This Sean McDermott Stat Bodes Well for the Bills on Sunday

Sean McDermott

Getty Sean McDermott meets Kliff Kingsbury at midfield

Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott has only been an NFL head coach for three years, so the sample size is small, but his team has never lost their first game after a bye week.

Since joining the Buffalo Bills in 2017, the former defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers has won all three of his post-bye week matchups which makes sense. Although they aren’t in the building, coaches essentially have two weeks to analyze their next opponent.

In his first year as a head coach, the Bills beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27 coming out of their week six bye week and they went on to win two straight games. In 2018, the Bills took down the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21, during a down year in which they finished 6-10. Last season, the Bills again had a week six bye week and they improved their record to 5-1 with a 31-21 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

This year’s bye week comes later in the season than normal, but the Bills are set to take on the 3-7 Los Angeles Chargers and ESPN’s PickCenter has the Bills at -5.5.

The Bills haven’t beaten the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers since 2008 when they defended their home turf with a 23-14 victory. The Chargers lead the all-time series 25-12-2.

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Another Top Offense

So far through the 2020 season, the Bills have played four of the five teams in the top five of total yards per game. On Sunday, they’ll get the fifth.

The Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, and Los Angeles Rams, all rank in the top five of total yards per game. The top four teams average over 400 yards of total offense per game, while the Rams are just under that at 395.6.

The Bills went .500 in their first four contests against the high-powered offenses and averaged 31.5 points per game. Buffalo’s lowest points total of the season came in their 26-17 loss against the Chiefs, which was expected to be a high-scoring contest.

They’ve shown the ability to keep up with the scoring offenses, but the key to their matchup on Sunday will be if they can stop their opponent.

Combined, the Cardinals, Chiefs, Seahawks and Rams averaged a total of 31 points against the Bills, but the identity of the Bills defense this season has been their ability to create turnovers.

They created a total of nine turnovers between those four games and the Chargers have turned the ball over 12 times this season, which is just below Buffalo’s 13 turnovers.

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Another Young Quarterback

For the second game in a row, the Bills will be playing a quarterback in his first or second season in the NFL. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who is in just his second year and won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors last season, was seen as a threat last week and rightfully so as he passed for 245 yards and a touchdown while also running for 61 yards and two touchdowns.

Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert should be looked at in somewhat of the same light.

The 2020 first-round pick has been starting for the Chargers since week two and has already passed for 2,699 yards and two touchdowns in nine games. He’s only thrown six interceptions as well while completing 68-percent of his passes.

Although he’s only won two games this season, the Chargers record doesn’t paint the whole picture as five of Los Angeles’ seven losses have come by five points or less. Herbert has also thrown for at least 250 yards and a touchdown in eight of his nine starts.

When the Bills defense has been successful this season, they’ve ramped up the pressure and brought different looks throughout games. While they had the exceptional challenge of containing Murray last week, Herbert doesn’t present the same threat on his feet so look for defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to dial up the blitz packages.

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