BUFFALO (1-1) at WASHINGTON (2-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS
BETTING LINE: Bills by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Buffalo 1-1; Washington 1-1
SERIES RECORD: Bills lead series 10-6.
LAST MEETING: Bills beat Washington 43-21 on Sept. 26, 2021, at Buffalo.
LAST WEEK: Bills beat Raiders 38-10; Commanders beat Broncos 35-33.
BILLS OFFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (7), PASS (10), SCORING (8)
BILLS DEFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (19), PASS (6), SCORING (T-5)
COMMANDERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (19), RUSH (17), PASS (15), SCORING (7)
COMMANDERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (10), RUSH (17), PASS (12), SCORING (17)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Bills even; Commanders plus-1
BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB James Cook. The second-year player had a career-best 123 yards rushing on 17 carries against Las Vegas. His output was the most by a Bills running back since LeSean McCoy had 156 in 2017. Cook’s outing provided the offense a much-needed semblance of balance, a recipe that could be replicated at Washington.
COMMANDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: DT Daron Payne. While only two NFL players have more sacks than Washington's Montez Sweat, the pressure on the defensive line starts inside with Payne and Jonathan Allen. Payne in particular has been a play disrupter so far this season. Buffalo QB Josh Allen is a big target to bring down, but if anyone can get to him and do it, it's Payne.
KEY MATCHUP: QB Sam Howell vs. Buffalo's defense. Howell, who's set to make his fourth NFL start, bounced back from two turnovers in the season opener to throw for a couple of touchdown passes at Denver without an interception or a fumble. The Bills pass rush could spell trouble for the Commanders remade offensive line. Since 2019, the Bills are 18-2 when facing a QB with 16 or fewer career starts.
KEY INJURIES: Bills S Micah Hyde did not practice Wednesday after aggravating a hamstring injury on Sunday. His status bears watching because if Hyde is unable to play it opens the door for backup Damar Hamlin to make his season debut. Hamlin has been a healthy inactive for Buffalo’s first two games and seeking to return to the field for the first time since having a near-death experience during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2. ... DE Leonard Floyd (ankle), TE Dawson Knox (back) and DT Jordan Phillips (illness) also did not practice Wednesday. ... Commanders TE Logan Thomas remains in concussion protocol after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Broncos S Kareem Jackson on his TD catch. ... Payne brushed off concern about the ankle injury that caused him to miss practice Wednesday, saying he's good to go.
SERIES NOTES: The Bills have won seven of the past eight meetings between the teams. ... This is the Bills' first visit to FedEx Field since 2015. ... Sean McDermott spent six years as Ron Rivera's defensive coordinator in Carolina from 2011-16 before getting the job with Buffalo. ... Washington is 2-0 for the first time since 2011. The team hasn't started 3-0 since 2005, during Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs' second coaching stint.
STATS AND STUFF: McDermott will be coaching his 100th game since being hired in 2017. With a 63-36 record, McDermott leads franchise coaches with a .636 winning percentage and ranks third on the team with wins. ... The Bills scored five TDs on seven trips inside the Raiders 20 last week, their best output since scoring six red zone touchdowns in a 45-17 win at the Jets on Nov. 14, 2021. ... QB Josh Allen improved to 20-1 in games in which he has three TD passes or more and 23-4 in games he doesn’t commit a turnover. ... Allen’s 83.78 percent completion rate against Las Vegas was the second best of his career. ... LB Matt Milano has an interception in each of his past three regular-season games going back to last season. ... Buffalo held the Raiders RB Josh Jacobs to minus-2 yards on nine carries. ... Howell set career highs with 27 completions and 299 passing yards against the Broncos. .... Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr. had a career-best 129 scrimmage yards and two rushing TDs last week. ... Young had 1 1/2 sacks in his season debut last week, matching his total from nine games in 2021. ... LB Cody Barton recovered a fumble at Denver and led Washington with 10 tackles. ... Rookie CB Emmanuel Forbes picked off Russell Wilson for his first career interception.
FANTASY TIP: Because the Commanders have de-emphasized the linebacker position, despite Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio playing the position back in the day, they're vulnerable to big, pass-catching tight ends. Knox and rookie Dalton Kincaid that bill. Kincaid could get his first professional touchdown this weekend after nine catches for 69 yards through two games.
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