Week 5: Bills vs. 49ers
The Bills are licking their wounds from their collapse against New England. It doesn't get easier as they begin a two game swing out West against two of the NFC's best teams. They start in San Francisco against a well coached, solid defensive team in the 49ers.
Sunday, Oct. 7th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (2-2) vs. San Francisco (3-1)
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 714; Sirius: 128
||Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots
||49ers by 10
||Series tied 5-5
||49ers Won 1
||49ers 10-3 in Buffalo (2008)
||Rush (3rd); Pass (30th); overall (19th)
||Rush (5th); Pass (5th); overall (3rd)
||Rush (4th); Pass (22nd); overall (11th)
||Rush (28th); Pass (23rd); overall (27th)
The Bills will be without two of their starting offensive linemen. LT Cordy Glenn and RG Kraig Urbik are sidelined with ankle injuries suffered in the loss to the Patriots. Jairus Byrd suffered a hip pointer in that loss and has msised practice time this week but is expected to play. Spencer Johnson is slowed by an ankle injury as well. Ruvell Martin has missed two games with a high ankle sprain. He has returned to practice but will likely sit another week. Mario Williams says a wrist injury has hurt his production but he is practicing and will play.
The 49ers are very healthy as everyone practiced on Wednesday with only three players limited all starters. Everyone should be able to play including RB Brandon Jacobs who has missed the first four games of the season with a knee injury.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
LT Chris Hairston vs. OLB Aldon Smith:
Hairston gets his first start of the year at left tackle for Glenn. He goes up against the rising star in the 2nd year Smith. He leads the 49ers with 4½ sacks.
DE Mario Williams vs. RT Anthony Davis:
Williams has been under fire this week in Western New York for not making the big plays to go along with his big contract. Davis is a solid tackle who has started every game in his three year career.
RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller vs. ILBs Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman:
The strength of the Bills offense is their two running backs and they go up against the biggest strength of a great 49ers defense, the two inside linebackers who have combined for 80 tackles on the season.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. S Donte Whitner:
Fitzpatrick needs to keep from making the big mistake. Whitner has always had a chip on his shoulder and would love to make big plays against his former team.
LB Kelvin Sheppard vs. RB Frank Gore:
To win this game the Bills need to slow down Gore. Sheppard didn't play much last week since they were in the nickel defense. That won't be the case against San Francisco. He adds size to the defense and needs to help hold down the running attack.
LB Bryan Scott vs. TE Vernon Davis:
For years the Bills have struggled stopping top tight ends. Scott was moved to linebacker to take on players like Davis so he needs to keep him in check.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Offensive Efficiency: The 49ers are sound defensively against the pass and against the run so the Bills are going to have to execute their game plan with pinpoint accuracy. That means the blocking schemes need to be sound to open up holes in the running game and Ryan Fitzpatrick has to be more accurate throwing the football then he has been all year.
2. Stop The Run: The 49ers are one of the best running teams and one of the worst passing teams in the league. The Bills were run over last week and need to shore up the run defense by playing more of their normal 3-4 defense instead of the nickel.
3. Show Mental Toughness: This has been a point of emphasis by Chan Gailey this week after the meltdown last week. The 49ers are going to be very tough to beat and at times things will definitely go their way. The Bills need to respond positively when that happens.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Bills struggle on the road and they struggle against very good teams so things don't look very good for them this week. My gut tells me that they will show up to play and in some ways they match up pretty well with San Fran. I think they will surprise a lot of people and give the Niners all they can handle in a tough defensive struggle as the Bills D bounces back from last week's debacle. I would like to pick the Bills to pull off the upset but they haven't beaten an NFC team on the road since 2009 and the 49ers haven't lost to an AFC team at home since the same year. Hard to think that will change now as the 49ers win their eighth straight game at home:
49ers 16, Bills 13
Season Prediction Record: (3-1)
Season Record Against The Spread: (3-1)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Night!
Gameday Grades - Coming Monday Morning!