The Seahawks head to Buffalo for the first time since 2008 where they'll face the AFC East-leading Bills on Sunday. To learn more about the 6-2 Bills, we reached out to ESPN's Marcell Louis-Jacques, who answered five questions about this week's opponent:
For so long the AFC East has been the Patriots, then everyone else, but with Buffalo coming off a playoff season in 2019 and with Tom Brady out of the division, the Bills were a lot of people's pick to win the division. How have the Bills handled starting a season with that kind of expectations?
Louis-Jacques: We heard a lot of dismissive talk from the Bills' building before the start of the season, basically saying they hadn't accomplished anything until they knock off New England. Buffalo's primary goal this season is winning the AFC East and given its 4-0 start in the division, it's safe to say they're trending toward accomplishing that. Their two-game losing streak was concerning given it came against two of the conference's best teams, but it still seems like the Bills have taken care of business within their division.
Josh Allen started the year on fire and was being talked about as an MVP candidate, but statistically at least it looks like he's cooled off some. What has changed for him in the past month/is there any cause for concern?
Louis-Jacques: The league will eventually figure you out once you give it enough time. The Titans, Chiefs and Jets all played a lot more zone coverage than the Bills were accustomed to seeing in their first four games, and the Bills were slower to adjust than you'd like to see if you're a fan of the team. Buffalo's run game was also late to the party, and the offense as a whole struggled when teams sold out to take away the pass and the Bills couldn't move the ball on the ground. Allen, himself, hasn't been bad these past four games, but he hasn't been asked (or able) to stretch the field like he was at the beginning of the season. I have a feeling that changes this Sunday.
And maybe this is related Josh Allen's hot start, but what has Stefon Diggs brought to that offense?
Louis-Jacques: A dynamic playmaker, a reliable safety valve, a receiver defense must account for at all times – I mean, take your pick. Diggs is exactly what the Bills were hoping for when they sent a small army of draft picks to the Vikings this offseason. Nothing against John Brown or Cole Beasley, both of whom had career or near-career seasons in 2019, but Diggs is an inarguable number-one receiver while Brown and Beasley thrive as complementary options – especially Beasley, who had been invaluable as the Bills figure out how to attack zone coverage.
The Bills haven't given up a lot of yardage and touchdown in the passing game, how well equipped are they to face Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and company?
Louis-Jacques: In theory, if they're healthy, the Bills are well-equipped. Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are about as good of a deep-ball deterrent as you'll find in the NFL while Tre'Davious White was a first-team All-Pro for a reason last season. The problem, however, is that secondary is not healthy right now. Hyde is still in concussion protocol, White has battled injuries of his own this season and the Levi Wallace and Josh Norman have been active at the same time for all of one defensive series in eight games. Buffalo has struggled against slot receivers this year and the intermediate part of the field could raise problems if linebacker Matt Milano is either inactive or on a snap count.
What are a couple of the matchups you're most looking forward to watching on Sunday?
Louis-Jacques: I'm looking forward to seeing whether the Bills' passing game ignites against an exploitable Seahawks pass defense after laying relatively dormant over the past four weeks. DK Metcalf is also the best receiver the Bills have played all season and I'm curious how they attack him, considering the way they were able to limit Tyreek Hill in Week 5. Lastly, Buffalo's run game showed real signs of life over the past two weeks, including a combined 167 yards on 28 carries from Devin Singletary and Zack Moss last week; but can they keep up that production against an 8th-ranked Seattle run defense?
The Seattle Seahawks visit the Buffalo Bills on November 8 at 10:00 a.m. Take a look back at photos from past games between the two teams.