top of page
  • Tony Fiorello


Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Welcome to Week Six of the 2023 NFL season. Here at Buffalo Sports Page we will attempt to inform and educate our readers about the Buffalo Bills’ upcoming opponent and what each team might do to emerge victorious.

The Bills’ sixth game of 2023 will take place at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York as they face the New York Giants. Here’s what you should know:

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 18: Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants looks on with head coach Brian Daboll during the second half of a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium on August 18, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants won 21-19. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)


Brian Daboll, the former offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns and ex-New England Patriots assistant, is the head coach of the New York Giants and a year ago become the first coach to take “Big Blue” to the postseason since Ben McAdoo in 2016. His importation, along with general manager Joe Schoen (also from Buffalo) has brought competency and legitimization to New York’s coaching staffs and front office.

Daboll’s offensive approach continues to mimic that of what he used in Buffalo and New England – built upon concepts involving option and crossing routes from the slot, downfield routes from the outside, run-pass options (especially in the red zone), deep dropbacks and alignments that create favorable matchups. They also use plenty of pre-snap motion and shifts and have expanded upon their play-action game greatly – mostly out of “11” personnel groupings (one back, one tight end and three wide receivers) and “10” personnel (one back, no tight ends, four receivers).

Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka (formerly of the Chiefs) have used this scheme to cater to quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones, a former first round draft pick and the successor to Eli Manning, had struggled for three years while toiling with a franchise that employed two head coaches and little aptitude surrounding him at the skill positions and on the offensive line. Now with Daboll calling the shots, Jones – while not among the league leaders in most statistical categories – provided a steady hand a year ago while cutting down on his interception total to just five and ended 2022 among the top five rushing leaders at quarterback (along with Josh Allen, Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts).

However, things have fallen apart for Jones in his fifth NFL season. The lowest rated signal caller in the league (71.7), Jones has looked skittish in the pocket and struggles to make good decisions. Jones is out for Week Six with a neck injury – leading to ex-Bill Tyrod Taylor getting the starting nod. Taylor, who had a 22-20 record while in Buffalo, is still an athletic threat with a strong arm and Sunday will mark his first start against his former team.

The Giants’ top offensive weapon is running back extraordinaire Saquon Barkley. The 6-foot, 233-pound Barkley evokes comparisons to Marshall Faulk and Barry Sanders for good reason – able to make plays in both the passing and running game, Barkley possesses the strength and quickness to break tackles and slither in and out of gaps. The quote “Give me 18 inches of daylight, that’s all I need” from Hall of Famer Gale Sayers certainly applies to New York’s tailback, as he can make big plays with his change of direction, burst and excellent vision.

After accumulating over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns as a rookie in 2018, Barkley’s production dipped over a span of three years mainly due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Barkley enjoyed a career renaissance in 2022 with 1,650 yards from scrimmage and 10 scores, but hasn’t played since Week Two because of an ankle ailment. His backup is speedy former Bill Matt Breida.

Barkely has performed behind an offensive line that has been among the league’s worst. Former first round picks Andrew Thomas (who has been injured for most of 2023) and Evan Neal, center John Michael Shmitz and guards Ben Bredeson and Marcus McKethan are the Giants’ starters in the trenches. They’ve allowed 28 sacks in five games, the second-most in the NFL.

The Giants’ main wideouts have been the unsung Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Sterling Shepard and Parris Campbell. Another ex-Bill, shifty slot wideout Cole Beasley, was called up from the practice squad this week. Tight end Darren Waller was acquired from Las Vegas in the offseason and is a talented pass-catcher who can line up in various spots along the line of scrimmage but has rarely been healthy the last few years.

New York’s offense has been ineffective in 2023. They’ve scored just three points in the first quarter all season, are second-last in scoring and passing, last in total yards, 23rd in rushing and are dead-last in point-differential. They’re also 26th on third down and 20th in red zone efficiency.

LANDOVER, MARYLAND – DECEMBER 18: Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale of the New York Giants looks on against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on December 18, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)


Coordinated by Don “Wink” Martindale, the former defensive shot caller for the Baltimore Ravens, New York blitzes at one of the highest rates in the league (45 percent, second-most) and mostly does so on overload and fire zone rushes out of single-high coverage looks. He has multiple front looks he’ll show at the line of scrimmage – oftentimes showing six or seven-man rush schemes but bringing just five, making him one of the hardest defensive coaches to gameplan against.

Not to be confused with the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” of the 1980s with names like Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson and George Martin or the Giants’ defense of the 2000s with Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jessie Armstead and Jason Sehorn, this New York team has some talent, but few blue-chip prospects. Kayvon Thibodeaux, the fifth-overall draft pick out of Oregon, has shown flashes of his pass rush ability but hasn’t put it all together yet. The inconsistent Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams can do a little bit of everything – filling gaps against the run and get to the quarterback – and they are joined by Azeez Ojulari on the team’s defensive line.

At linebacker, New York has a hodgepodge of veteran castoffs. Micah McFadden, a fifth-round pick in 2022, is joined by ex-Cardinal Isaiah Simmons, agile former Lion Jarrad Davis (currently injured), Bobby Okereke and another former Bill in Carlos “Boogie” Basham. Basham, a second-round draft pick by Buffalo two years ago, is a solid edge setter against the run on the strong side of the formation but isn’t a great pass rusher because he isn’t very athletic.

On the back end the Giants have a veteran slot cornerback in Adoree’ Jackson, while outside cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III and safety Xavier McKinney were acquired via the draft. Jason Pinnock is the other starter at safety, and this group struggles to cover tight ends.

Despite the excellent scheme, Martindale’s charges haven’t performed very well. In 2022 they were 25th in totals yards given up, 14th against the pass and 27th versus the run (along with being 18th in points allowed, 25th in takeaways and 13th in sacks), this side of the ball has a long way back to respectability and it’s been more of the same in 2023. They’re fifth-last in takeaways, 29th in points allowed, 27th in total yards surrendered, 19th versus the pass and third-last against the run.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 08: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars avoids Ed Oliver #91 of the Buffalo Bills in the Fourth Quarter during the NFL Match between Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 08, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)


For the majority of head coach Sean McDermott’s time in Buffalo, the Bills’ defense – led by longtime stalwarts such as Tre’Davious White, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Matt Milano and Ed Oliver – has been one of the league’s best in the regular season. Points allowed (second in the NFL in that category in 2022), total yards per game allowed (sixth), rushing yards surrendered (fifth), takeaways (tied for fourth), interceptions (tied for fourth) and red zone defense (second) have generally been the categories that the Bills have excelled at (last year’s 15th ranking against the pass not withstanding).

Buffalo, however, was inconsistent in two areas – creating a consistent pass rush and, from time to time, stopping the run. These issues are mainly caused by poor tackling (a year ago their missed and broken tackle percentage were among the highest in the NFL), a lack of gap integrity and a lack of versatility along the defensive line. This problem came up again this year against the Jets in Week One, where the Bills allowed 172 yards on the ground but a week later they held Josh Jacobs – last year’s rushing champion – to -2 yards on nine carries, the first time a reigning rushing champion was held to negative yards in a game according to ESPN.

To address this over the years, McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier (who will take this season off, leaving McDermott to call the defensive plays) have brought in more talent. Out went names like Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Star Lotulelei, Carlos “Boogie” Basham and Harrison Phillips, and in came talented and versatile linemen like Gregory Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa (who two weeks ago became the first Bills defensive lineman to return an interception for a touchdown since Aaron Schobel in 2009), Da’Quan Jones and Tim Settle, and the return of former Bills like Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson were also welcomed additions. This season Buffalo has also brought in veterans such as Leonard Floyd and Kaylon “Poona” Ford to help out, and they’ve fit like a glove – especially Floyd, whose length and athleticism were needed on the edge. They’ll be needed even more after Jones, perhaps their best run-stuffing lineman, tore a pectoral muscle against Jacksonville.

Beyond improving against the run, the Bills had also lacked an elite pass rusher off the edge who could command double teams on a consistent basis since Mario Williams was employed nearly 10 years ago. With this in mind, in 2022 general manager Brandon Beane signed future Hall of Famer Von Miller – who is still one of the NFL’s best sack artists at age 34. But Miller suffered a torn ACL after putting up eight sacks in 12 games and missed the first four games of this season while recovering on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He’s back now and on a snap count as he shakes off the rust, but his return is good news regardless. With Miller the Bills were fourth in the NFL in pressure rate with four or less pass rushers in 2022, without him they were 27th in that category.

Schematically the Bills’ defense mostly relies on basic zone coverages after the snap (they’re usually among the top units in the NFL in usage of Cover Two, Four and Six) but before the snap it is complex – safety rotations to disguise their intentions keep opposing quarterbacks guessing and selective pressure looks at the line of scrimmage and coverage exchanges are the team’s calling cards.

Those blitz looks usually happen in the A-gaps with the smaller, but smart, speedy and athletic Milano and Terrell Bernard (replacing the departed Tremaine Edmunds) to confuse opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks, but they rarely send extra people – their favorite blitz tactic besides A-gappers are four-man zone exchanges. Bernard has stepped up to the challenge so far, leading Buffalo in tackles and recording two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery against Washington – becoming the first NFL player to do so in one game since Brian Urlacher in 2007. Milano, however, is out for the foreseeable future after suffering a broken leg and a knee injury against the Jaguars, so backups A.J. Klein, Tyrel Dodson and rookie Dorian Williams will need to pick up the slack.

The Bills mainly utilize nickel personnel, as evidenced by Buffalo using five defensive backs between 90 and 100 percent of their snaps since 2020. They did use nine snaps of dime against Kansas City in Week Seven last year – a matchup that saw them rely on three-man rushes and Milano utilizing a spy technique on Patrick Mahomes, and they may use more “big” nickel looks with three safeties to match up with tights ends after the signing of ex-Ram Taylor Rapp.

White, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, was back to full form after tearing his ACL against the New Orleans Saints two years ago but is injured again – this time after rupturing his Achilles tendon. Opposite him at the other boundary corner spot were second-year man Christian Benford, who flashed some ability a year ago, and Dane Jackson and Kaiir Elam are also on the depth chart. Slot corner Taron Johnson remains elite, but with White’s elite ability to play both man and zone coverage gone, will McDermott lean on more zone from Jackson, Elam, Benford, Johnson and newly re-signed Josh Norman than they ever have? That remains to be seen.

Safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer have reunited to form perhaps the league’s best duo on the back end after being in and out of the lineup with various injuries throughout 2022, and the rangy and physical but inconsistent Damar Hamlin has also returned to full health after suffering a cardiac arrest episode against Cincinnati in Week 16.

Special teams were also solid for the Bills in 2022, having been 13th in punt return average and sixth in kick return average (which was boosted by Nyheim Hines’ two kick returns for scores in Week 18, the first player in Bills history to return two kicks for scores in one game and the first kick return for a touchdown by a Bill in three years) and were 18th and third in covering punts and kicks, respectively. Hines, however, was lost for the season after a knee injury was sustained during the summer and the team allowed a punt return for a touchdown in overtime in Week One – the first time an NFL game ended on a punt return score since 2011.

Through four weeks Buffalo is fifth in points allowed, 12th in total yards allowed, eighth against the pass, 25th versus the run, eighth in the red zone, first in sacks despite blitzing the fourth-least out of any NFL team and first in interceptions and takeaways. Their nine sacks and four picks against Washington allowed them to be the first team to put up those numbers in a game since the 1985 Dallas Cowboys, but struggled on third down last week against the Jaguars – allowing them to convert 10 out of 18 such opportunities.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 8: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills throws the ball in the third quarter during the NFL match between Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 8, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)


Led by quarterback Josh Allen and a cadre of gifted pass-catchers, the Buffalo Bills boast one of the NFL’s elite offenses for the first time since the K-Gun was running roughshod over the league 30 years ago. Allen’s improved processing skills, ball placement, patience within the pocket and touch on passes have allowed Buffalo to become one of the most feared attacks in pro football (he was second in passing and total touchdowns and seventh in yards in 2022.)

His core of targets is deep and talented. Stefon Diggs is an exceptional route runner who excels in making contested catches and operates well out of bunch and stack formations. His presence along with the physical Gabriel Davis has balanced out Buffalo’s wide receiver corps. But one element – speed – was lacking a year ago, so the Bills addressed this by letting veterans Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley, Isaiah McKenzie and John Brown walk and brought in burners like Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty to go along with second-year man Khalil Shakir. Tight end Dawson Knox is now joined by rookie first-round pick Dalton Kincaid from Utah, and their diverse skillsets should allow offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to throw more curveballs at opponents with multiple tight end sets (both are questionable for Sunday night’s game).

The Bills’ offensive line is composed of Dion Dawkins, ex-Dallas Cowboy Connor McGovern, Mitch Morse, rookie O’Cyrus Torrence and Spencer Brown. This crew along with fullback Reggie Gilliam, while not elite, has mainly executed outside zone runs along with zone-reads, pin-and-pull concepts, traps, counters, split inside zone and sprint draw plays sprinkled in for running back James Cook. Cook has taken on more of a featured role as former teammate Devin Singletary left for Houston and is now backed up by ex-Patriot Damien Harris (who brings power to the table) and veteran Latavius Murray, who has rushed for a touchdown with six NFL teams – tied with Adrian Peterson for the most all-time.

The starting front five, while not bad, has been iffy in providing push in the running game and in pass protection over the last couple of years. Most of the team’s rushing production came from Allen’s legs and few came from their backs – the Bills’ rushing attempts per game in 2022, 18.2, was last in the NFL but that number has increased this year (so far they’re seventh in rushing attempts). In Week One against New York Buffalo surrendered five sacks, tied for the fifth-most in Allen’s career, but has been taken down just four times in the last four weeks. They also struggled to provide any push in the running game a week ago – which resulted in a season-low 2.1 yards per carry and 29 rushing yards – and their failures forced the Bills to punt six times after doing so just seven times all season and allowed them to possess the ball for just 22 minutes after averaging 34 over their previous three games.

Buffalo’s passing offense is a Patriots-style system built upon concepts involving option and crossing routes from the slot, downfield routes from the outside, run-pass options (especially in the red zone), designed quarterback runs to take advantage of Allen’s mobility, deep dropbacks and alignments that create favorable matchups and some trick plays with jet/orbit motion and sweeps. They have also used plenty of pre-snap motion and shifts – in the past it was mostly out of “11” personnel groupings (one back, one tight end and three wide receivers) and “10” personnel (one back, no tight ends, four receivers).

The Bills’ multi-receiver sets were traditionally their offensive calling card. In 2020 they used four wide receivers or more 155 times – the second-most in the NFL at the time – and they utilized someone in motion on 43 percent of their offensive snaps, a huge increase from their 25 percent rate in 2019. Former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll – now the head coach of the New York Giants – also called for a passing play on 64 percent of their first downs, according to ESPN Stats and Information – no team with a winning record in the last 20 years did it more than Buffalo – and that rate continued in 2021 and ’22 with “11” personnel used on nearly three-quarters of their plays.

However, Buffalo’s usage of “12” personnel (one back, two tight ends) has increased with the employment of Knox and Kincaid (they’ve led the league in two-tight end snaps through five weeks). They were last in the NFL in usage of that grouping a year ago (three percent), and their amount of play-action passes has increased after they dropped from being a top-four team in those concepts used in 2020 and ’21 to 25th a year ago – especially while under center, which has helped the Bills be the most efficient play-action team in football. It’s also given Diggs time to set up double moves, masks any pass protection weaknesses and improved their timing, rhythm and efficiency.

Yet for everything the Bills did right on offense last year (first in third down conversion percentage, second in points scored and in total yards per game, fifth in passing, seventh in rushing and ninth in red zone percentage), two flaws remained – they were one the league’s sloppiest teams with 27 turnovers and the team’s ability to create sustained offense slipped during the stretch run of the season. Allen had 14 interceptions and 13 fumbles in the regular season and had three turnovers in the wild card playoff round versus the Dolphins (mainly due to perceiving pressure that wasn’t there, playing too fast and a lack of speed at wideout) and turned the ball over four times against New York in Week One, but has done so just three times in the last four weeks.

However, the Bills won eight in a row (including playoffs, their longest streak since eight in 1990) and included winning six straight non-Sunday games – the first team to have done so since the 1962 Boston Patriots. Additionally Buffalo lost just three games by a total of eight points and tied the franchise mark for wins in a season with 13 (along with the 1990, ’91 and 2020 teams).

Through five weeks the Bills are third in scoring, fourth in total yards, 16th in rushing and fourth in passing. They’re also fourth in third down rate and second in red zone efficiency and in point differential.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 08: Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second Quarter during the NFL Match between Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 08, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)


  1. Allen has compiled 36 career regular season games with a passer rating of 100 or better and has reached that mark in 19 of his last 36 outings. In those games Buffalo’s record is 33-3, and he had a perfect quarterback rating against Miami in Week Four – Doug Flutie was the only other Bills passer to accomplish that feat in one game.

  2. Only Steve Young has had more career regular season games (eight) with 300 or more passing yards and 50 or more rushing yards than Allen (seven). He’s third all-time in games with a passing and rushing score (34) – behind Young (36) and Cam Newton (64).

  3. Buffalo’s franchise quarterback has eight career games with three passing touchdowns and a rushing score – only Drew Brees and Tom Brady (nine) have more all-time. He also became the first signal-caller to throw for 250 yards, run for 50, toss three touchdowns, run for one, complete 80 percent of his throws (83.9 – a new club record in the regular season) and win a game in league history against the Rams in Week One last year. His completion percentage against Miami in Week Four was 84, the highest in team history.

  4. Allen has 14 career games with 300 yards and three scores – the most in franchise history and he has moved past Jack Kemp for third all-time in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (behind Newton and Young).

  5. Buffalo’s quarterback has defeated every team in the NFL at least once except three – Tampa Bay, Arizona and Philadelphia. Allen’s also become the only signal caller with 4,000 passing yards and 750 rushing yards in a season twice (he’s the only one to do so once).

  6. Diggs and Allen have connected for a touchdown 34 times, second on the Bills’ all-time list (Kelly and Andre Reed have 65). Diggs also tied Bill Brooks’ team record for touchdowns in a season in 2022 (11), has tied Bob Chandler for fifth in franchise history in scores, one catch from fourth in team history (Lee Evans) and has surpassed Frank Lewis for fifth in team annals in yards. He and Stevie Johnson are the only Bills with three straight 1,000 yard seasons.

  7. Speaking of Diggs, he became the sixth player ever with 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in three straight seasons – joining Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Herman Moore, Antonio Brown and Michael Thomas. He’s also the first to do so in each of his first three years with one team and has three 100-yard receiving games with the Bills in the playoffs, joining Reed (five).

  8. Secondary target notes – Knox has moved past Jay Riemersma for second in team annals with 21 receiving scores by a tight end. He’s behind only Pete Metzelaars (25) and became the fifth Bill with five or more receiving scores in the playoffs all-time while also catching a touchdown in five straight games (only Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski have had longer streaks among tight ends). Meanwhile, Davis has the second-most receiving touchdowns in team playoff history (six), tying James Lofton. Reed had nine.

  9. Since 2017 the Bills are 52-7 when leading at halftime. They’ve also won 10 in a row at home against teams with a losing record.

  10. Miller is the first defensive player in league history to sign two contracts worth at least $100 million. He is also vying to be the second player to win a Super Bowl with three different teams (Matt Millen was the first), has moved past Robert Mathis for 19th on the all-time sack list and is two quarterback takedowns away from tying Dwight Freeney for 18th.

  11. Buffalo’s point differential was plus-169 in 2022 – the second-best in the NFL and second-best in franchise history (2021) – and recorded 5,000 yards of offense for the third time in team history, joining the 1991 and 1975 teams.

  12. After beating Rodgers, Mahomes and Lamar Jackson in 2022, according to Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports Allen became the first quarterback to defeat three former MVPs in a four-game span since Troy Aikman downed Dan Marino, Young and Brett Favre in 1996. He’s also the first signal caller to beat three former MVPs in one month since David Woodley in September 1981.

  13. The Bills have compiled a road winning percentage of .705 (24-10) since 2019. Conversely, Buffalo is 22-6 at home since 2020 and is 12-1 at home in December and beyond in their last 13 games.

  14. The Bills rushed for 100 yards in every game but one last year. They clinched a playoff berth for the fourth straight year, which tied the second-longest streak in franchise history (1963-66, six years from 1988-93 is the longest) and was the fifth time McDermott clinched a playoff berth, trailing just Marv Levy (eight) for the most. Buffalo also won a third straight AFC East title, which is their longest streak since 1988-91.

  15. McDermott’s record against the AFC East since 2017 is 24-14 – a winning percentage of .631. He also became the 11th coach all-time to make the playoffs five times in his first six years – joining Andy Reid (PHI), John Harbaugh (BAL), John Madden (OAK), Mike Holmgren (GB), John Robinson (LAR), Paul Brown (CLE), Dennis Green (MIN), Chuck Knox (LAR), George Seifert (49ers) and Bill Cowher (PIT).

  16. Buffalo hasn’t won a road playoff game since the 1992 AFC title game in Miami – they’re 0-7 since.

  17. Buffalo’s regular season record over the last three years with Allen is 40-14.

  18. Since 2020 the Bills’ record coming off a loss is 10-3.

  19. Allen has had five games with three or more turnovers since 2019. In the game following those outings, the Bills are 5-0.

  20. The Bills have scored 20 points or more in 14 straight home games.

  21. McDermott is the third coach in Bills history to appear in 100 games with the franchise along with Levy and Lou Saban.

  22. Since 2020 Buffalo has the best home record in the NFL – 26-7 including playoffs.

  23. Each of the Bills’ last three wins have been by 28 points or more – tied for the longest streak in the Super Bowl era according to NFL Research.

  24. A victory would give Buffalo five consecutive wins on Sunday Night Football, which would be the longest streak in team history.

  25. Allen’s career record in primetime is 11-4 and he is 4-0 on Sunday Night Football.

  26. Buffalo hasn’t won at home against the Giants since 1993. The last three times New York has played at Highmark Stadium – 1999, 2007 and 2015 – have all been losses, yet the Bill have won three times at the Meadowlands since (1996, 2003 and 2019).

  27. Aside from the previously mentioned ex-Bills, other former Buffalo employees returning to Western New York this weekend include Dennis Hickey, Laura Young, Bobby Johnson, Shea Tierney, John Egorugwu, Tommy Sweeney and Nick McCloud.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page