On paper, Sunday’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers favors the Bills. Closely so based on Vegas. That doesn’t imply there’s no trigger for concern. The Panthers’ protection is sort of presumably the definition of “flying below the radar.” They permit 4.9 yards per play, good for second-best within the league (Buffalo is finest). They’re eighth in factors per recreation (eight being my private cutoff for “good” versus common). Sixth-best in factors per drive. I can preserve going. They’re good.
They get issues achieved a bit in another way than Buffalo although. They blitz extra typically (32.5 % or fifth most). That results in hurries, sacks, hits, and knockdowns. For the primary time in a very long time, the Bills aren’t main the league in pressures (hurries, knockdowns, and sacks). Carolina is (Buffalo remains to be in second place). That’s not excellent with Josh Allen possible nursing a foot damage. Let’s have a look.
I selected a pair video games to spotlight fairly intentionally. The Panthers kicked the crap out of the Arizona Cardinals. A part of it was the shortage of Kyler Murray. A part of it was 4 sacks, 9 QB hits, and a stress price over 40 % on Colt McCoy who threw many of the passes for Arizona.
This play was proper out of the gate and will probably be my principal introduction to gamers to deal with. Haason Reddick (#43) leads the group with 10.5 sacks and reveals off an excellent chunk of why that’s proper right here. That plant and reduce is fairly nice. He follows it up with a swim transfer and the remaining is clear.
Carolina likes to combine up their entrance fairly a bit, however Bills followers ought to acknowledge the Extensive 9 look from the Jim Schwartz days. The Panthers use it fairly a bit, which additionally helps to elucidate their pass-rush success. This alignment can stress the offensive line by forcing them to fan out or let a rusher free across the edges. When it really works, it’s as a result of it helps dictate favorable matchups.
Stunts and trickery are somewhat more durable for a protection that’s spreading their line out so that you want gamers who can win one-on-one. Like this.
Dion Dawkins Whoever replaces Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown will want fast ft this week to assist shield Josh Allen from the pace rush. This could possibly be problematic for a pair causes. Not solely is there a menace of a sack, however rushers quickly establishing place on the edges can restrict escape lanes.
Bills followers must also keep in mind that the Extensive 9 isn’t excellent. No protection is and that’s as a result of 11 individuals can’t occupy sufficient house to cowl the complete area. The Panthers typically go away gaps on the line. Lots of instances their backend defenders crash right down to cease the play. Typically they don’t. If Allen is feeling OK, this is perhaps a strategy to reap the benefits of the protection.
The opposite recreation I wished to deal with was the loss to the Atlanta Falcons this previous week. In lots of effectivity rankings, the Falcons had surprisingly poor numbers. They received the turnover battle and had been content material with taking what they might from the protection to maintain drives alive. Blitz-beating fast passes aren’t a foul thought to have in your again pocket.
I hinted earlier that the Panthers don’t appear to make use of a ton of stunts or misdirection, as a substitute counting on successful their matchups more often than not. That doesn’t imply they’ll’t or received’t add some wrinkles. The pass rush can come from all angles. Right here’s the opposite identify to know, Brian Burns (#53). Burns is second on the group with eight sacks.
This isn’t an ideal matchup for Buffalo this week, particularly if Josh Allen remains to be hurting. Add within the lack of Dawkins, who was positioned on the COVID-19 record Friday, and it’s a very massive downside. The Panthers prefer to assault and so they prefer to play quick. Allen depends on his mobility and the Panthers may have a recipe to gradual him down.