Las Vegas Raiders Week 4 Preview: Buffalo Bills

For the Las Vegas Raiders, a crucial match-up with the Buffalo Bills is on the horizon this week, and for now, this game will be played as scheduled.

As expected, COVID-19 has made its way into the NFL, with two currently postponed games due to the virus. Everything right now is so unpredictable, and I am sure the NFL will do like other sports and just push forward as best as they can. As of now, if a team facility or player is exposed to the virus, they will most likely have that week as their bye, as opposed to the original one. This could certainly work for the short-term, but I doubt it will be that easy.

Every year we ask, “Are the Bills for real?”

We almost saw the Bills lose last week, but nevertheless, they are sitting at 3-0 and have finally beaten a real football team in the Los Angeles Rams.

Buffalo’s first two weeks were against the Miami Dolphins and the pitiful New York Jets. Las Vegas and Buffalo last met back in 2017, where the Bills put a beatdown on the Raiders by a score of 34-14.

A few quick things that stand out right now is Josh Allen shutting up a ton of people who claimed he was just a big arm. He has shown leadership and really has showcased his athleticism, running the ball when needed. Obviously, when you add a true #1 receiver in Stefon Diggs, your production will thrive. That was a massive move for the Bills considering Cole Beasley and John Brown are better when they aren’t the primary targets. The Bills offense ranks fourth in the league and the defense is 19th, which is a little puzzling, but encouraging for Bills Mafia.

It seems like all we heard last year was how good the Bills defense was and that the offense needed to match their play. It is certainly still early but I think, for Buffalo, they are just happy that Josh Allen looks better than advertised. The running attack for them with Devin Singletary hasn’t been great, but it hasn’t needed to be great. Singletary isn’t getting a ton of attempts but has a solid 5.0 yards per carry average and has also been effective in the pass game. I would assume that the Bills look at this game as a perfect match-up for their wideouts against an inexperienced secondary for the Raiders.

Injury-plagued in Vegas

This year has clearly been tough on everybody, but I do think it is pretty inspiring what the Raiders have been doing so far.

Obviously, the New England game wasn’t pretty but getting outcoached by Belichick is pretty common. Like I said in my last piece, this is another barometer game and there are a lot of unknowns still due to how young the season is.

As far as the rankings for the Raiders, they are pretty much average across the board. It isn’t — and shouldn’t be — surprising, Jon Gruden doesn’t need divas; he just wants guys that play the game and play it hard.

One of the key injuries for this team has been right tackle Trent Brown. He makes this unit come together, and without him, they clearly lose some toughness. On top of that, Vegas has placed first-round draft pick Damon Arnette on injured reserve, on a secondary that is extremely young. Clearly not a good sign considering how the Bills have been slinging the ball. To make matters worse, Johnathan Abram is questionable heading into this game, and he is a must-watch type of player.

Another young unit that has been banged up often and early is the Raiders’ wide receiver corps. Henry Ruggs is deemed doubtful, and Bryan Edwards has already been ruled out. So, that leaves Hunter Renfrow (the gawd), Zay Jones (naked man), and Nelson Agholor (the guy who dropped an important pass in Philly). Personally, I would like us to take some shots deep with Agholor, but I understand the philosophy of this team; and at the end of the day, “just win, baby.”

Prediction

Honestly, the spread seems off by a hair. Buffalo, as of now, is favored by 2.5, and I think, with these circumstances and everything considered, it should be more around 4.5.

Overall, I would expect Buffalo to put up 20+ with ease.

A big component with Jon Gruden is trying to manage and slowly beat up opponents. Darren Waller was someone who was taken out of the game by Bill Belichick, but that was to be expected. The Raiders need those wideouts to step up big time and maybe take a few shots over the top. Derek Carr has shown he has the precision and accuracy, but I worry about the receivers a little bit.

I would say the keys to success are pounding Josh Jacobs and spreading the ball around through the air. The Bills most likely will try and see what New England did, but that is easier said than done.

My prediction for this game: Buffalo 27, Las Vegas 17

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