Photos from throughout the Broncos' history with the Buffalo Bills.
The Broncos' regular-season opener isn't for another couple of months, but over the next few weeks, DenverBroncos.com will take an early look at each game on the Broncos' 2020 schedule. We don't know how injuries could impact each contest, but we'll present the pressing storylines, matchups, questions and more.
It's never too early to start talking football.
We continue with Denver's Week 15 game against the Buffalo Bills.
Storylines to monitor:
After the Broncos spend four of the first six weeks after their bye on the road, they are slated to return to Empower Field at Mile High for two of their final three games. That late-season stretch begins with the Buffalo Bills, who made the playoffs in 2019 for the second time in three years but fell in the wild-card round to the Houston Texans.
Led by quarterback Josh Allen, whom the Broncos passed on in 2018 to select outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, the Bills are one of five playoff teams from 2019 that the Broncos are scheduled to play this season.
Depending on how the season unfolds, this could be a matchup between two young quarterbacks who have taken major steps forward. Allen threw for 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his sophomore campaign, but he is still looking to prove himself as Buffalo's long-term answer at the quarterback position. Drew Lock, meanwhile, will hope to secure the same long-term stability for himself in Denver.
Yet, while the Bills added wide receiver Stefon Diggs via trade this offseason, this game has the making of a defensive struggle. Especially if the conditions are tough in Denver, points could be hard to come by. In 2019, both the Bills and Broncos ranked in the bottom 10 in points per game and were each in the top 10 in points allowed.
Player to watch:
WR Stefon Diggs
If there's a player that can give the Bills' offense a jolt, it's wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Buffalo sent a package of four picks — including their 2020 first-rounder — to Minnesota this offseason to acquire Diggs, who has posted back-to-back seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. In 2019, Diggs averaged a career-high 17.9 yards per catch; that total ranked fourth in the NFL among players with at least 30 catches. Though John Brown and Cole Beasley have performed admirably, Diggs gives the Bills a true No. 1 option. Broncos cornerback A.J. Bouye will face another difficult test.
The question mark:
Can the Broncos finish strong?
After a tough stretch against the Saints and Chiefs, the Broncos have a chance to rattle off some wins. They take on the Panthers on the road before hosting the Bills, traveling to play a Chargers team with an uncertain quarterback situation and then hosting the Raiders to finish the year. If the Broncos have hit their stride, it's not unreasonable to think they could string some wins together at the end of the season. It won't be easy against the second-ranked scoring defense from a season ago, but Lock and Co. should have enough reps under their belt to be at their best by the time the Bills arrive in Denver. If Denver can earn a win against the Bills, who seem like a surefire bet to be in the AFC East hunt again, it would go a long way toward securing a playoff spot.
The last meeting:
After reserve quarterback Brandon Allen won his first career start against Cleveland and nearly helped the Broncos upset the Vikings last season, his Week 12 performance didn't go quite as well. The young quarterback finished 10-of-25 for 82 yards and an interception as the Broncos were stifled in a 20-3 loss to the Bills. The game turned near the end of the second quarter, when Broncos safety Justin Simmons intercepted Allen with just over four minutes to play in the half. He returned the ball to the Buffalo 32-yard line, but a block in the back penalty on Kareem Jackson pushed the Broncos back to the Denver 47-yard line. Allen helped move the Broncos back to the Buffalo 25-yard line with 1:07 to play, but he made a poor read on a pass to Courtland Sutton. Tre'Davious White picked off the pass, and the Broncos never truly threatened again. Sutton finished with a season-low one catch for 27 yards.