Week 2: Bills vs. Raiders
The Bills and Raiders have been bottom feeders in the past but that could be changing in 2011. Buffalo hits the Ralph for their home opener on an emotional high after their blowout win in Kansas City last week. The Raiders are coming off a Monday night win on the road in Denver. It will be interesting to see if they are off their game after having to travel all the way East after a short work week following the late start on Monday.
Sunday, Sept. 18th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (1-0) vs. Oakland (1-0)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 705; Sirius: 104
||Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots
||Bills by 3½
||Raiders lead 19-18 (Bills 2-0 in playoffs)
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 24-23 in Buffalo (2008)
||Rush (2nd); Pass (31st); overall (26th)
||Rush (1st); Pass (20th); overall (10th)
||Rush (t-5th); Pass (22nd); overall (15th)
||Rush (21st); Pass (3rd); overall (3rd)
The Bills are without CB Terrence McGee who hurt his hamstring in the opener. WR Marcus Easley has been placed on injured reserve with a heart ailment. LB Robert Eddins is also on injured reserve with a foot injury. LB Arthur Moats and DT Torrel Troup returned to practice this week but both likely will be sidelined another week at least.
The Raiders are banged up with WR Jacoby Ford (Hamstring) and S Michael Huff (Groin) possibly out for the game. Both missed practice on Wednesday and are considered day to day. DT Richard Seymour has a rib injury but will likely play. TE Kevin Boss will likely return to action after missing some time with a knee injury.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
C Eric Wood vs. DTs Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly:
This is the key matchup as the Bills offensive line will have a much tougher time with the Raiders front four than they did in Kansas City last week. Wood, along with guards Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik, will need to hold the line and not let the big tackles get penetration. Seymour has been a Bills killer in his career.
DE Marcell Dareus vs. RB Darren McFadden:
Dareus won't be the only one stopping the run but he is the key cog in the machine. McFadden has blazing speed and will try to get to the edge. Dareus needs to contain him inside.
LB Shawne Merriman vs. LT Jared Veldheer:
Merriman struggled in the opener after getting banged up early. He should be fired up for his first game at the Ralph and try to put some pressure on QB Jason Campbell. Veldheer is a young, developing tackle in his second year.
CB Leodis McKelvin vs. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey:
With McGee sidelined, McKelvin will likely line up opposite Heyward-Bey who is the top receiver for the Raiders, especially with Ford banged up.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Chris Johnson:
Johnson vs. Johnson will be a big battle. Chris is banged up with a groin injury but should play. If he's slowed than Stevie could take advantage and make some big plays.
LT Demetrius Bell vs. DE Matt Shaughnessy:
Bell faces another good pass rusher in Shaughnessy. He had seven sacks last year and one in the opener this year. Bell played well against Kansas City and needs to match it to give Ryan Fitzpatrick time to throw.
When The Bills Have The Ball: Look for the Bills to mix up their schemes once again this week. The focus will be less on the tight end and more on the slot receivers as Scott Chandler gets extra attention after what he did in the opener. The passing game will be key, since running the football will be extremely tough against the Raiders front four.
When The Raiders Have The Ball: They will do what they did in their opener, run early and often. Look for the Raiders to mix in the speed of McFadden with the power of Michael Bush. They will shorten the game by keeping the ball on the ground and try to grind out a victory.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
As the euphoria of the opening day rout fades some uneasiness has replaced it thinking about this game. A lot of people now seem to think it's a foregone conclusion that the Bills will be 2-0 at about 4pm on Sunday. The Raiders are good and pose some serious matchup issues for the Bills. The players and coaches have been saying the right things since the win last week. They know they have to remain focused on a weekly basis. This will be a tough game but the home field advantage, coupled with the fact that the Raiders got the short end of the stick scheduling wise, gives the Bills the edge in a very close game:
Bills 17, Raiders 14
Season Prediction Record: (0-1)
Season Record Against The Spread: (1-0)
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