The Bills host the football team from Minnesota this Sunday as they try to regroup after getting owned by the New England Patriots last week. On paper it looks like a game where the Bills should thoroughly dominate. However, the Bills never make things easy.
When the Bills are on defense
The Bills have the best run defense in the NFL at the moment and with Adrian Peterson currently inactive, the Bills face the duo of Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon. There is a good blend of speed in power in the group but neither has shown they are any real threat in the run game (except against the Falcons) and the Bills should yet again shut down the run and force the Vikings to win with the passing game.
In the passing game will be 1st round Teddy Bridgewater who last week struggled against a real defense, throwing three interceptions and facing constant pressure from the Lions front four. The Bills should be licking their chops in facing an offensive line that has given up 14 sacks in the last two weeks. The Vikings thankfully do not have a good tight end which means Preston Brown and Spikes will not exposed too much in pass coverage. The biggest threat in the Vikings offense is Cordarelle Patterson who the Vikings like to move around and is very much like Percy Harvin with the ball in his hands. The key for the Bills is to pressure Bridgewater and force him into making hurried throws (maybe throw one to Kyle Williams). If the Bills do that, they can dictate the game.
When the Bills are on offense
For the fourth straight week the Bills were held under 100 yards rushing. After averaging 33 rush attempts the first two weeks, the Bills have averaged 22.5 attempts the past 4 weeks. The Bills offense that was built on running the ball and taking shots off play-action is no where to be seen. Now the Bills are going more Air Raid offense, averaging 40+ pass attempts. This has been a clear shift in offensive identity and is a major reason why they are 1-3 in their last 4 (should be 0-4 if the Lions kicker knew how to kick). The biggest reason for this is the poor play-calling of Nathaniel Hackett who believes in abandoning the run game whenever behind, even if it is by a field goal.
If there was a game to go back to the run game, it would be this week. The Vikings run defense has struggled so far especially up the middle where the Bills like running it. The Bills should give a heavy dose of Fred Jackson and Boobie Dixon and then have Spiller go for the home run after the defense is tired. The pass game the past two weeks has racked up a lot of yards but not many TDs and I expect that to continue this week. Kyle Orton likes to sling it out without little care where it goes. He also likes to turn it over and through two games has 3 turnovers which is the same as the prior QB had in four. If Orton doesn’t make the boneheaded turnovers that he has and avoids the stupid sacks, the Bills offense should have success and dominate this game.
Overall this is a game the Bills should win by double digits. The Vikings are rebuilding and their offense and defense are below average and will struggle to do anything. However the Bills offense has a habit of making bad defenses look good which means the Vikings defense will more than likely have the best game of the year. The Bills should win, but it will be close.
Vikings 17 Bills 23
In other news, the Overrated Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to Tallahassee and try to show the world that they are actually good. However, Famous Jameis Winston disagrees and FSU, ticked off at the world, dominates and wins in convincing fashion
ND 17 FSU 49