The Kansas City Chiefs face the Buffalo Bills on Monday afternoon. What should fans expect?
The Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes play a hyped but humbled Buffalo Bills team led by MVP candidate Josh Allen this upcoming Monday afternoon. Both teams are in hot pursuit of the coveted one-seed in the AFC NFL Playoffs, and both are coming off what can only be considered as a demeaning loss.
For the last several years the Bills have been one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. In fact, you could argue they made the playoffs and nearly won a playoff game last season on the strength of their defense.
Tuesday night was a bit of a shocker, as the underestimated Tennessee Titans hung 40 points on the unit. The question remains for Chiefs fans: was this an aberration of a schedule replete with routine changes? Or, is this a sign of cracks in the Bills once presumed impenetrable defense?
Truth be told, the sentiment regarding the Bills defense has not been supported by the facts through five games. Looking at individual player grades, the unit’s basic production, and the advanced production, the Bills have been a below average defense to start the 2020 season.
PFF numbers point to a below average defense
The Bills have some strengths but some more serious weaknesses concerning individual players through five games, according to Pro Football Focus.
Their highest rated player through five games is right defensive end Jerry Hughes with a grade of 79. He’s closely followed by safety Jordan Poyer with a grade of 78.2. Poyer was a preseason PFF favorite, and in his fourth year with the team is on pace for a career high in tackles with 42 through five games.
The Bills lowest graded player is middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, and sets the tone for by far the lowest graded unit on the team with a grade of 43.3. Edmunds is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2019, but is on pace for a career low in combined tackles with 29 in four games played.
As far as the starting lineup is concerned the defensive line is the strength of their team with a high individual grade of 79, a low individual grade of 52.8, and an average overall grade of 62.98. The linebacker unit brings up the rear with the two starters averaging 53.6, though weighed down significantly by Edmunds’ poor grade.
Pro Football Focus’ crew had high hopes for the Bills defense after ranking them fifth in their preseason poll. It’s still early in the season, but they have some ground to make up if they aim to match that prediction. While Sammy Watkins will likely miss Monday’s contest, so will Bills’ cornerback Tre’Davious White. This particular matchup doesn’t bode well for each Buffalo defenders grades.