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Advanced Stats: Bills-Broncos matchups to watch, Jordan Matthews in slot battle

The Buffalo Bills host the Denver Broncos in a Week Three outing that's the second-straight game with many of familiar faces squaring off against each other.

Rick Dennison was the Broncos offensive coordinator over the past two seasons, so he certainly knows Trevor Siemian, Demaryius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders very well.

Let's assess some critical one-on-one matchups in this AFC showdown.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Bills' biggest disadvantage

DE Derek Wolfe vs. RT Jordan Mills

Sure, Von Miller creates a mismatch basically every time he's on the field, but you already knew that. Let's look at another one-on-one matchup.

Through two games, Mills is the lowest-graded run-blocking offensive tackle in the NFL.

In Week One against the Chargers, Wolfe, who mostly plays left defensive end, received a +0.7 run-defending grade, which featured one "stop." Last week against the Cowboys, Wolfe had a +2.3 run-stop grade, which included two stops.

It's fair to say that the Bills will likely have their issues run-blocking on the right side of their line against Wolfe – and Miller.

Bills' biggest advantage

Lorenzo Alexander vs. Menelik Watson

In Sean McDermott's defense, Alexander has played essentially every linebacker position through two games, but he's best utilized as an edge-rusher. While he won't spend many snaps with his hand in the dirt, he will rush the passer as a strongside linebacker near the line of scrimmage.

Alexander currently has the NFL's highest Pass-Rush Productivity (23.9) among all edge-rushers in football. He's generated seven quarterback pressures (one sack, one hit, and five hurries) on just 23 pass-rushing snaps.

The Broncos right tackle has surrendered 13 quarterback pressures thus far (six sacks, two hits, five pressures), the third-most quarterback pressures among all offensive tackles in the NFL. Also, no offensive linemen – at any position – has allowed as many sacks as Watson.

Although Alexander isn't guaranteed to face Watson every snap, when Buffalo aligns its veteran linebacker on the left side of the defensive formation, he'll see the struggling right tackle and find himself in a super advantageous situation.

Best one-on-one matchup

Jordan Matthews vs. Chris Harris

A season ago, among the 25 receivers who took at least 50 percent of their respective team's snaps from the slot, Matthews had the fifth-highest yards-per-route run (YPRR) figure (1.77). He ran 329 routes from the slot and had 582 yards from that pre-snap alignment. He's run 44 routes from the slot and has 43 yards from there, good for 0.98 YPRR through two games in 2017. That places him at No. 16 out of 20 qualifying wideouts.

Meanwhile, Chris Harris Jr. was the NFL's premier slot cornerback in 2016. He allowed the lowest yards per coverage snap (0.59) and the lowest passer rating (74.1) among defensive backs who accounted for at least 50% of their team's coverage snaps from the slot.

Thus far in 2017, he's allowed 0.21 yards per coverage snap from the slot (the second-lowest in football under the same snap-percentage stipulation), and the 12th-best passer rating of 85.4.

Harris Jr. goes 5'10" and around 190 pounds. Matthews is 6'3" and around 215 pounds. It'll be a fine slot matchup on Sunday.

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