This week I had a chance to exchange with Bradley Andrews of FanSided’s Buffalo Bills Blog BuffaLowDown.
Here is what they had to tell me about the Bills:
Has the defense for the Bills been lucky or has the scheme evolved to a point of ball hawking consistency?
A little of both. The Bills have had some lucky bounces go their way, no doubt. However, this defense has some legitimate ball hawks. In
particular, the Bills have a trio of real playmakers at safety – George Wilson, Jairus Byrd, and Bryan Scott. Those three seem to make gamechanging plays with regularity. Wilson has been on an absolute tear lately, with an interception in each of the last three games to go along with a ton of tackles. In general, this is not an especially talented defense but it is a smart one that will make you pay for mistakes.
Fred Jackson, how do you stop him?
Excellent question. I really don’t know. This isn’t even me saying this as a Bills fan, but Jackson has been amazing in 2011. Poor blocking by the offensive line hasn’t stopped him. Getting hit in the backfield 75% of the time hasn’t stopped him. Jackson’s just been a man possessed so far, seemingly breaking a few tackles every play. He’ll never win it unless Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady both slip into comas, but Jackson could be an MVP candidate this year. He’s been that good.
The offense looks dangerously hard to stop, can the Giants get to Fitz if he’s running 3 step drops and getting the ball out quickly? What are the Giants supposed to do to stop the Bills?
It’s gonna be tough to sack Fitz – he’s only been sacked three times all year. But it’s not necessarily always a good thing, as Fitz tends to throw it quick whether someone’s open or not. If you want to stop the Bills offense, you have two options: play physical bump-and-run coverage and get Fitz and the receivers out of sync. You could also try to confuse Fitz with some sort of zone blitz scheme. In his hurry to get the ball out, he’ll sometimes just throw it right to a linebacker.
This question may be a bit overdue but…. are the Bills for real? What’s their final record looking to you?
I don’t think the Bills are elite yet, but they’re a solid team. The defense is still a big question mark, and if the unit doesn’t improve or stops forcing turnovers it’s going to eventually catch up to them. However, there’s certainly enough talent here to contend for the playoffs. I’ll say they finish somewhere between 8-8 and 11-5. The rest of the schedule is tough, but the fact Buffalo still has two games left against the Dolphins helps.
X-factor for the Bills?
The Bills’ wide receivers. The Buffalo receiving corps has been absolutely decimated by trades and injuries. Lee Evans was dealt before season to Baltimore, Marcus Easley and Roscoe Parrish are out for the season, and now Donald Jones is out for at least a month. So now what was once probably the deepest position on the roster is a big concern. Two guys who were cut in earlier in the season – Naaman Roosevelt and Ruvell Martin – are now the #3 and #4 receivers on the team. David Nelson, a big but slow slot receiver, is now being forced outside to the #2 role. Brad Smith (a quarterback) and C.J. Spiller (a running back) will also have to play some receiver. If no one steps up and helps out star WR Stevie Johnson, the high-flying Bills passing attack is going to grind to a halt pretty quickly.
X-factor for the Giants?
Eli Manning. This is mostly true with any NFL team, but it’s especially true against the Bills: If you don’t turn it over, you probably win. If Manning avoids giving the Bills’ ballhawking safeties a chance to make plays, the Giants should be able to score quite a few points in this one.
I actually might have liked the Bills a lot more here had the Giants not lost last week. This is a Giants team with a sense of urgency, while the Bills are banged up and probably looking forward to their bye week next week. I’ll say the Giants right the ship a bit with a 34-24 win. I certainly wouldn’t mind being wrong, of course.