at BUFFALO (5-4)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Denver 2-5-1; Buffalo 3-6.
SERIES RECORD: Bills lead 23-16-1.
LAST MEETING: Bills beat Broncos 48-19 at Denver on Dec. 20, 2020.
LAST WEEK: Broncos bye; Bills lost to Bengals 24-18.
BRONCOS OFFENSE: OVERALL (22), RUSH (11), PASS (28), SCORING (16).
BRONCOS DEFENSE: OVERALL (32), RUSH (32), PASS (26), SCORING (31t).
BILLS OFFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (16), PASS (5), SCORING (5).
BILLS DEFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (26t), PASS (14), SCORING (5).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Broncos even; Bills even.
BRONCOS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Javonte Williams. The third-year pro is rounding into form after a devastating injury in Week 4 last season when he tore multiple ligaments in his left knee. Over the past two games, Williams has rushed for 82 and 85 yards, keying the Broncos' turnaround after a 1-5 start while he was still easing back into the tough, physical, tackle-breaking rusher he was pre-injury.
BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: Edge rusher Von Miller. The NFL’s active leader in sacks has yet to get a sack in five games since missing nearly 10 months recovering from right knee surgery. The Bills have eased in Miller, who has yet to play more than 27 snaps in a game. The 34-year-old faces his former team for the first time since being traded to the Los Angeles Rams during the 2021 season.
KEY MATCHUP: Josh Allen versus Broncos secondary. Allen has thrown an interception in each of his past five outings while overseeing an offense that’s been held to 25 or fewer points over that span. He’s facing a Broncos defense that has tightened up in allowing just 212 yards passing and generated five interceptions in its past four outings, including two in a 24-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago.
KEY INJURIES: Broncos TE Greg Dulcich has only played in parts of two games this season because of hamstring injuries. He missed a good chunk of his rookie season with the same issue. ... Bills starting linebacker Terrel Bernard (concussion protocol) and starting CB Christian Benford (hamstring) did not practice. ... The starting safety tandem Micah Hyde (stinger) and Jordan Poyer (leg) bears monitoring after not practicing on Thursday.
SERIES NOTES: The Bills have won three straight and five of the past six meetings, including three at home. ... In their previous meeting in 2020, the Bills had 534 yards, which ranks seventh on the franchise list. ... Buffalo won nine straight over their fellow former American Football League rivals, spanning 1961 to ’67. The Broncos won five straight meetings from 1995 to ‘07.
STATS AND STUFF: The Broncos are riding their first winning streak since Weeks 2-3 of last season. They haven't won three in a row since winning their first three games in 2021 under former head coach Vic Fangio. ... Russell Wilson is one of two QBs (Tua Tagovailoa) with three or more TD passes in three or more games this season. ... Wilson's bounce-back season (16 TDs, four INTs) has been tempered by some dubious decisions and turnovers. Two of Wilson’s five career games with fewer than 120 yards passing have come in the past three weeks, both against Kansas City. ... WR Jerry Jeudy caught his first touchdown pass of the season against the Chiefs in Denver's most recent game. That snapped a string of 10 consecutive scoreless performances by the 2020 first-round pick, who was the subject of much trade speculation before the Broncos stood pat at the deadline. ... WR Courtland Sutton needs one TD catch to set a career high with seven. ... S Kareem Jackson will miss the final game of his two-game suspension for an illegal hit on Packers TE Luke Musgrave, his fifth flagged hit of the season. ... ILB Alex Singleton has double-digit tackles in all three road games so far. ... ILB Baron Browning had career-high two sacks and first career forced fumble against Kansas City in Week 8. ... CB Pat Surtain II has broken up passes in four of his past five games. ... S Justin Simmons is coming off his first game with both an interception and a fumble recovery. ... The Bills are making their third consecutive prime-time appearance, and fifth of six on their schedule this season. Buffalo is 2-2 in night games so far. ... Bills coach Sean McDermott has a 67-39 record, leaving him one win from matching Lou Saban for second on the franchise list. Hall of Famer Marv Levy is first with 112 victories. ... Allen has scored a TD rushing in three straight outings, and has a team-leading six overall this season. His 44 career touchdowns rushing moved him one ahead of Steve Young for second on the NFL list among quarterbacks and trails only Cam Newton (75). ... Allen’s 201 TDs, including 156 passing and one receiving, rank second among NFL QBs through their first six seasons, and trail only Patrick Mahomes (204). ... Allen is 33-24 when committing a turnover. ... With six catches for 86 yards against Cincinnati, WR Stefon Diggs became the NFL’s second player in the Super Bowl era to open a season with six or more receptions in each of his first nine games. Wes Welker did so in 11 straight games in both 2008 and ’09. ... TE Dalton Kincaid’s 40 catches this season are the most by a rookie tight end in team history. He had 10 receptions against the Bengals to break the record of 36 set by Tony Hunter in 1983. ... Kincaid’s 399 yards receiving rank fifth among franchise tight ends and are 84 shy of breaking the record set by Ernie Warlick in 1962. ... The Bills are 0-4 this season and 1-8 since 2021 when held under 100 yards rushing. ... Joe Burrows’ 348 yards passing last week were the most against Buffalo in a game ending in regulation since Tua Tagovailoa had 361 in Miami’s 56-26 loss to close the 2020 season. The Dolphins actually finished with 393 yards passing that outing after receiver Lynn Bowden had a 32-yard completion.
FANTASY TIP: Good luck attempting to figure out the Bills usage of RB James Cook, who has too often become the forgotten option in coordinator Ken Dorsey’s offense. Buffalo is 5-2 when he has 11 or more touches this season, after managing just 10 — and just four in the first half — against the Bengals.
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