Week 2: Bills vs. Panthers
The Bills have their second straight home game to open the season on Sunday as they take on the Carolina Panthers at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Carolina is coming off of a tough defensive struggle against Seattle where they fell short. The front seven of the Panthers is very good and will cause headaches for a Bills offense that is looking to get C.J. Spiller going and looking to get the vertical passing game on track as well.
Sunday, Sept. 15th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-1) vs. Carolina (0-1)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Network: FOX; DirecTV: 705; Sirius: 98
||Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber, and Kris Budden
||Panthers by 3
||Bills lead 4-1
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 20-9 in Carolina (2009)
||Rush (5th); Pass (30th); overall (28th)
||Rush (11th); Pass (22nd); overall (19th)
||Rush (4th); Pass (28th); overall (24th)
||Rush (30th); Pass (18th); overall (26th)
The Bills injury woes continue to grow. Marquise Goodman and Ron Brooks are the latest sidelined players. Goodman broke his hand while Brooks broke his foot in the loss to the Patriots, both are out indefinitely. Stephon Gilmore remains sidelined with a broken wrist and Doug Legursky has a knee injury suffered in the preseason finale and is still sidelined. Dustin Hopkins suffered a groin injury in practice just before the season started and will almost certainly miss this week's game as well. Jairus Byrd continues to be bothered by plantar fasciitis in both feet and will likely be a gametime decision at best.
The Panthers lost starting right guard Garry Williams for the season after tearing an ACL and MCL in the opener. Former Bill and starting DT Dwan Edwards has missed practice time this week with a thigh injury. Backup TE Ben Hartsock and RB Kenjon Barner missed practice this week as well. LB Jon Beason and S Mike Mitchell have been limited this week with a knee and calf injury respectively.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
RB C.J. Spiller vs. LB Luke Kuechly:
Spiller said he reverted to old, bad habits in the loss to the Patriots. He said he's learned his lesson and he's fired up for this week. It won't be easy though going against the Panthers solid front seven led by 2nd year pro Kuechly. Many fans coveted the Boston College graduate and had hoped the Bills would draft him last year but he went one pick before the Bills picked Gilmore.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Captain Munnerlyn:
Johnson is anxious to get back on the field after the loss last week left a very bad taste in his mouth. He has a potential for a big day as the Panthers secondary is the weak unit of a very solid defense.
CB Leodis McKelvin vs. WR Steve Smith:
McKelvin has to be the lockdown corner this offense needs until Gilmore returns. He lines up against the consistent pro Smith. He needs to hold his own to slow down the Panthers passing attack.
DE Mario Williams vs. LT Jordan Gross:
Williams needs to step up his game and begin to earn his $100 Million contract from last year. He will go against in old pro in the 11 year veteran Gross.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Contain Newton: The Panthers are at their best offensively when Cam Newton runs well. The Bills need to contain him inside the numbers to keep him from running wild. Manny Lawson will be the guy that has to keep him from getting to the edge.
2. Stop Big Pass Plays: Newton said this week they will try to open up their passing game after not throwing downfield in their opening day loss. The Bills depleted secondary needs to keep up the intensity and prevent the bombs from being completed.
3. Third Down Success: They need to win the battle of third down conversions. That means they need to convert more offensively and make more stops defensively than they did last week in the loss to the Patriots.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
If the Bills want to have a successful season they can't start with two straight home losses. It would be a huge hole to dig out of. I think they are confident after the close loss last week and will use the 12th man and the momentum from the halftime Wall of Fame ceremony to give them enough of an edge to pull out a hard fought win:
Bills 17, Panthers 13
Season Prediction Record: (1-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (0-1)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Night or Monday!