Before the Buffalo Bills faced Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7, their normal nickel defense had allowed a combined 64.5 quarterback rating in the first six games of the 2018 regular season.
Indianapolis' quarterback dissected Buffalo's defensive personnel grouping that features three cornerbacks on the field to the tune of a 133.5 passer rating in the victory.
|at Indianapolis||Nickel||Big nickel||Jumbo|
|Completions/attempts||14 for 19||2 for 4||0|
Buffalo's nickel mainly had impressive rookie Taron Johson on the field as the slot corner against Indianapolis, but he wasn't exclusively the third corner in those packages, as newly acquired corner Dontae Johnson and Phillip Gaines were on the field with Tre'Davious White for a few snaps.
Indianapolis also gashed Buffalo's nickel for 109 yards on just 14 carries. In the two games prior to the trip to Lucas Oil Stadium, the Bills' nickel had surrendered 105 yards on 31 carries.
Heading into the Week 8 matchup against the New England Patriots, the Bills' nickel package has yielded the following stat line to opposing quarterbacks; 90 of 146 (61.6 percent completion) for 899 yards (6.15 yards per attempt) with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. That equates to a quarterback rating of 75.1.
According to SharpFootballStats.com, New England has used three wide receivers on just 51 percent of its offensive snaps this season, the third-lowest figure in the NFL. While the Patriots' offense doesn't always have the same style or philosophy, if they utilized their offensive personnel against Buffalo the way they have so far in the 2018 campaign, the Bills may not have to be in nickel as often as usual.
Buffalo has not taken a defensive snap in a normal 4-3 alignment with three linebackers, two corners and two safeties on the field since a win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 5.