Buffalo Bills: Defense faces tough challenge in Saquon Barkley
Do the Buffalo Bills have the defense that can stop one of the top running backs in the NFL?
Looking to make it back-to-back wins against ‘New York’ teams, the Buffalo Bills defense is tasked with stopping the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year in Saquon Barkley in Week 2.
Defending potent running backs is now nothing new for the Bills defense as last week against the New York Jets, the Bills front limited three-time Pro Bowler Le’Veon Bell to only 60 yards. Barkley, on the other hand, rushed for double that with 120 yards against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.
Due to recent injuries for the Giants, the Bills have a strong chance of shutting down anything New York may try to get started on offense. It was announced on the Giants Twitter that they would be without star wide receiver Sterling Sheppard Sunday as he was ruled out due to a concussion. Because of this, it is likely that the Giants game plan with now revolve even more heavily around Barkley, both on the ground and in the air.
Standing in his way will be the Bills’ defensive line, who last week not only met expectations, but they exceeded them. Getting to the Jets’ quarterback Sam Darnold on four separate occasions for a sack, the pressure the Bills bring may drive veteran Eli Manning to make some questionable decisions in the pocket Sunday.
Along with this, the ability the Bills have to get in the backfield may make it a tough time for Barkley to find those open holes to gain positive yards. Another exceptional area of play for Buffalo was their less-talked about pass defense. Against the Jets, their play in the air showed that they have the pieces to be a threat on the ground and in the air.
If the Giants cannot get anything going through the air, Saquon may see him having his number called in efforts to help ignite the NY offense. This would play right into the hands of the Bills and rookie Ed Oliver as the Bills defense sits 10th in the league for rushing yards per attempt with only 3.8 yards.
For the Buffalo Bills to contain Barkley they will have to do exactly what made them successful against the Jets; working the inside and getting into the backfield. After their matchup with Bell and the Jets, taking on Saquon and the Giants will be a true test to see if this Bills defense is fact or fiction.