by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert

The biggest surprise win of the weekend was the Buffalo Bills not only beating the Jets in New Jersey but also blowing them out in the process. This goes to prove that when this Bills team concentrates on the task at hand they are capable of putting together 60 minutes of good football. The big question is why can’t they do it every week?

Going into the game what looked like a big advantage for the Jets never panned out. Josh McCown is a very experienced QB and over the years he has had some very good games. The thinking was that with McCown at QB it actually gave the Jets a better chance to win than rookie Sam Darnold who was out with an injury.

Then you figure that the Bills were going to play with Matt Barkley at QB, a player who had less than two weeks practicing with the Bills. How was he possibly going to go on the road and win an NFL game under those conditions?

Barkley Is Better

I am very familiar with Matt Barkley, I worked with Philadelphia as a consultant when the Eagles drafted Matt in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft. I was also in Chicago when he started a bunch of games for the Bears in 2016. His game hasn’t changed.

Barkley is very smart, can read defenses and processes quickly. He has a quick delivery and can be very accurate with his short throws. He’s a move the chains type. He has limitations though. One is he has a very average arm. He just doesn’t have the arm to stretch the field. When he tries, more often than not bad things happen.

In 2016, he threw for over 300 yards in three games for the Bears but they lost all three, He also threw for a total of 10 interceptions in those games. The coaching staff cannot ask him to do things he can’t physically do.

Matt Barkely can win if you have a ball control offense. An offense that can run the ball and be successful with short passes. Try anything else and he will get you beat.

Defense Dominant

What was pleasing about yesterday, was not only did the offense perform but the defense may have played their best game since the Minnesota game. The Bills defense held the Jets to 199 yards of total offense. They got only 83 yards on the ground, sacked McCown three times and forced two turnovers. If they can come close to performances like that every week they will have a strong chance of winning.

The Bills have a much needed bye this week. It will give them a chance to rest up and get people healthy. It also gives Josh Allen another week to rehab his injured elbow. Following the bye the Bills meet Jacksonville in Buffalo. The Jags were a favorite to win their Division but have underachieved. This will be an interesting matchup and we can find out just where the Bills are headed for the rest of 2018.

Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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