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

The Bills are looking for a four-game win streak heading into the bye

The Buffalo Bills will look to have a four-game winning streak for the second time this season when they take on the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

To do that, here are three keys to the game, plus notes and stats:

1.) Contain Kyler

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the game right now. He can pass and he can run, and boy can he run.

Murray leads the entire NFL with an astonishing 7.1 yards per-carry. He’s eighth in rushing - not just for quarterbacks, but among all players, including running backs, with 538 yards. He’s also thrown for 2,130 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Last week against the Miami Dolphins, Murray completed over 80% of his passes for 283 yards and added over 100 yards rushing.

He’s a true dual-threat quarterback who can beat teams with his arm or legs. Last year, the Bills did a great job on Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, holding him to only 40 yards rushing and 145 yards passing. Bills head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier had a great plan for Jackson and need to have another great one for Murray.

2.) ‘Nuk’ vs. ‘Tre’

Cardinals' wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best in the league at what he does. So is Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White.

It will be the third time the two have gone head-to-head. While with the Texans facing the Bills, Hopkins caught five passes for 63 yards and one touchdown in 2018. Last year in the playoffs, White held Hopkins to just two catches for 12 yards in the first half, but Hopkins made a couple big plays in the second half, grabbing four balls for 72 yards.

Of course, we don’t know exactly how the Bills will decide to use White and how often he’ll be specifically matched up man-to-man on Hopkins, especially considering how much zone defense they run. And now that cornerbacks Levi Wallace and Josh Norman will both be out due to COVID-19 protocols, it’s safe to say that matchup will happen often enough to matter.

Whoever wins more of them may go a long way in determining who wins this game.

3.) Josh staying hot

After an MVP-like month of September, then a bit of a drop-off for a few weeks, Bills quarterback Josh Allen got back on track in a big way last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, going 31-for-38 for 415 yards and three touchdowns.

Statistically, the Cardinals defense is about average against the pass, ranking 19th in yards per-game (244.0) and 12th in yards per-pass against (6.53). However, opposing quarterbacks have completed over 70% of their passes against them in three of their last six contests.

Allen will have opportunities, especially with Stefon Diggs, who leads the entire NFL in targets, receptions, and yards. He’ll need to make the most of those opportunities when they present themselves.



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