The Redskins are playing meaningful football with just three weeks to go in the NFL season. Washington has its final regular season home game on Sunday and it's against the Bills who are playing their second straight NFC East game. Buffalo lost in Philadelphia in close fashion and really doesn't have a ton to play for being two games out of a playoff spot with just three left to go. The Skins have lost two home games this season and will be playing bigger contests at Philly and Dallas after this.
The Bills have won six straight in this series although the last matchup came in 2011 in Buffalo when Washington was shut out 23-0. The last time the Skins have won at home against the Bills was 1990 although they did have a bigger win in Super Bowl XXVI. Washington is 0-3 this season against the AFC East and that may come into play if tiebreakers are needed to determine the NFC East champ.
Buffalo at Washington
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)
Spread: Bills -1
Three Things to Watch
1. Road-Weary Travelers
Buffalo is playing its fifth road game in the last six weeks and you can tell that it's wearing on them a bit. Way back on Nov. 12, the Bills won in New York over the Jets and were 5-4 on the year. Eleven days later they lost by a touchdown in New England on “Monday Night Football.” Buffalo then had six days to prepare for a road game in Kansas City, which the Bills lost 30-22. Washington, meanwhile, is playing its third home game in the last four and is coming off a road win at Chicago. People in Buffalo think that the team will continue to play for Rex Ryan, but you have to wonder if that will change with an early deficit in DC.
2. Run, Redskins, Run
Two weeks ago, I used this heading in the Cowboys vs. Redskins preview and it held true that Washington's struggles on the ground hurt the offense in a 19-16 loss. The team managed to rush for 99 yards in Chicago, but that also came on 33 carries. Matt Jones and Alfred Morris have talent and the team has since added veteran Pierre Thomas, who may see more time as he learns the playbook. Buffalo's rush defense has sprung a bit of a leak, allowing 116 yards or more on the ground in three straight games. The Bills’ secondary is good and DeSean Jackson isn't 100 percent so Kirk Cousins may struggle a bit.
3. It wasn't Sunny in Philadelphia for Some Last Week
LeSean McCoy and the Bills rushed for 152 yards on the ground although a lot of that came in the first half. After the game he threw his helmet and pouted like a child by ignoring the media. McCoy is a game-changing running back who had some success against Washington last year as a member of the Eagles. The Redskins’ defense extended its streak of giving up 100 rushing yards or fewer to three straight last week against the Bears. Even if Buffalo struggles to run the ball, quarterback Tyrod Taylor has done a better job lately of getting wide receiver Sammy Watkins involved. Injuries continue to be an issue for Washington and eventually the hit to the defense’s depth may take a toll on the field.
I keep going back to the fact that Buffalo is playing its fifth road game in the last six weeks. Combine that with the position that the Bills are essentially playing for nothing, and you have to wonder what team shows up. They are saying all the right things, but saying those words and following the through on field are two different actions. I question why Washington hasn't become the favorite yet in this game. For the fifth time the Skins will be a home underdog of three points or fewer. They won the first four times and I think a fifth one is coming.
Prediction: Redskins 21, Bills 17
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.