Week 13 Preview – 11/29/2006

Charging into the Playoff Picture
The first sentence of this week’s article is dedicated to Brian Moorman. Not only is he the league leader in net punt yards, but he is also my unsung hero of last week’s big win. On the final field goal attempt, long snapper Mike Schneck hiked the ball into the ground, but Moorman picked it up and held it perfectly enabling Rian Lindell to knock in the game winning Kick.

The Bills have another tough home game coming up, this time the against AFC west leading San Diego Chargers. There is no reason to make the playoffs if there is no hope to win in them. So for the Bills to prove they can make it, they have to be able to beat playoff teams at home.

The Bills front four has been incredibly streaky this year. Some games they might as well have stayed in the locker room, in others they’re dominant. Last week was the latter. The Bills put constant pressure on Garrard all game and really helped out the defensive backs. Even though Phillip Rivers has played like a pro-bowler this year, he is still a rookie and susceptible to a constant rush. The Chargers line is young and inexperienced like the Bills’ so if the defensive line can put forth their best effort they should be able to keep pressure on Rivers all game.

No player has out preformed LaDanian Tomlinson this year. He leads all players with 1602 yards from scrimmage and 26 touchdowns. The Bills have struggled against the run all year. They are sixth from the bottom in rushing yards per game and just last week Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew lead the way for Jacksonville to total 207 yards on the ground. There is no realistic way the Bills can stop Tomlinson, but if the NFL’s leading tackler, London Fletcher-Baker, can help slow him down enough the Bills’ new found offense and Defensive backs can win the game.

The Bills are in the middle of the pack in pass defense. Clements has been outstanding this year, but McGee has been a disappointment. Ko Simpson and Donte Whitner have been incredible of late. They bring speed to the safety position that the Bills haven’t seen in years. When provided with a good pass rush they only have up 116 passing yards last year and have proven that they can stay with any receiving corps. The only problem one could have is the lack of interceptions. The defensive backs haven’t made too many plays on the ball this year, but the young group has given us a lot to look forward to for years to come. If Crowell can stay with Gates the Bills secondary can give Rivers a lot of trouble especially with Keenan McCardell question for the game.

The Bills reshuffled line threw Willis McGahee a welcome back party last week. They set up blocks that enabled him to rush for 5.5 yards per carry and 2 scores. Anthony Thomas will be hampered by an ankle injury this week, and unless Dick Jauron wants Kevin Smith to flip the table over after watching a healthy dose of Shaud Williams, Willis will get the large majority of the carries. Injuries to defensive end Luis Castillo and Linebacker Randall Godfrey will help out Willis’s efforts. But the line does have to look out for the return of juicer Shawne Merriman.

Who else is ready to watch Losman to Evans for years to come? J.P. has made me a believer and Evans is 7th in the NFL in receiving. Evans has been getting open all year and if J.P. can continue to hit him, defenses around the league will have to take men out of the box and really respect the passing game. Before the Bills’ passing game can truly thrive they might want to consider a better second receiver than Peerless Price, and I don’t mean Josh Reed. Evans can carry the load this year, but if the Bills want to be serious contenders next year they have to shore up the rest of the receivers along with some line help.

Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills. The recent great team play even has Burt “cut everybody” Flickinger yelling out wild card.

Even though Vince Young and Travis Henry has rejuvenated the Titans’ offense, they still play with the Titans’ defense, Peyton Manning will take advantage of this as he becomes this week’s top quarterback. The Bills have a great shot at coming away with a win, but Tomlinson will have his way with the weak run defense and put up the numbers he has all year. Tony Romo has completely turned around the Dallas offense and Terrell Owens has taken full advantage of it. He will continue his push with the best wide receiver out put this week. Bills should cover the six-point spread against the Chargers and go over 43 _ points. But the lock of the week is the Chiefs to go into Cleveland and blow up the 5-point spread.