Week 3: Bills vs. Cardinals
The dysfunctional start to the season could continue to spiral out of control with one of the NFC's top Super Bowl contenders coming to town on Sunday. The Cardinals seem to have the edge everywhere on paper but it is never easy for a team to come east for a 1pm start so the Bills at least have that going for them. With a new offensive coordinator the Bills are hoping that can use the element of surprise to move the ball against a solid Arizona defense. This is an early season must win for the Bills and the opponent couldn't be any tougher.
Sunday, Sept. 25th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-2) vs. Arizona (1-1)
||New Era Field
||Network: FOX; DirecTV: 709; Sirius: 133; XM 230
||Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Laura Okmin
||Cardinals by 4½
||Bills lead 6-4
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 19-16 in OT in Arizona (2012)
||Rush (16th); Pass (8th); overall (11th)
||Rush (11th); Pass (15th); overall (13th)
||Rush (24th); Pass (30th); overall (30th)
||Rush (15th); Pass (24th); overall (23rd)
The Bills are still battling injuries as starting left tackle Cordy Glenn remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Sammy Watkins remains bothered by pain in his surgically repaired foot but he should play along with Charles Clay who is battling a chronic knee condition. Colt Anderson may be ready to make his Bills debut as he continues to try to get back from a preseason foot injury.
The Cardinals are relatively healthy heading into this game. OLB Kareem Martin, G Evan Mathis, and DT Frostee Tucker have missed practice time this week with injuries.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
WR Sammy Watkins vs. CB Patrick Peterson:
This is the biggest matchup of the week. The Cardinals confirmed Peterson will be following Watkins all over the field. If Sammy was completely healthy this would be real fun to watch but Peterson likely has a big edge with Sammy's foot ailing. Let's see if new OC Anthony Lynn finds different ways to get the ball into Watkins' hands.
RB LeSean McCoy vs. SS Tony Jefferson:
McCoy should become the central figure in the new offense under Lynn. This is a smart idea as Shady is still one of the biggest running back threats in the league. Jefferson is a solid run stuffer from the safety spot and leads the Cardinals in tackles.
LBs Zach and Preston Brown vs. RB David Johnson:
The Brown Brothers in the middle of the Bills defense will have their hands full with the dual threat running back who is a developing star. Johnson can hurt you just as bad catching the ball as he can running with it so the two insider backers will have to be ready.
CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Larry Fitzgerald:
Gilmore will be looking to bounce back from probably the worst game of his career against the Jets. He will likely lineup against the future hall of famer in Fitzgerald more times than not. He needs a huge game to get the bitter taste of the Jets game out of his mouth and to help curtail the Cardinals passing attack.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Pressure Palmer: I hope they learned their lesson from last week when they allowed Fitzpatrick to just sit there and pick them apart. Chandler is a statue in the pocket, so they need to make him feel uncomfortable there with constant pressure.
2. Band Together Like A Family: It seems this team has an us against the world mentality right now and they could use it to their advantage. If the chaos surrounding the team allows them to pull together instead of break them apart they likely can play their best game of the young season.
3. Get The Ball To The Playmakers: In his press conference after firing Greg Roman, Rex Ryan said that they need to get the ball into the hands of the talented offensive weapons. Lynn's main job is to find ways to get the ball early and often to LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and Charles Clay. If they do this then the total number of plays they run should go up and give them a chance at the upset.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
With everything going on with the Bills organization and one of the best teams in the league coming to town it's hard to predict a Bills win. I do think however they will band together to fight against outside forces who they feel have given up on the team. Having this game at home is a plus with the Cardinals history of struggling in games in the eastern timezone. I do think it may be their last stand but I do somehow think the Bills will play hard and find a way to get their first win of the year in a big upset:
Bills 27, Cardinals 24
Season Prediction Record: (2-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (2-0)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Night! No Grades this week, they will return next week!