August 9, 2022

Washington Redskins Week 15 Preview: vs. Buffalo Bills

The Washington Redskins return to home sweet FedEx Field on Sunday to take on the Buffalo Bills, looking to keep their slight lead in the NFC East intact. Washington won a very close contest in Chicago last week, eeking it out by a missed Robbie Gould field goal, 24-21. The Bills were not much help to the Redskins last week, losing at Philadelphia and allowing the Eagles to keep pace in the division.

Buffalo is 6-7 in its first year of the Rex Ryan era, and like the Redskins, they have experienced an up-and-down season. The Bills are the most penalized team in the league with 124 enforced penalties for 1,086 yards. That is a lot of lost yardage. However, they do (sometimes) have the talent to make up for it, with QB Tyrod Taylor, RB LeSean McCoy, and WR Sammy Watkins leading the offense.

The Redskins were led last week by another steady performance by Kirk Cousins, who threw for over 300 yards and one TD to go along with one rushing TD and an interception. Cousins put forth possibly his best road performance of his career. He will look to replicate that performance and keep the rhythm he has developed this season to try and win consecutive games for the first time this year.

The Redskins have not won any of their three games vs. the AFC East this year, losing in the home opener to Miami, as well as on the road to the New York Jets and New England Patriots. Similarly, the Bills have lost both of their games to the NFC East, against the New York Giants and Philadelphia. The last time the Redskins actually won against Buffalo was in January of 1992 in Super Bowl XXVI. Since then, they have lost six straight during their fall from grace.

Key Matchups

Redskins’ Front 7 vs. RB LeSean McCoy

Redskins fans remember McCoy not-so-fondly as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. “Shady” is one of the quickest and most versatile players in the NFL and can beat you on the ground or through the air.

The Redskins’ defensive line must plug holes and get penetration in the backfield to stop McCoy before his motor gets running. In the passing game, ILBs Will Compton and Mason Foster, among others, have to keep him under wraps in the screen game, which is arguably where he is most dangerous.

CB Bashaud Breeland vs. QB Tyrod Taylor/WR Sammy Watkins

With the injury to Chris Culliver and the movement to safety by DeAngelo Hall, Breeland has become Washington’s undisputed #1 cornerback. Breeland has not shied from stepping up to the plate against Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, to varying results.

Watkins is one of the best young deep threats in the NFL, and he and Taylor have built up a solid report the past few games. In order to keep Buffalo’s offense contained, Watkins cannot get loose deep and run wild. With the help of Will Blackmon and Quinton Dunbar, Breeland has to be his physical, aggressive self while not allowing any lapses deep.

Redskins’ Offensive Line vs. Buffalo Bills Blitz

A staple of Rex Ryan defenses is the blitz, dating back to his time as a defensive coordinator and as coach of the New York Jets. While they have only recorded 19 sacks this year, they have talented players like DE Mario Williams chasing after the QB and getting pressure.

The Bills will be especially aggressive this week, since their already mediocre passing defense took a hit with the loss of CB Stephon Gilmore. Ryan knows that Washington goes as their run game goes, and that Cousins feeds off the play action passing game. If Washington can neutralize the blitz and constant pressure, Cousins could have a big day throwing the football against the 20th-best passing defense in the league.

Redskins’ “Stud” of the Game

ILB Will Compton

Compton has impressed coaches and fans alike with his smart, aggressive play since filling in for the injured Keenan Robinson. He sniffed out a key third down screen pass vs. Chicago last week that led to a punt, and has become a great communicator for Joe Barry’s defense. He is tasked with containing Tyrod Taylor’s mobile capabilities, as well as LeSean McCoy’s shiftiness. If he has a good game and reads the Buffalo offense well, the Redskins will be in a great position to win this one.

Prediction

Redskins 24, Bills 28

The Redskins’ offense will move the ball with Cousins, but the defense gets tired out by Watkins’ and McCoy’s pure speed. The AFC East woes continue for the Redskins, who come up just short in this one against a talented Bills squad still technically in the hunt, and fail to win consecutive games again.

About Seamus Kane

Seamus Kane is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Wizards. A native of Silver Spring, MD, Seamus grew up in the area all his life rooting for the Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Caps, and Terps. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a degree in American History and now lives in Washington, DC. His favorite DC sports legend is Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, and his favorite DC sports moment was Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off in the first-ever game at Nationals Park, a game which he attended. You can follow Seamus on Twitter @ShamelessKane

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