OPINION: Bills at Broncos: Sal's keys, notes and stats

Buffalo can clinch its first division title in 25 years with a win on Saturday in Denver

With a win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday, the Buffalo Bills will clinch their first AFC East division championship in 25 years.

Here are my three keys to the game, plus notes and stats:

1.) Take advantage of depleted secondary

The Broncos are down five cornerbacks. That's right, five regular cornerbacks are out due to either injury or (in one case) suspension.

They are down three slot cornerbacks and will be using a converted safety in that role. They are razor-thin at the position.

That's already a tough matchup for them, considering the Bills run a lot of four wide receiver sets. This is a time where they’ll probably want to take advantage of those weapons and spread the field and from sideline-to-sideline. Force the Broncos to have to cover everyone.

There should then be a match-up somewhere that quarterback Josh Allen likes that he can pick.

2.) "Lock down" Drew Lock

The Broncos quarterback loves to throw deep. He leads the entire NFL averaging over nine “air yards” per-target. That's how far the ball travels from the line of scrimmage to his intended target per-pass attempt.

The Broncos have 10 passing plays of 40 yards or more this season, tied for third-most in the NFL. Lock threw four touchdowns last week, with one going for 37 yards and another for 49 yards.

Under head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the Bills defense has been terrific at not letting up the big plays, but have been beaten more than usual on them this season.

The Broncos may try to get a few past them downfield, and Buffalo’s secondary has to make sure that doesn’t happen.

3.) Play for today, not 1995

The Bills have a chance to do something historic on Saturday - win their first division title in a quarter of a century. If they are able to, they'll also secure a home playoff game for the first time since 1996.

Fans and media have all been talking, writing, and tweeting about it all week. The players and coaches are now talking about it.

It’s been their stated goal since the offseason. Now they’re here, but they can’t let it impact anything they do or any way they play.

McDermott’s teams have traditionally been very consistent in their approach, whether it’s an early or late regular season game or playoff game. Now’s the time for that consistency to show up and the 2020 Bills to stay focused on beating the Broncos. Now's not the time to think about a home playoff game in a few weeks, the Monday Night Football matchup with the New England Patriots next week, or finally laying to rest 25 years of looking up in the divisional standings and someone else celebrating conquering it.


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