OPINION: What to watch for: Raiders at Bills

There are definitely some areas that need improvement in Week 2 against the Raiders

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - Needless to say, I’m expecting better things and a different outcome from the Buffalo Bills in their second game of the season on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders.

There were some positive developments in the loss to the New York Jets on Monday night, and some interesting changes to track in this week's home opener.

I’ll start with the offense, which definitely had a two tight end personality to it in the opener. The Bills had both Dawson Knox and 2023 first-round pick Dalton Kincaid on the field at the same time for the majority of the offensive snaps.

According to The Buffalo News, the Bills used two tight ends 66% of the time. Last season, the Bills had the lowest 12 personnel percentage in the NFL. Knox was on the field for 84% of the snaps, while Kincaid was at 80%.

They combined for just 51 yards receiving and seven catches, so I’m sure the team would like to see more production from that duo.

Bills fans have been excited at the prospect of second-year running back James Cook moving up to the role of RB1 on the roster.

While his numbers weren't great against one of the league's top defenses Monday night, you could see how his speed to the edge on runs will be a big help. Cook showed the ability to outrun defenders, which should pay off over the course of the season.

Cook only totaled 61 yards on 16 touches, but I think that is mostly a byproduct of the opponent he was facing. I'm confident his numbers will improve starting with this game against a Raiders defense that is less challenging than the Jets.

It's only one game, but once again, we have been left wanting more from the guy who is supposed to be the Bills' No. 2 receiver.

It's a big season for Gabe Davis, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March, but his first performance of the season produced only two catches for 32 yards.

Speaking of receivers, the speed the Bills added with the signing of Deonte Harty was not on display in Week 1. Harty had three catches for a measly nine yards. The three throws were either behind or right around the line of scrimmage, and there was next-to-nothing in yards-after-catch.

I need to see that change as soon as possible.

There was one surprise for me on the defensive side of the ball for the Bills.

I anticipated a rotation at CB2, but it was all Christian Benford. The second-year pro was on the field for every snap for the first time in his career. Benford more than held his own, in terms of coverage, wasn't called for any penalties, and showed some great hustle when he chased down Breece Hall and prevented a touchdown on his 83-yard run.

The Bills did a very good job with their coverage on Jets star receiver Garrett Wilson. He was held to five catches and 34 yards. He did have the big touchdown catch, but corenerback Tre'Davious White had strong coverage and Wilson made a great one-handed play.

The Bills will need their corners to come up big on Sunday against the Raiders and their top passing game weapon in Davante Adams. Adams is second in the NFL in catches since 2020 with 344. Some guy named Stefon Diggs is just ahead of him with 348.

Speaking of Diggs, the Bills have to keep getting the ball to their No. 1 target.

In the first half against the Jets, Diggs was targeted nine times and had seven catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. But Diggs was targeted only one time in the second half up until the Bills' final drive of regulation.

They then went heavy to Diggs on that drive, and he came up with three catches for 38 yards. That helped get them in position for the game-tying field goal from kicker Tyler Bass.

Diggs should have a big day against a group of Raiders cornerbacks who are nowhere near the level of the top-three guys the Jets put on the field.

I thought the defensive line had a good showing in the opener, despite not having their best pass rusher, Von Miller.

Greg Rousseau didn't have any sacks, but he was able to generate pressure often enough, and was solid at setting the edge against the run.

I was really impressed with new Bills pass rusher Leonard Floyd. He was on the field for just 52% of the defensive snaps, but still managed to record 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss and three quarterback hits.

The Bills will need both of those guys to come through big time while Miller remains out.

This is Step 1 in getting over the Jets game. Beat a Raiders team that is clearly not as talented as the Bills, and have the offense look as good as we know it can.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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