Monos Report: This Buffalo Bills defensive line is for real

What a matchup in the trenches this will be on Sunday between Buffalo and Washington. Monos likes what he sees in New England. And the "Eye in the Sky" QB rankings continue.

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Jim Monos has worked in NFL front offices for two decades. First, as a scout for the Philadelphia Eagles (2000-2004) and New Orleans Saints (2005-2013). Then, as the Director of Personnel for the Buffalo Bills (2013-2017). He also spent time with the AAF and XFL. At Go Long, he’ll provide readers his weekly thoughts, insights, musings and his running “Eye in the Sky” quarterback rankings.

You won’t find rankings like this elsewhere, too. Monos watches every snap of every game to reach a specific score on each QB. The full explanation of his formula is below.


WFT @ Buffalo (-7.5)

Everyone knows that Sean McDermott was the defensive coordinator in Carolina when Ron Rivera was the head coach, but it goes back much further than that to the early 2000’s when Rivera was the linebackers coach in Philly and McDermott was an assistant coach in the secondary. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was also on the Eagles staff as the defensive backs coach and, of course, Frazier and Rivera were teammates with the Bears back in the 80’s.

None of that really matters, but there’s a ton of history in this coaching matchup.

What does matter is how dominant the Bills defense has played the first two weeks. The blitz schemes that McDermott and Frazier were running against Miami were brilliant and obviously the Dolphins had no answer. Rookie defensive end Gregory Rousseau is showing up with his length and effort. Second-year defensive end AJ Epenesa is showing improvement with his get-off to be a factor off the edge. The Bills rank third in defensive sack percentage and will be tested this Sunday against a very good Washington offensive line ranking fourth in sack percentage.

Pay attention to to third down, too. The Bills rank sixth in third-down offense and should be able to extend drives against a Washington defense that ranks 30th on third down. The route running and consistent hands of the Bills receivers shows up on these downs while Josh Allen is always a threat to move the sticks with his legs.

Hard to see how the Football Team puts up many points in this game. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin and tight end Logan Thomas are playmakers, but can Washington protect Taylor Heinicke long enough to get them ball? For those who care I like that Bills -4.5 spread in the first half.

The pick? Bills 24, WFT 13.

Guess who’s back?

The New England Patriots have become the Bills’ biggest threat in the division. Strange sentence, right? I still need to see rookie Mac Jones stretch the field and be a true playmaker on his own, but New England has done everything right when playing with a first-year quarterback. Even though they are not dominant running the ball, they do it enough that the run game is a factor. The Patriots have always been solid in the screen game and have multiple weapons at tightend. Jonnu Smith is an all-around talent. This week, Jones will be tested this week against a nasty Saints defense.

But what has stood out the most in New England is the defense. They rank fifth in sack percentage and seventh in yards per play. Can this defense shut down Alvin Kamara and put the pressure on Winston to make the right decisions? These are two of the best head coaches in the NFL. Catch this game Sunday if you can.

Hairline Watch

South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer was all over Twitter this week for his comments about all the five-star players the University of Georgia has, which is not news to anyone that follows college football. The only thing I learned from seeing Beamer in the interview is it’s time for the Gamecocks coach to join the Dunne & Monos bald squad.

Fine Line

Arizona QB Kyler Murray is such a talented athlete with a ton of ammunition on the outside. Everyone knows about Hopkins and AJ Green but start paying attention to Christian Kirk and rookie Rondale Moore. Kirk is the deep threat they need who plays bigger than he is in traffic. He shows natural tracking skills on those pretty lobs from Murray. Moore is special with the ball in his hands to create extra yards on his own. Running backs Chase Edmonds and James Conner bring toughness to finish drives, too.

After saying all of that, the Cardinals easily could’ve lost to Minnesota. Kirk Cousins outplayed Murray in that game, and it’s not talked about.

The Vikings are winless but could easily be 2-0.

That’s the fine line in this league.

Is Aaron Rodgers himself again?

Can we wait to declare Rodgers the MVP? Detroit is not a real defense and Green Bay did what you should do when you are that much better. Now they travel to Rodgers’ home state to take on a physical, established defense. Aaron Jones is such a talented back and will be needed to take some pressure off Rodgers against the Niners, but this will be a better measuring stick on how good the angry quarterback looks against a playoff-caliber defense.

The Eye in the Sky

Each week, expect to get the Monos Report quarterback grades right here in “The Eye in the Sky.” How does this work? Simply, it’s a plus/negative point system determined by the types of throws and the situation in the game. Meaningful runs/scrambles do count. The final stat line does not matter. A “good” play gets you +1 while a bad play gets you -1 throughout the course of the game. This number is then divided by the number of run or pass attempts that quarterback had in the game to net the “score” you see here.

Through two weeks, here’s how the quarterbacks rank:

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