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Scouting Report

Bills have a chance to get ground game right against Redskins

When the Bills run: The rush offense continues to be strong on a per-play basis, averaging 4.88 yards per carry, which ranks fifth in the league. The team is coming off its worst performance of the season, however, held to less than 100 yards for the first time in a 31-13 loss to the Eagles. On a day when it was clear the run game was going to take priority because of the wind, the Bills’ offensive line failed to establish itself. Frank Gore was held to just 34 yards on nine carries, while Devin Singletary gained just 19 on three rushing attempts – with 16 of those yards coming on a meaningless carry on the last play of the game. That means he had 3 yards on two carries in the first 59 minutes. It’s time to get him the ball earlier in games. This is a particularly good week, as the Redskins rank 28th against the rush, allowing 137.8 yards per game. EDGE: Bills.

When the Bills pass: The Bills elected not to add a wide receiver at the trade deadline. They could really use either Duke Williams or Robert Foster to emerge as a third option behind John Brown and Cole Beasley. It’s baffling that they haven’t found a way to involve Foster after the way he ended the 2018 season. Quarterback Josh Allen struggled with accuracy against the Eagles, completing less than 50% of his passes for just the second time this season. The Bills have lost both those games. The Redskins have tightened things up in the secondary the last three weeks, allowing just one touchdown pass. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar is underrated. Veteran cornerback Josh Norman was torched for four touchdowns in the first four games of the season, while opposing quarterbacks completed 87.2% of their throws on first downs in the first month. EDGE: Bills.

When the Redskins run: Washington has its own ageless running back. Adrian Peterson moved to sixth on the all-time rushing list last week and needs 401 more yards to pass Curtis Martin and move into the top five, one spot behind the Bills’ Frank Gore. Injuries have hurt the Redskins in the backfield. Derrius Guice is out until at least Week 11, and Chris Thompson has missed the last two games with a toe injury. You can bet that the Redskins will try to follow the game plan implemented by the Eagles against the Bills’ run defense. EDGE: Redskins.

When the Redskins pass: It hasn’t really mattered who throws the passes for Washington – they are all struggling. Case Keenum, who is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, has started seven games, throwing nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Rookie first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins, who has been forced into action twice in relief appearances, has thrown four picks on just 22 attempts – a rate of 18.2%. He’s clearly not ready to play, which could be good news for Buffalo’s defense. The Bills’ pass rush also might be in for a big day. The Redskins have allowed 22 sacks, which is seventh most in the NFL. Washington does have a promising rookie receiver in Terry McLaurin. He leads all rookies with 28 catches for 458 yards and five touchdowns. EDGE: Bills.

Special teams: The Bills are converting just 70% of their field goals this season, which ranks 26th in the NFL. That number was brought down by Stephen Hauschka’s miss from 53 yards against the Eagles. Hauschka also had an extra point blocked in what was another poor showing for the special teams. Punter Corey Bojorquez boomed a 58-yard punt into the wind against the Eagles, then had a 30-yard punt with the wind in the fourth quarter. In other words, he remains as inconsistent as ever. He continues to lead the NFL with six touchbacks, and has the worst net punting average, 38.4. The punt coverage has dropped to last in the NFL, allowing an average return of 12.2 yards. EDGE: Redskins.

Coaching: This is the first real adversity Sean McDermott has faced this season. The loss to New England was close, and let’s face it: Nobody expected the Bills to win that game anyway. Getting blown out by an average Philadelphia team is a different story. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has come under fire for his continued use of Allen as a runner and failure to get Singletary involved earlier. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has to fix a suddenly leaky run defense. Even with all that being the base, the Bills are still miles ahead of the mess currently going on in Washington. The Redskins have already fired head coach Jay Gruden, and are being led by Bill Callahan on an interim basis. EDGE: Bills.

Prediction: Bills 27, Redskins 13

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