The NFL season is only two weeks old but that doesn’t stop everyone from overreacting a bit. After two weeks, no one would have thought that the Washington Commanders would be 2-0 and one of the NFL’s hottest teams while the Buffalo Bills are 1-1 and looking shaky.
There’s a lot of ground to cover before the two do battle at FedEx Field. What does each team look like so far? What can we come to expect from this matchup? What bets are worth taking a closer look at? Here is everything that you need to know before the Bills and Commanders take the field on Sunday in Week 3 NFL action.
Bet on Bills vs. Commanders
Bills vs. Commanders odds
|Bills Moneyline Odds||-275|
|Commanders Moneyline Odds||+225|
|Spread odds||Bills -6.5 (-110)|
|Over/Under||43 points (over -110, under -110)|
|Time/Date||Sept. 24, 1:00 p.m. ET|
About the Bills (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 o/u)
The first two weeks of the season have been a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance for not only the Bills but for QB Josh Allen as well. Week 1 against the Jets was a nightmare, a loss to the Aaron Rodgers-less New York team which saw Allen throw three interceptions and add a fumble for good measure.
Last week, however, Allen was back to being an MVP-calibre performer. He went 31-for-37 for 274 yards and three touchdowns against the Las Vegas Raiders, leading the Bills to victory. Most importantly, he threw no interceptions and looked very accurate throughout the day. Bills fans are hoping this is the Allen that they will see more often.
The more important development was the emergence of a ground game against the Raiders. The Bills struggled running the ball against the Jets, but that may be the best defence in the league. Against the Raiders, James Cook went off for 123 yards, including a few major chunk plays.
The key for the Bills is taking what the defence gives. When Allen isn’t playing hero ball, instead choosing the options that are given to him, the Bills do much better overall. Against this Commanders team, he will need to avoid the potentially deadly pass rush and not force throws into tight windows that could result in turnovers.
About the Commanders (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 o/u)
The first thing you will likely hear about the Commanders is that they haven’t played anyone of consequence yet this season. Given that their first two games have been against the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, it would be hard to dispute that in any real way. However, wins are wins and the Commanders are 2-0 heading into this one.
Neither game was pretty, to say the least. In Week 1, the Commanders failed to cover the seven-point spread against the lowly Cardinals. Against the Broncos, a win seemed assured until a Hail Mary by QB Russell Wilson connected with no time left on the clock. If not for a failed two-point conversion, the game may have ended in a tie or an overtime loss.
The offence isn’t bad, ranking 19th in total offence through two games. The defence may be something of an overlooked commodity, currently 11th in total defence (11th against the pass, which is important when going against the dynamic Bills offence).
Right now, it’s hard to really understand who the Commanders are. They are okay on offence – Sam Howell has more than 500 yards through two games – but don’t blow you away. Defensively, the line is one of the best in the league but again, the defence is not overpowering. Against a Super Bowl contender like Buffalo, being “pretty good” might not be enough.
With all due respect to Howell, he hasn’t faced a defence like this. He has performed fairly well through two weeks, but the Bills defence is worlds better than what they’ve faced in the Broncos and Cardinals through the first two weeks of the season.
The Bills rank 11th or better in all three major phases of defence. This is the kind of game where an inexperienced guy like Howell – who really hasn’t put together an awe-inspiring performance – can fall apart at the seams if things don’t go well.
That said, the weather report is predicting a lot of wind and rain. It may come to the point where both teams have to run the ball a lot, which would benefit the Bills who are top 10 in team rushing yards per game and have a rushing weapon in Allen as well as Cook.
Bills team rushing yards over 121.5
There are already a few players who are banged up, making limited practice appearances. That said, Dawson Knox (back), Leonard Floyd (ankle), Spencer Brown (shoulder), Micah Hyde (hamstring), and Terrel Bernard (knee) are all expected to suit up on Sunday in Washington for the Bills.
The same goes for the Commanders. Daron Payne (ankle), Jartavius Martin (concussion), Curtis Samuel (hip), Nick Gates (knee), and Brian Robinson Jr. (hip) were all full participants in practice. Only Logan Thomas (concussion) looks doubtful to suit up as he was inactive from practice during the week.
It looks like several Week 3 matchups will be impacted by weather. That inclement weather is going by the name of a “tropical cyclone” and it is expected to hit the entire East Coast on Sunday. Not only will this game be impacted, but the Colts vs. Ravens and Patriots vs. Jets games could be as well. There are even early talks of a delay or possibly worse.
- The Bills are just 9-8-1 against the spread going back to the start of the 2022 season. The 6.5-point spread isn’t especially daunting, but it could be troublesome if the weather is as bad as predicted. The Bills can blow the doors off if they have the right conditions, and this kind of weather could potentially negate their very dangerous passing game.
- If there is a “safe” trend to follow, it is the under in Commanders games. Going back to the start of the 2022 season, the Commanders are just 6-12-1 hitting the over. The weather and the strong Buffalo defence certainly set the table for another under (43 points) in this one.
Player prop trends
- Josh Allen’s passing yards prop is set at 251.5. Over his last 10 games, including the two playoff games from last year, Allen is averaging 247.9 yards per game. The big question mark is the weather in this one, which could potentially limit the passing attack of the Bills amidst heavy rain and strong winds.
- The over/under for Brian Robinson Jr.’s rushing yardage is set at 56.5 yards. Robinson has performed well above that mark, racking up 80.44 on average over his last 10 games. The last time he played and didn’t hit that mark was Week 9 of last season. If the weather does indeed impact the game, Robinson Jr. could get a lot of carries against a Bills defence that showed vulnerability on the ground against the Jets.
Josh Allen under 251.5 passing yards
Wagers to consider
- It’s too hard to ignore Robinson Jr.’s performance over his last 10 games and the potential for both teams to lean on the ground game in the face of ugly weather. Against tough defences like the Broncos, Giants, and Eagles, he has topped the 85-yard threshold in each of them. He delivers against tough competition, and it doesn’t get much tougher than this for the Commanders. Pick him to go over 56.5 rushing yards at -110.
- Even if the weather was never in question, the under seems like a solid play in this one. The Commanders have heavily leaned toward the under and 43 points may be a tall ask no matter what the weather is like. Both defences are strong, and the Commanders’ pass rush could wind up being problematic for Allen and the Bills. The safe play feels like the under (43, -110).
- This game has all the markings of an ugly slugfest, especially if rain and wind are a heavy factor. Both teams are going to want to establish the run, which should result in a quicker game than we would otherwise see out of a passing team like the Bills. Though the Bills should win, the 6.5-point spread looks like it is a tall ask given all of the factors. Take the Commanders +6.5 in this one.