Week 4: Bills vs. Eagles
The Bills and Eagles come into this game reeling but at least the Eagles are well rested. Philadelphia opened the season with two straight home losses before having the early bye last week. They also have had a rash of injuries to the defensive unit. The Bills were beaten soundly in Miami last Sunday night and have had a rash of injuries to the running back spot. Second year back Joe Burns may have to make his first career start on Sunday with Travis Henry questionable with a rib injury.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (2-1) vs. Philadelphia (0-2)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger
||Bills by 3 1/2
||Bills 26-0 in Buffalo (1999)
||Rush (11th); Pass (29th); overall (27th)
||Rush (8th); Pass (27th); overall (21st)
||Rush (31st); Pass (16th); overall (26th)
||Rush (23rd); Pass (6th); overall (8th)
The Bills are suddenly really banged up at the running back position. Starter Travis Henry has injured ribs that may keep him out of the game, he is listed as questionable but does expect to play. How long he will last is the question. Sammy Morris had surgery for a sports hernia and will miss at least two weeks. Fullback Phillip Crosby has a broken fibula and is doubtful. At all other positions the Bills are healthy.
The Eagles have been decimated by injuries especially on the defensive side of the ball. DB Brian Dawkins remains out. CB Bobby Taylor, and defensive linemen Jerome McDougle and CB Bobby Taylor most likely will not play either. They have all missed time with injuries. Backup DE Brandon Whiting may not be able to go either, he is questionable.
Bills Daily Injury Page
QB Drew Bledsoe vs. Eagles Secondary:
Bledsoe would like to make up for the worst game of his career last week and the banged up Eagles secondary may be ripe for the picking.
RB Joe Burns or Travis Henry vs. MLB Mark Simoneau:
If Burns gets his first career start he has to watch out for the Eagles number one tackler Simoneau. There will be pressure on Burns to produce and keep the Eagles defense honest when it comes to the passing game. If Henry does go, the question is, how effective he'll be with a painful rib injury.
DEs Aaron Schobel and Ryan Denney vs QB Donovan McNabb:
The defensive ends must contain McNabb to the middle of the field so he doesn't run wild adding a different dimension to the Eagles offense.
DT Sam Adams vs. RB Duce Staley:
Adams with help from Pat Williams needs to clog up the middle to stuff the run and force McNabb to the air.
CB Antoine Winfield vs. WR James Thrash:
Thrash is the big play threat for the Eagles offense and he will likely matchup with Winfield who is the best cover guy and tackler on the team.
When The Bills Have The Ball: The Bills have a tendency to abandon the run and with the injury situation they are likely to abandon it quickly again against the Eagles if Henry can't go at full strength or at all. With a banged up secondary of Philadelphia, that likely will have two starters out again, the Bills best chance to win will be through the air. Look for the Eagles to flood the secondary with players and blitz often to put pressure on Bledsoe.
When The Eagles Have The Ball: They will try to get Donovan McNabb on track with a bunch of short and intermediate passes. There bread and butter is running the football so expect to see a healthy dose of all their backs led by Duce Staley. McNabb may also try to make more things happen with his feet if the passing game continues to struggle.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
This is another tough game to call. The Bills will be looking to atone for a pathetic offensive performance last week but it will be hard to do with the injury situation at running back if Henry can't go or be effective. The Eagles are a much better team than their 0-2 record indicates and are well rested. They have had two weeks to prepare for the Bills while Buffalo has had a shorter week thanks to their prime time game last Sunday. The Eagles have the advantage there but the Bills have the 12th man that should put them over the top in a nail biter:
Bills 23, Eagles 21
Season Prediction Record: (2-1)
Season Record Against The Spread: (2-1)
Complete Gameday Review - Coming Sunday!
Gameday Grades - Coming Monday!