When coach Sean McDermott became head coach of the Buffalo Bills this year, he also brought six years of experience as the Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator. McDermott signed former Panthers Mike Tolbert, Joe Webb, and Kaelin Clay. The Panthers barely beat Buffalo in Week Two in a 9-3 win that could have flipped if Zay Jones had not dropped surefire touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor.

The Panthers lost tight end Greg Olsen in that game. Last week, the Bills lost tight end, Charles Clay.

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Buffalo is struggling to run the ball. Carolina only rushed the ball for less than 30 yards last night in their 28-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Right now, the Bills and Panthers are doppelgangers for each other for offense issues.

McCaffrey and McCoy stuffed at line

Bills running back LeSean McCoy has been battling a loaded defensive box. In five games, McCoy only has 289 yards of rushing, as stated by ESPN. A few plays have resulted in negative yardage for the rusher who put up close to 1300 yards last season. Back up Mike Tolbert has not picked up the slack with only 137 yards rushing. Buffalo’s entire franchise identity has been a ground-and-pound attack. Think Thurman Thomas. O.J. Simpson. Fred Jackson.

Rookie Christian McCaffrey only has 104 rushing yards for the year. The Eagles defense embarrassed him last night by holding him to 8 yards of rushing, as stated by NFL.com. His fellow running backs performed just as poorly. Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whittaker did not even manage 20 yards on the ground. To add insult to injury, Whittaker is out with an ankle issue.

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Some of McCoy and McCaffrey’s rushing problems stem from offensive line ineffectiveness. Buffalo’s Cordy Glenn has been in and out of the line-up with a nagging injury. Vladimir Ducasse and Jordan Mills need to block better for Buffalo. The Panthers’ offensive line is also not performing up to par. The bright spot for Buffalo and Carolina is that McCoy and McCaffrey have stepped up as wide receivers. McCoy has over 200 yards of receiving and is leading Buffalo in receptions this year. McCaffrey put up 56 receiving yards last night and was instrumental in getting first downs.

Charles Clay and Greg Olsen down for the count

The two teams also mirror each other in the tight end category. Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor both lost their greatest offensive weapons in Greg Olsen and Charles Clay respectively. Olsen is recovering from a broken foot and has put up three 1000 receiving yard seasons with the Panthers. Clay is Taylor’s favorite target and has caught over 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season.

Clay is not coming back anytime soon, as he recovers from knee surgery.

A big reason that the Panthers have four wins is that the Panthers’ wide receivers are better than Buffalo’s core catchers. Kelvin Benjamin almost hit the 100- yard mark in the Eagles’ win. Devin Funchess has been putting up some average numbers. However, Buffalo is on track to hit an all-time low record for wide receiving yards. Jones, Jordan Matthews, Andre Holmes, and Kaelin Clay are averaging less than 65 yards per game. Matthews’ thumb surgery and week-to-week status makes things rougher for the Bills. The dismal offense is in sharp contrast to Buffalo’s excellent defense. They are a huge part of their 3-2 record and have kept the Bills in every game this year. The Panthers’ defense has one of the best front seven in the league.

The Panthers and Bills both have 10 days to fix their offense.