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Week 8: Bills vs. Vikings Preview Robert Smith
Doug Flutie gets his first start of the season as the Bills get ready to battle the undefeated Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday. The Bills are coming off a come from behind victory against San Diego in a game in which they didn't play very well. They will have to give a much better effort to pull of the big upset this week in a city where the Bills have never won.

Facts and Figures
Matchup: Buffalo (3-3) at Minnesota (6-0)
Date: Sunday October 22nd
Time: 1:00pm
Television: CBS
Announcers: Dick Enberg, Dan Diedorf, & Bonnie Bernstein
Spread: Minnesota by 6 1/2
Series: Vikings Lead 6-2
Last Meeting: Vikings 34-13 in Buffalo in 1997
Vikings Off: Rush (1st); Pass(11th); overall (5th)
Vikings Def: Rush (11th); Pass (22nd) ; overall (14th)
Bills Offense: Rush (18th); Pass (8th); overall (9th)
Bills Defense: Rush (4th); Pass (9th); overall (3rd)

Injury Update

The Big injury for the Bills is to starting QB Rob Johnson. He will be on the shelf for at least the next two weeks leaving Flutie in charge. Jay Riemersma and Corey Moore are practicing this week and both hope to play this week. There status will be re-evaluated as the week progresses. We will update it here and on our injury page. The Bills are very healthy otherwise. The Vikings will be without former Bill Bryce Paup who is on the shelf with a knee injury for the next 6-8 weeks.

For complete injury news throughout the week and the Official NFL Injury Report go to our Injury Page.

Key Matchups

DBs Antoine Winfield and Ken Irvin vs. WRs Randy Moss and Chris Carter: These are two tall, big play receivers. The secondary for the Bills has struggled in recent weeks. The starting corners will need to play their best game of the season in order for the Bills to be in this game.

LB John Holecek vs. RB Robert Smith: Smith leads the league's best rushing team. Holecek will be the man to stop him when he gets past the defensive line. He will need to stop him since his partner in the middle will also be busy.

LB Sam Cowart vs. QB Duante Culpepper: Cowart will be busy containing Culpepper. If Smith, Moss, or Carter don't beat the Bills than they have to watch the scrambling ability of Culpepper. It is likely Cowart will "spy" him like the Vikings will have someone do to Flutie.

WR Eric Moulds vs. DB Chris Dishman: Moulds will likely be double covered a lot but Dishman is a veteran that may lineup one on one with Moulds. The Bills will need to take advantage of those situations.

RT Marcus Spriggs vs. DE John Randle: Spriggs is now the starter and he struggled last week. His job gets harder this week with the veteran all-pro Randle lining up on the other side of him. he will get help but it is imperative that they have schemes ready to contain him.

Game Plan

When The Bills Have The Ball: The offensive line will need to have their track shoes on with Flutie behind them. They will need to create some chaos for Flutie to work from. He also works better if the running game is working since his arm strength isn't what it used to be. So look for the Bills to try to run it to set up the pass and to let Flutie work his magic.

When The Vikings Have The Ball: They have the number one ranked running game in the lead so they will try to run it. If the Bills stuff Smith than they will need to worry about Culpepper taking off. Scrambling QBs have traditionally given the Bills trouble and Culpepper may be no different. The passing game is also very powerful so they will mix in plenty of passes.

Bills Daily Prediction

The Bills need to play much better this week if they are going to have a chance against the mighty Vikings. Flutie should instill some life in the lackluster offense and the Bills have historically played well against undefeated teams. That being said, I would feel a lot better about the Bills chances if this game was at home: Minnesota 23, Buffalo 16

Season Prediction Record: (5-1)
Season Record Against The Spread: (3-3)

Game Analysis and Review - Coming Sunday Night Oct. 22nd!
Positional Breakdown and Grades - Coming Sunday Night!

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