After a disastrous game in New Jersey last week, the Buffalo Bills will return home for week 4. Their opponent does not get any easier. The Bills will meet the defending Super Bowl Champions Baltimore Ravens at 1:00pm, with a sellout crowd expected at the stadium.
The Bills not only lost a game last week against the Jets, they looked like an episode of the walking wounded after the game. The Bills secondary, depleted already with Stephon Gilmore, Ron Brooks, and Jairus Byrd out of the lineup, took a major hit in the 1st quarter when Leodis McKevlin went down with a hamstring injury. McKelvin was quite possibly playing his best football as a Bill coming into Sunday’s game. If he cannot play against Baltimore, the Bills’ defense may be in a world of trouble. The Bills also lost Alex Carrington for the season with a quad tear. Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams were also banged up.
On offense, the Bills struggled to find any rhythm against the Jets. EJ Manuel had a difficult time reading an aggressive Jets defense, and panicked far too often in the pocket. This week the Ravens will bring a similar style attack against the young rookie. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett must find a way to get his running game going, and open up more passing lanes for Manuel to hit. CJ Spiller was kept under wraps against the Jets, and also left the game early with an injury.
At some point, the Bills may need to go back to a 2 back set, but with a FB in the backfield to help spring Spiller or Jackson. A double running back set may even help the passing game by holding the blitz for a split second, or by even helping out with blocks in the interior of the Bills’ line. Right now opponents are getting too much of a push into the backfield.
The Baltimore Ravens come into Ralph Wilson Stadium after a big win against the Houston Texans. While the Ravens offense has not been too impressive, their defense and special teams shined last week. Joe Flacco signed a mega contract in the off season, and may feast against a depleted Bills’ secondary. Ray Rice is always a threat at running back for the Ravens. Although he is just returning from an injury, Buffalo’s defense still has to respect the Raven’s running attack.
While the game last Sunday against New York should have been much more one sided, the Bills were able to hang in the game, and still had an opportunity to tie the game late in the 4th quarter. The Bills’ red zone offense needs touchdowns, not field goals. Unfortunately that is easier said than done against good defenses. While Dan Carpenter has been an unsung hero for Buffalo, field goals will not keep the Bills in many games this year.
The Bills will need to come out with some more innovative plays on offense, and figure out a way to deal with all their injuries on defense. If they don’t, Baltimore may take this game over early, and never look back.
The Buffalo Bills gave up 513 yards last Sunday against the New York Jets. Justin Rogers alone gave up six catches for 254 receiving yards, and two touchdowns.
CJ Spiller had 10 rushes for 9 yards Sunday. That stat alone is staggering. Overall, Spiller is averaging a pedestrian 3.6 yards this year. CJ also had two fumbles.
Stevie Johnson led all Bills with 6 catches for 86 yards against the Jets, with all catches coming after an injury to Johnson’s hand or wrist. Johnson also took a very foolish penalty in the 2nd half for taunting.
Sunday’s game is officially sold out and will be on local TV. It may be the last time we see the Bills on local television this season due to slow ticket sales. While the blackout is supposed to help ticket sales, in this case it may just drive them further south.