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The Denver Broncos (3-7) are in for a freezing cold matchup against a Buffalo Bills (7-3) team that is coming off a great victory over the Miami Dolphins. With the season winding to an end, the Broncos are officially in must-win territory if they have any chance of making the playoffs. The Broncos’ passing game has been unproductive this year and will be going against a Bills defense that excels at limiting passing success. If the Broncos are going to beat the odds, they’re going to need QB Brandon Allen to improve his completion percentage and do a better job as a game manager.
Date: November 24th, 2019
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: New Era Field – Orchard Park, NY
Denver Broncos: C. Jones (coach’s decision) I*, D. Walker (coach’s decision) I*, C. Anderson (coach’s decision) I*, A. Janovich (elbow) O, J. Heuerman (knee) I*, J. Winfree (coach’s decision) I*, J. Harris (coach’s decision) I*, J. James (Knee-ACL) I*, B. Callahan (foot) IR, D. Lock (thumb) IR, J. Flacco (neck) IR, C. Nelson (biceps) IR, D. Bausby (neck) IR, B. Chubb (knee-ACL) IR, D. Thomas (knee) Q, J. Dineen (hand) Q, J. Butt (knee) IR, T. Riddick (shoulder) IR, H. Richardson (back) IR, A. Fort (knee-ACL) IR, B. Winn (triceps) IR, N. Falah (Achilles) IR, A. Holmes (ankle) Q
Buffalo Bills: S. Neal (head) Q, R. Bates (coach’s decision) I*, D. Williams (coach’s decision) I*, V. Taylor (coach’s decision) I*, T. Nsekhe (ankle) Q, D. Marlowe (coach’s decision) I*, I. Boettger (coach’s decision) I*, T. Yeldon (coach’s decision) I*, T. Sweeney (coach’s decision) I*, M. Alexander (knee) IR, H. Phillips (knee-ACL) IR, J. Croom (hamstring) IR, V. Joseph (shoulder) IR, M. Love (pectoral) IR, L. Waddle (quadriceps) IR, A. Green (undisclosed) Q
*- status as of week 11
Denver Broncos Analysis:
At this point in the year, the Denver Broncos are primarily playing for pride. They are currently 3-7 and are three games behind the Raiders and Chiefs for first place in the ultra-competitive AFC West. Moreover, the Broncos are also four games behind the Buffalo Bills, and three games behind the Houston Texans who currently control the two AFC Wildcard slots. What makes this season especially tough for Broncos fans is that this team has been competitive in most of their games, losing 70% of their contests by eight or fewer points.
Even though the Broncos have been underwhelming this season, their defense has played phenomenally well. Denver currently ranks in the top five in terms of restricting offenses to total yards and passing yards per game, while limiting opponents to the ninth fewest points per game. Furthermore, they have gained an impressive 32 sacks, and are the sixth-most efficient defense in the NFL. One area where the Broncos could improve defensively is in the turnover department, as they currently force the fourth-fewest turnovers this season.
The Denver Broncos’ major problem has been on the offensive side of the field, especially the passing game. The Broncos are currently the eighth-worst offensive team in terms of yards per game and score the sixth-fewest points per game. When Joe Flacco was Denver’s starter, he struggled to sustain any level of productivity or efficiency. Before suffering a season-ending neck injury, Flacco had -114 defense-adjusted yards above replacement, threw for less than 230 yards per game, and had the 23rd ranked QBR in the league. His backup Brandon Allen is also struggling, recording only a 37.5 QBR in his limited time as the Broncos signal-caller.
A portion of the Broncos issues in the passing game can be attributed to the offensive line. Denver’s offensive line has allowed a whopping 30 sacks and is currently surrendering a 9.7% sack rate, which is the fourth-highest in the league. Even though the Broncos OL has struggled in pass protection, they have done a great job in the run blocking area. Broncos RBs are getting tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage on 14% of their carries, which is tied second for in the NFL.
Denver Broncos Depth Chart
Buffalo Bills Analysis:
The Buffalo Bills have an impressive record so far this season. They are currently 7-3 and are the fifth seed in the AFC. Most of their success is oriented around their schedule since 70% of their games have been against teams below .500. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Bills have the easiest schedules in the NFL.
Overall the Buffalo Bills offense has been a subpar unit that is ranked 19th in league with only 345.6 total yards per game. Similar to the Broncos, the Bills’ passing attack has weighed down on their offensive production. The Bills currently throw for the ninth-least passing yards per game, and QB Josh Allen has the 3rd lowest defense-yards above replacement and 31st overall QBR amongst qualifying QBs. If the Bills have any chance of being playoff contenders, Allen needs to cut down on turnover worthy throws and improve his accuracy across all levels of the field.
The Bills have played phenomenally well in the ground game. They presently run for 128.7 yards per game (eighth-best in the league) and average 4.6 yards per carry (tied for seventh-best). Rookie RB Devin Singletary has been extremely efficient and is running for over six yards per carry as of week 11. Singletary is also running for the seventh-highest defense yards above replacement and has excelled at ball security. Plus, Josh Allen has run for an outstanding seven TDs to bolster the Bills running attack.
On the defensive side of the field, the Bills unit has been successful. The Bills defense is only allowing 17 points per game, 304.1 total yards, and 197.8 passing yards a game, which all rank 3rd in the league. One thing that needs to be pointed out is the Bills rank outside the top ten in terms of interceptions, fumble recoveries, and sacks. Therefore, the bulk of the Bills’ defensive success can be attributed to the fact that they have played struggling quarterbacks such as Ryan Fitzpatrick (twice), Eli Manning, Marcus Mariota, Dwayne Haskins, Sam Darnold, and Andy Dalton.
Buffalo Bills Depth Chart
For just the third time this season, Lindsay was held under ten fantasy points against a Minnesota defense that allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Even though he ran for over four yards/carry, Lindsay was unable to be productive in the receiving game and was held to no touchdowns. Lindsay’s Week 12 matchup is against a Buffalo Bills defense that is way more generous to running backs, due to their subpar ability to limit rushing yards per game. Therefore, Lindsay is a decent RB2 option this Sunday.
Courtland Sutton has had a fantastic season in 2019 and is creeping up on 1,000+ receiving yards. As of week, 10, Sutton received 35% of all Broncos targets and is coming off a week 11 contest in which he hauled in five catches for 113 yards. Courtland has been Denver’s best receiver this whole season and has recorded six or more targets in all of his games this season. Even though the Bills defense is tough against wideouts, Sutton is a high-end WR2 due to his presence in the Broncos passing game.
Surprisingly, Bills signal-caller Josh Allen has been one of the best fantasy football players. Allen has been a great pickup due to his insane rushing success, especially in the red zone. Allen has recorded 10+ points in all but one game this year and is averaging approximately 30 points per game over the past two weeks. Even though the Broncos have been better than most teams at defending against the run, it is unlikely that they’ll be able to limit Allen. Therefore, he is a high-end QB2.
After a two-game hot streak in weeks 8 and 9, Singletary has cooled down considerably for the past two weeks. In spite of Singletary’s decent yardage output, he has been unable to find the endzone in recent weeks. Even though Singletary is the Bills’ lead back, his fantasy ceiling is lowered because Josh Allen swallows up most of the red zone TDs and carries. Therefore, Singletary is a decent RB2 option with a modest upside for week 12.