Week 4: Bills vs. Vikings
The Bills look to get back on track this week when they take on the Vikings at home. A tough loss to the Jets last Sunday puts the Bills in position to finish the first quarter of the season at 1-3. The Vikings are 2-1 coming off a tough home loss of their own this past week when the red hot Bears pulled out a close battle. The Vikings bring the West Coast Offense into Buffalo and a solid defense featuring two former Bills, Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (1-2) vs. Minnesota (2-1)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Ron Pitts and Terry Donahoe
||Bills by 1
||Vikings lead 7-3
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 45-39 in Minnesota (2002)
||Rush (18th); Pass (15th); overall (18th)
||Rush (10th); Pass (15th); overall (12th)
||Rush (9th); Pass (29th); overall (22nd)
||Rush (21st); Pass (7th); overall (11th)
The Bills are getting healthier as they face the Vikings, Matt Bowen and Takeo Spikes remain out with injuries. Bowen has a lower leg injury that has cost him most of the preseason and the first three weeks of the regular season. Spikes injured his hamstring week 1 against New England. There is a chance the team will get both players back this week. Daimon Shelton suffered a head injury against the Jets but has been cleared to practice and should play. Robert Royal injured his hand against the Jets but is expected to play as well this week.
The Vikings are without two of their top defenders who are on injured reserve. DE Erasumus James and LB Chad Greenway are two former first round picks on the shelf. WR Marcus Robinson missed last week's game with a hamstring injury but he's expected back on Sunday. Pat Williams sprained an ankle against Chicago but is expected to be fine. CB Fred Smoot suffered a concussion last week but is also ok. LB Ben Leber is battling a sprained knee and may be questionable for this week's game.
Bills Daily Injury Page
RB Willis McGahee vs. DTs Pat Williams and Kevin Williams:
The Williams "brothers" clog the middle like those Bills defenses of the late 90s. Running will be tough going for McGahee but they have to stick to the ground game and tire out the big boys. Pat Williams will be fired up facing his old team especially after comments made about the former regime this week. His enthusiasm may tire him out more quickly and allow the Bills to gain yards on the ground later in the game if it is close.
WR Peerless Price vs. CB Antoine Winfield:
All eyes will be on the former Bills on defense for the Vikings. Winfield goes against his former teammate and it should be a classic battle that, based on early season results, should favor Winfield. It would be a nice time for Price to have a breakout game.
DE Aaron Schobel vs. LT Bryant McKinnie:
We all know the story by now, the Bills could have had McKinnie instead of Mike Williams. He is now a force at tackle and Schobel needs to have a big day to make Tom Donahoe smile a bit.
DT Tim Anderson vs. LG Steve Hutchinson:
The Vikings will try to beat the Bills on the ground going behind their two left side studs. Anderson must create enough of a disruption to hold down the running attack of Chester Taylor.
QB Brad Johnson vs. CBs Nate Clements and Terrence McGee:
The two supposed lockdown corners of the Bills are taking heat for playing too far off of the receivers. If they do so this week Johnson will pick them apart with the short passing game like Chad Pennington did last week.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Fred Smoot:
Evans had a breakout quarter against the Jets last week and needs to build on the momentum this week and put together a solid four quarters of football. Smoot is a solid corner who can give Evans fits.
When The Bills Have The Ball: The Bills will need to pound the ball on the ground to wear down the big front four of Minnesota. They will also need to challenge the safeties with some deep passes. Also look for them to get Roscoe Parrish more involved on slant patterns to take advantage of his explosiveness. He is the x-factor on offense for the team.
When The Vikings Have The Ball: There is no secret they will go by the Jets blueprint of the short passing game. This is right up their alley running the West Coast Offense. Johnson is a short passing quarterback like Pennington and will take what the Bills give them underneath. The Bills will also have to respect their ground game because Taylor is a solid running back who will make yardage by pounding the ball at the Bills smallish defensive line.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Vikings right now are the best team the Bills have played all year. The question is, which Bills team will show up? The one that pounded Miami and almost beat the Patriots or the one that lost to the Jets? This is an inconsistent team that will beat teams they shouldn't beat and lose to teams they are better than. The Vikings are definitely better on paper and this week they will be better on the scoreboard as well:
Vikings 27, Bills 19
Season Prediction Record: (1-2)
Season Record Against The Spread: (2-1)
Complete Gameday Review - Coming Monday Night!
Gameday Grades - Coming Monday Night!