Game 15: Bills vs. 49ers
The Bills look to continue their improbable playoff run with a trip to the West coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers. The Bills are rolling with five straight wins, seven of their last eight, and eight of their last 10. The offense has struggled the past two weeks despite convincing victories and they may be without their best weapon as Willis McGahee will most likely miss the game with a hyperextended knee. The 49ers are the worst team in the league with both of their wins coming against Arizona. The Bills can't afford a letdown because that would bring their postseason dreams to a crashing halt.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (8-6) vs. San Francisco (2-12)
||Don Criqui and Steve Tasker
||Bills by 11
||Series tied 4-4
||49ers 35-0 in SF (2001)
||Rush (30th); Pass (19th); overall (24th)
||Rush (13th); Pass (18th); overall (16th)
||Rush (18th); Pass (26th); overall (26th)
||Rush (4th); Pass (3rd); overall (3rd)
The Bills are very banged up at the position that was the strongest when the season started. Willis McGahee hyperextended and bruised a knee last week against Cincinnati. He is questionable at best this week. His backup, former starter Travis Henry remains out with a lower leg injury. He will get some work this week and has an outside chance of playing Sunday but that is highly unlikely. TEs Mark Campbell and Tim Euhus are on injured reserve and are out for the year. Jon Dorenbos will likely be out again with a knee injury.
The 49ers are also banged up, QB Tim Rattay's season is over because of a foot injury. RB Kevin Barlow has been slowed by a knee injury but should be back in the starting lineup this week. LB Julian Peterson leads a list of injured reserve players that includes C Jeremy Newberry, LB Brandon Whiting, and CBs Mike Rumph and Ahmed Plummer.
Bills Daily Injury Page
QB Drew Bledsoe vs. SS Tony Parrish:
Bledsoe will have to be aware of where Parrish is at all times. He is the big playmaker for the 49ers with 4 interceptions and 75 tackles. Containing Parrish is key since they will be emphasizing the passing game because of the injuries at running back.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Dwaine Carpenter:
Evans is on fire as he is closing his rookie year as Bledsoe's go to receiver. He will face a backup in Carpenter and this could be a huge advantage for the Bills especially as they will be forced to the air more.
CB Terrence McGee vs. WR Brandon Lloyd:
QB Ken Dorsey will be looking for Lloyd who is a threat, but inconsistent. QBs seem to always try to pick on McGee and the 49ers will be no different.
RB Shaud Williams vs. MLB Derek Smith:
Williams is likely to get the bulk of the carries with McGahee likely out. Smith is the man in the middle that stuffs the run for San Francisco. He leads the team with 91 tackles.
DC Jerry Gray vs. QB Ken Dorsey:
Gray must be licking his chops at getting another rookie QB to scheme against. He will definitely put different looks to confuse the rookie and put the defense in position to shutdown the 49ers offense.
DTs Pat Williams and Sam Adams vs. C Brock Gutierrez:
The big boys in the middle will be looking to control the line of scrimmage and should be able to do it against the backup center for the 49ers.
When The Bills Have The Ball: They will have little choice but go to the air early and often because of the running back situation. Look for them to go for a ball control short passing game. That was effective in the 4th quarter against Cincinnati. Short passes to move the chains. When they do run the ball they need to run sweeps and counter plays to take advantage of Williams scat back abilities. They can't run him inside like they tried to do last week.
When The 49ers Have The Ball: They will try to use the running game to keep the pressure off of their young QB. They will try a lot of draw plays and delayed handoffs to take advantage of the aggressiveness of the Bills front seven.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Bills get a break that they will probably be without McGahee and Henry this week against the team with the worst record in the league. They will need one of them next week against Pittsburgh. Last week I thought the Bills would get beat because I felt they were due, I was wrong. This week could be a trap game but this team is very focused and they won't look past the 49ers. They need the game very badly, they have big injuries, and they saw the Dolphins stun the Patriots on Monday night. That is enough for them to buckle down a play their game and not letdown:
Bills 27, 49ers 3
Season Prediction Record: (10-4)
Season Record Against The Spread: (7-7)
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