Week 16: Bills vs. Broncos
The Bills close out their home schedule on Christmas Eve against the Denver Broncos led by phenom Tim Tebow. The Broncos had won six straight since Tebow took over as the starter before losing to New England last week. They can clinch the AFC West for the first time since 2005 with a win and an Oakland loss. The Bills are just playing out the string and trying to avoid closing the season with nine straight losses.
Saturday, Dec. 24th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (5-9) vs. Denver (8-6)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 704; Sirius: 104
||Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
||Broncos by 3
||Bills lead 19-15-1 (Bills 1-0 in playoffs)
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 30-23 in Denver (2008)
||Rush (1st); Pass (31st); overall (19th)
||Rush (20th); Pass (20th); overall (22nd)
||Rush (13th); Pass (15th); overall (14th)
||Rush (29th); Pass (16th); overall (26th)
The Bills are injury depleted at tight end. Scott Chandler has missed two straight games with an ankle injury but may return this week. Lee Smith is out with an ankle injury. Stevie Johnson is bothered by a reoccurrence of his groin injury but he is expected to play. Marcell Dareus is also expected to play despite having a hand injury.
The Broncos should have Willis McGahee for the game. He left last week's game with a hamstring injury but is practicing. They also should get Brian Dawkins back. He missed last week's game with a neck injury.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
LB Nick Barnett vs. RB Willis McGahee:
Barnett leads the team in tackles and will have to key on the former Bill who will go over 1,000 yards rushing with just 10 yards in this game. McGahee may be limited with a hamstring injury but if he's healthy he will be a handful. He has undergone a resurgence in Denver.
LT Demetrius Bell vs. LB Von Miller:
Bell goes up against the top candidate for NFL rookie of the year. Miller was taken one spot ahead of Dareus and is having a fantastic year with 11½ sacks.
RT Erik Pears vs. LB Elvis Dumervil:
Miller's teammate on the other side is also a solid pass rusher. Dumervil has 8½ sacks. Pears looks to rebound from his worst game of the year against Miami.
CB Aaron Williams vs. WR Eric Decker:
Williams lines up on the side of the field where Decker usually lines up so he will get the Broncos top receiver. Williams has been victimized by the deep ball and Decker leads the Broncos in catches and yards receiving.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Shadow Tebow: The Bills need to come up with a plan to contain Tebow. They need to worry more about his legs than his arm. They should pick a player to shadow him around the field maybe Bryan Scott, George Wilson, or Nick Barnett.
2. Don't Get Psyched Out: If Denver's recent history continues than the Bills will likely be in the game in the fourth quarter, they may even have the lead. It will likely be in the back of their minds that the usual Tebow magic will be back down the stretch and snatch a possible win away from the Bills. They can't let him get in their heads, if they do then the game is already lost.
3. Win The Kicking Battle: For all the talk about Tebow the real hero for the Broncos has been kicker Matt Prater. He has hit big kick after big kick to allow Tebow to engineer those comebacks. Dave Rayner has been banged up for the Bills and missed a chip shot last week. This game may come down to a big kick or big miss, the Bills need to have the edge in this category.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
You can say what you want about Tim Tebow struggling mightily for three plus quarters every week, the bottom line is he wins. It reminds me of when Doug Flutie was with the Bills. I expect him to win again with a playoff spot to play for. The early game struggles the Broncos have had could keep the Bills in this one but the result will be familiar:
Broncos 27, Bills 19
Season Prediction Record: (5-9)
Season Record Against The Spread: (5-9)
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