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Scouting Report

Bills will host desperate Eagles in Week 8

When the Bills run: Veteran Frank Gore continues to lead the Buffalo Bills in rushing, with 388 yards on 86 carries. Gore has faced eight-plus defenders in the box on 38.4% of his rushing attempts this season, according to the NFL’s Next Gen stats, which makes his 4.5-yards-per-carry average even more impressive. The Bills eased Devin Singletary back into action last week against Miami, giving the rookie just seven carries for 26 yards. The expectation remains that Singletary will eventually take over the bulk of the running duties but, for now, Gore is holding him off. The Bills elected to make T.J. Yeldon a healthy inactive last week with Singletary back in the lineup. With Senorise Perry in the lineup for special teams as a third running back, it might be a while before Yeldon plays again. EDGE: Even.

When the Bills throw: The hot topic in Buffalo this week has been Josh Allen’s deep-ball accuracy. Long story short: He’s got to be much better on those throws. Allen knows it, too. Defenses aren’t going to respect the threat of getting beat over the top if Allen keeps overthrowing his receivers. There is no doubt John Brown has established himself as Allen’s favorite target. Brown has received 36.6% of the Bills’ team air yards, which ranks ninth in the league, per Next Gen stats. The Bills’ leader in separation among receivers is Cole Beasley, who is averaging 3.5 yards of separation at the time of being targeted. There should be plays available for Brown and Beasley in the passing game Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles enter with one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL, allowing 270.6 yards per game, 27th in the NFL. EDGE: Bills.

When the Eagles run: Philadelphia has one of the most and one of the least efficient runners in the NFL. Jordan Howard’s efficiency – which is calculated by taking the total distance a running back travels as a ball carrier per rushing yards gained – is 3.36, which ranks eighth in the NFL. Miles Sanders, on the other hand, has an efficiency of 5.09, which is the second highest in the league. That means Howard is more of the north-south runner, while Sanders will try and attack defenses at the edges. Not surprisingly, Sanders is spending more time behind the line of scrimmage. His average of 2.96 seconds ranks seventh in the league. Middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has made five tackles for loss this season among his 25 tackles. EDGE: Bills.

When the Eagles throw: Quarterback Carson Wentz looks to get the ball downfield. According to Next Gen stats, Wentz’s average intended air yards on his pass attempts is 9.3, which ranks eighth in the NFL. Wentz’s expected completion percentage is 64.9, which is higher than his actual completion percentage of 61.3. In short, Wentz hasn’t been the Eagles’ biggest, or only, problem. Former first-round draft pick Nelson Agholor has been getting crushed in Philadelphia this week for his effort on a deep pass against Dallas in Week 7. Agholor, who is making nearly $10 million this season, has seven catches for 86 yards over the last four weeks. That’s Zay Jones territory. Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White won his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his two-takeaway effort against the Dolphins. The Bills don’t win against Miami without White. EDGE: Bills.

Special teams: The Bills rose from last in Football Outsiders’ rankings of special teams to 28th this week, thanks to a strong game from Stephen Hauschka. His three first-half field goals against Miami increased his conversion rate on field goals this season to 77.8%. The Bills still rank last in Football Outsiders’ punting grade. Corey Bojorquez’s net average of 34.4 yards remains the worst in the NFL. Bojorquez also leads the league with five touchbacks, which is not a good thing. The leader in net punting average is Philadelphia’s Cameron Johnston, at 44.6 yards. The Eagles’ Darren Sproles has long been a dangerous punt returner, but missed last week’s game with a quadriceps injury and did not practice at the start of the week. EDGE: Eagles.

Coaching: Sean McDermott took the “next game” approach, but it has to be special for him go up against his hometown team for the first time as a head coach. McDermott got his start in the NFL with the Eagles. He can go a long way toward sinking their 2019 season if he leads the Bills to a victory Sunday. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll hasn’t been shy about calling run plays for Allen. That makes sense given the quarterback’s athleticism, but it’s hard not to think Daboll is playing with fire each time. It’s worth asking just how much Doug Pederson did for the Eagles during their Super Bowl run – and how much Philadelphia misses Frank Reich, its offensive coordinator from that season. Given the success Reich has had in Indianapolis, it’s looking more like his contributions to the Eagles went underappreciated. Pederson and the Eagles will be the more desperate team Sunday. EDGE: Even.

Prediction: Eagles 24, Bills 21

Bills O-line braces for dinged-up – but formidable – Eagles front

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