Buffalo Bills vs. Denver Broncos Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 13th 2023

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Winners of back-to-back games for the first time since September 2022, the Denver Broncos are about to find out of they are ready for primetime.

The Broncos (3-5) celebrated their most recent win over the Kansas City Chiefs during their bye week and come out of the break to face another AFC championship contender at Buffalo on Monday night.

The Bills (5-4) seek redemption from a primetime loss at Cincinnati last Sunday. And a solution to their turnover conundrum.

Quarterback Josh Allen is tied for second in the NFL with 18 TD passes but has been intercepted nine times. Buffalo has a turnover margin of zero after setting improvement in this area as a 2023 goal.

“Some (interceptions) are better than others, some are worse than others. Some are great plays by defense and some shouldn’t be thrown,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “He’s learning the difference right now. … As long as the decision is the right decision, we’re headed in the right direction.”

The Bills had 27 takeaways and 27 turnovers in 2022 to finish the regular season at a zero turnover margin (15th in the NFL).

“You get what you emphasize,” McDermott said. “We have to continue to emphasize taking the ball away. … When you study takeaways, they don’t usually fall from the sky. It comes from effort.”

Every AFC East team enters the week off of a loss, which kept the Bills one game behind the first-place Miami Dolphins (6-3). But the road is pocked with championship-minded opponents for the Bills, who face the New York Jets (Nov. 19) and Philadelphia Eagles (Nov. 26) before a bye week, but the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers await.

“These guys know what’s ahead of us. We’ve got to take it one game at a challenge,” McDermott said. “They’re ready for the challenge. I know they’re ready for the challenge.”

While the Broncos are putting up stellar numbers defensively of late and kept three straight opponents under 20 points, Denver’s run defense remains a weakness. Five opponents averaged better than 4.7 yards per carry in the first eight games, and the Broncos are 32nd in the NFL in allowing 154.1 rushing yards per game, and dead last in total yards (405.9) and passing yards per play (7.6).

“We’re a better team today than we were four or five weeks ago,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton said, noting the 70 points and 350 rushing yards allowed to the Dolphins on Sept. 24 did a number on their per-game averages.

Allen continues to lean on reliable wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who has six-plus catches in every game this season. He leads the NFL with 70 receptions and loves the “Monday Night Football” stage, posting at least 10 catches and 100 yards in consecutive MNF appearances. He also has a spicy history with Payton, tauntingly dancing to celebrate a wild-card playoff win over Payton’s Saints in 2020.

Diggs is likely to be shadowed by Broncos lead cover man Patrick Surtain II.

Denver kept the Chiefs out of the end zone prior to the bye week.

“When you have Josh Allen, that helps a lot,” Surtain said in an interview with @DNVR of his matchup with Diggs. “A very underrated part of his game is his yards after the catch. His ability to make nothing into something. He’s a great player.”

Buffalo’s secondary limped into the week. Cornerback Christian Benford (hamstring) and safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde missed Thursday’s practice along with edge rusher Leonard Floyd (illness). McDermott said all are considered day-to-day.

Payton said maligned quarterback Russell Wilson has been impressive on “off schedule” plays and working the pocket to find throwing lanes. He’s fifth in the NFL with 16 TD passes — matching his 2022 total in Denver — and only three starting quarterbacks have fewer than Wilson’s four interceptions this season.

“Those numbers are all good. The most important thing is how we’re playing as a team and how we’re playing as an offense,” Payton said. “The No. 1 job is to get us in the end zone.”

The Broncos are making a clear commitment to the ground game, calling a season-high 40 rushing plays against the Chiefs and posting consecutive games with at least 145 rushing yards.

Denver has 19 touchdowns but only one rushing score (two on returns). Wilson is one of four Broncos with at least 27 carries this season, but no player has more than 90 rushing attempts.

–Field Level Media

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