Eagles vs Bills: 3 keys to the game that will lead to a victory for Philadelphia

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Eagles Kevin byard
Philadelphia Eagles safety Kevin Byard (31) is congratulated by teammates after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Philadelphia Eagles are nearing the midway point of the gauntlet part of their schedule. They’ve already dispatched the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins. They still have the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Cowboys again to go through.

Up next for Philadelphia though are the desperate Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo was picked by many to be a Super Bowl contender in 2023 but the year has not gone as smoothly as many people have hoped. While their numbers are all elite, the Bills have dealt with some difficult injuries on defense and a plethora of turnovers on the offensive side. It all culminated over a week ago when Sean McDermott fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.

Joe Brady has taken over the play-calling duties and had a good first test against a struggling Jets defense. Buffalo racked up 393 yards of offense and 130 yards on the ground. Can the Bills continue that success against an Eagles defense coming off a strong performance against Kansas City?

Today, we break down the three biggest keys to focus on for the Eagles to come away with a win on Sunday against the Bills.

Dominate the trenches

Eagles
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) tries to gain extra yardage for a first down during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Matt Milano and Tre-Davious White’s absence on the field is key for the Bills defense. That doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty of other top defenders though. For Buffalo to win now, they must dominate the trenches – and they have the players to do so on both sides of the ball. Von Miller and Ed Oliver can take over games on their own and have done so this season.

Philadelphia will need to run the ball effectively while also protecting Jalen Hurts in the pocket. The less the Eagles have to use Hurts as a runner, the better. This is the game for the offensive line to assert their dominance.

It’s not just the offensive line that needs to step up though. With James Cook and a recommitment to the run, the Bills need to dominate on the offensive side to pull off an upset. The Eagles’ defensive line has been elite all year but got punched in the mouth against Kansas City. If the Bills are able to do what Andy Reid’s team did, Buffalo can absolutely win this game.

As with any game with the Eagles, the trenches will tell the story.

Get aggressive on defense

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles safety Kevin Byard (31) intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson (84) as Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham (52) watches during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

If Philadelphia thought that last week’s win over Kansas City’s offense was impressive, they’ll have another difficult test this week against Josh Allen and the Bills. Buffalo’s offense has turned the ball over a lot, but they are still a lethal group – especially following the change at play-caller. They’ve run the ball more effectively and Allen is still an elite quarterback.

That means Sunday will be determined on how well the Eagles defense defends Buffalo’s top offense.

How will Sean Desai’s improved group play top players like Stefon Diggs and Khalil Shakir? Will the middle of the field be exploited heavily by Dalton Kincaid? How will the Eagles handle the scrambling ability of Josh Allen to begin with?

Philadelphia needs to be ready to have a spy on Allen at all times. They also need to make sure that they stay as aggressive as possible from a blitzing perspective. If they can get pressure on Allen and force him into risky throws, it could lead to several turnover-worthy plays being possible.

If they don’t though, and they let Allen settle into a groove, it could be a very long and troubling day for the Eagles’ defense.

Speaking of turnovers though…

Limit turnovers

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, left, throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Buffalo has turned the ball over at the fifth-highest rate in the NFL this year. Philadelphia is 17th. The Eagles have lowered their turnover concerns in recent weeks but that doesn’t mean they are impervious to them.

Limiting turnovers will be incredibly important for both teams but none so more than the Eagles. If Philadelphia’s offense plays a safe and aggressive brand of football as they’ve done in recent weeks, there’s a good chance they’ll walk off the field with a victory.

It will also help if they can get an elite quarterback like Allen to turn the ball over once or twice.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel