Buffalo’s Defense must show up against Philadelphia

Michael Vick
Michael Vick and the Eagles offense command respect.

News Flash: The “Dream Team” is traveling to Buffalo this weekend to take on a Bills team that is looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to Cincinnati. This week 5 matchup is amongst one of Sunday’s most perplexing matchups, as an underachieving Eagles squad is coming to town to face a team that not many anticipated would have three wins after playing four games.

The Philadelphia Eagles are the most explosive 1-3 football team in the NFL. Personally, I believe that Philadelphia is amongst the elite teams in the NFL and Buffalo must treat this potent Eagles team the same. Any offense that is operated by Michael Vick and complimented by the second best rushing attack in the NFL (163.5 yds/game) must be treated with respect. If the ground game is not enough to keep the Bills defense occupied, the Eagles offense is also able to rely on their passing attack led by the lethal threat of DeSean Jackson who is averaging 20.3 yards per reception this season.

With the diversity of the Eagles offense exposed, the Bills defense has their framework laid out. The unconventional quarterbacking style of Michael Vick is enough to keep a defensive coordinator busy throughout the week, let alone the challenge to contain several gifted athletes on the Eagles offense.

A point that must be addressed for the Buffalo Bills defense this upcoming Sunday is the exposure of Philadelphia’s offensive line. Jason Peters, a player Bills fans might be familiar with, will not be dressed for his homecoming back to Ralph Wilson Stadium after suffering what Eagles Coach Andy Reid has described as a “fairly significant hamstring injury.” Peters will be replaced by backup King Dunlap, while the right side of the Eagles offensive line will experience a nuance as rookie Danny Watkins will be making his first career NFL start this Sunday against the Bills.

With the shuffle that is occurring throughout Philadelphia’s offensive line, I would be stunned if George Edwards does not create substantial pressure to test these new pieces in the Eagles offensive line. With the loss of Jason Peters, the Eagles lose an exceptional pass protector as well as an athletic lineman that is intelligent enough to hustle downfield and block for running back LeSean McCoy. The substitution of Danny Watkins is expected to beef up an offensive line that has not been dominant inside of the red zone this year.

The Bills defense must control the trenches on Sunday.
The Bills defense must control the trenches on Sunday.

If the Bills defense expects to be productive this Sunday, they must exploit the weaknesses on Philadelphia’s offensive line. Controlling the trenches does not necessarily constitute as accumulating sacks on Michael Vick, it will just mean applying enough pressure on Vick to entice him into a bad throw or make a poor decision. Everyone is aware that without controlled pressure on Vick, he can easy slip out of the pocket and tear a defense apart with his legs and seemingly pull a rabbit out of a hat at the same time- Vick is a freakish athlete.

Encouraging news came from One Bills Drive this afternoon that Bills cornerback, Terrence McGee, has a chance to play this weekend. McGee has missed the first four games this season after suffering a hamstring injury on the first defensive play in Week 1. McGee would provide an instant boost to a Bills secondary that is depleted with injuries. McGee was listed as a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, so look for his presence to make an impact if he sees the field.

With the disheartening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4, expect this Bills defensive unit to take the field with a refined focus. Ultimately, it is impossible to completely stop the Philadelphia Eagles offense, however the Bills appear willing to accept the challenge to slow Michael Vick and company down. In a critical game that has the potential to set the Bills back on their winning ways, look for this defense to answer the call.

Zachary Specht
Bills Mafia Blog