Finally the regular season is upon us. No more will fans be overreacting to meaningless preseason games. The Buffalo Bills start their regular season off going to the great city of Chicago to play the Bears. This will be a crucial game as the Bills want to start their season off with a bang, and their fanbase is growing restless by the second.
The Bears finished dead last in run defense last year and their interior defensive line really did not get better coming into this year. The good news is the Bills have a pretty good duo at running back with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. The key for the Bills will be run the ball early and often. Spiller should be able to get a few big runs and FredEx will be Mister Reliable. The Bills will need a strong running game to help take pressure of their young QB. I expect the Bills to run the ball at least 40 times in this game and until the Bears show they can stop it, the Bills will keep on feeding the two headed monster.
The passing game will be something to watch as the Bears have a pretty good defensive end duo in Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston. The good news is the tackles are the strength of the Bills offensive line. Cordy Glenn is a stud at Left Tackle and so far in preseason Seantrell Henderson has looked promising. The key will be how well the offensive line holds up. During the preseason, EJ Manuel has looked really good when he has had time. When he is getting pressured, his mechanics break down and his accuracy breaks down with it. The guards will be the biggest position to watch as this preseason they have been a train wreck especially against good defensive tackles. If the guards hold up, the passing game has some hope, if not, it will be a long day for the offense.
Sammy Watkins will be a key player to watch as if he is playing ,expect the ball to go to him early and often. The Bears secondary is another weak spot of the defense and with the weapons at receiver, EJ Manuel should have no trouble finding the open man. With Lee Smith possibly out with an injury, Chris Gragg has a chance to shine as he gives the Bills a legit speed threat at Tight End and can make those seam routes result in big plays.
The Bills are facing a very good Bears offense that will be a pain to stop. The good news is the Bills front four is one of the best in the NFL and Matt Forte will have trouble making any big runs. The Bills will make the Bears one dimmensional on offense.
Bad news is the Bears offense has the best Wide Receiver duo in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. Stephon Gilmore will have his work cut out for him as he needs to shut down at least one of those two. The other receiver will need to be double covered by Leodis McKelvin/Corey Graham and Free Safety Aaron Williams. I expect Cutler to have success throwing the ball as that receiving corp is too good to be stopped. Hopefully the Bills will be able to containt them and avoid the big play.
The player that will have his way with the Bills will be TE Martellus Bennett. With Nigel Bradham suspended this game, the Bills lack a quality cover LB leaving the likes of Keith Rivers and Brandon Spikes to cover Bennett which can only end badly. Safety help will be needed.
Overall I expect this to be a high scoring affair. The Bears offense is good enough to score but their defense is bad enough that the Bills will have little difficulty moving down the field. However, I think the Bears being at homes gives them the slight edge and they barely win.
Bills 30 Bears 31. Dan Carpenter misses a last second game winning FG. Wide Right.