Washington Football Team (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)
The Bills’ offense seems unlikely to be as good as it was a year ago, which is not really a surprise given how many things went perfectly for this unit in 2020, but their defense seems much improved, ranking 2nd in first down rate allowed through two games. The Bills’ competition hasn’t been tough, as the Steelers and the Dolphins have among the worst offenses in the league, but the Bills finished the 2019 season ranked 6th in first down rate allowed, so there is some recent precedent for this being a top level defense, with similar personnel.
The competition doesn’t get much tougher this week either, with Washington coming to town. Their offense could have been significantly improved this season due to the additions of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Curtis Samuel, who filled significant needs at quarterback and wide receiver respectively, but both of those players are on injured reserve, so this is once again an underwhelming offense, perhaps even more so than a year ago because their remade offensive line isn’t as good as Washington’s offensive line was a year ago.
Making matters worse, their defense doesn’t look quite as dominant as it did a year ago, which isn’t a huge surprise, given that defense is a significantly less predictive side of the ball. It’s possible the Bills have the edge on both offense and defense in this matchup, in addition to a significant special teams edge. At the very least, they have a significant edge on offense, which is the more predictive side of the ball.
Some are comparing this matchup to the Bills’ week one loss to the Steelers, but the Steelers were a better team than Washington is, they run a different defensive scheme, and, on top of that, the result of that game could easily be an outlier when all is said and done. Washington might be more comparable to the Dolphins, who the Bills blew out in Miami 35-0 last week. That could also be a little bit of an outlier result, but there is an obvious talent gap between these two rosters and my calculated line has the Bills favored by 10, so we’re getting enough line value at -7 for Buffalo to be worth a bet.
Buffalo Bills 27 Washington Football Team 17
Pick against the spread: Buffalo -7