Week 7 Preview – 10/18/2006

Is It Too Early To Play For Draft Picks?
After losing to the Jets at home, a crushing defeat by the Bears, and an embarrassing loss to the Lions, the Bills are painting a terrible picture of them selves. I never thought I would see a quarter back fumble more than Bledsoe, but J.P. continues to impress. He had a great running toss to roscoe, and really needs to start getting out of the pocket and running much more.

You know how in five-card-draw poker if you have an ace you can exchange your other four cards, well that’s the only solution to the Bills line. Jason Peters isn’t quite an ace, but every one else needs to hit the road. Mike Gandy let up three and a half sacks against the lions. I like Peters, but it is saying something when the team’s two tackles were a back up guard and a college tight end before joining the team. Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, and Richard Seymour, combined with blitzing linebackers will probably be in J.P.’s face all game. Let’s just hope he can hold on to the ball.

The line’s woes have not helped out Willis lately. After leading the league in rushing, Willis has only gained 116 yards on the ground in the last two games combined. Willis only got 70 yards in the first game against the Patriots and may have another similar game. The line is playing worse and now Melvin Fowler and Tutan Reyes are both questionable. All season running up the middle has not been very successful and now it will be even worse. If Willis wants to get into this game at all, Jauron will need to send him on mostly off tackle runs. He has to make his own holes.

When J.P. has gotten the ball out of his hand, he’s been solid this year. Completing 61.6 percent of his passes, and with more TDs than ints this year, he has done what he needs to do. The fumbles are the x-factor that has made his season slightly disappointing. Lee Evans has stepped up his game this year and has caught passes that aren’t just straight fly routes. He catches balls all over the field and is really becoming the respectable number one receiver who the Bills need. Price and Reed have also chipped in on short and intermediate passes, with roscoe providing a lot of the deep threat. With Corner Back Ellis Hobbs and Safety Eugene Wilson, both playing through injuries for the Patriots the Bills receiver can take advantage. With a hurting offensive line the receivers need to get open quickly and often. Expect them to do so against the ailing secondary.

Defense Needs To Go From Good To Dominant
The Bills added a new member to their defensive line this week. Anthony Hargrove will probably split time with Ryan Denney and Chris Kelsay opposite Aaron Schobel. After the front four was such a pleasant surprise at the beginning of the season they have been nowhere to be found since then. The Bills only rush their front four on most plays and cannot create consistent pressure with them. For a second straight year the Bills have been terrible against the run. The Bills continue to show how much they miss Pat Williams. Triplett, Kyle Williams, and Tim Anderson are serviceable but they really need that one big guy to disrupt every thing on running plays. Going up against a very good line in New England don’t expect too much out of the Bills D-line this week.

The comeback of Takeo Spikes definitely will help. Although he did definitely look like a player coming off injury last week. He was a bit hesitant and it took him longer to get into plays. With Crowell and Fletcher helping him out and assuming he gets back to old form the Bills linebackers can really start to dominate games. After Maroney and Dillon ran all over the Bills after Spikes left the game look for him to take this one personally. Spikes and Fletcher combined on the first play from scrimmage against the Pats in week one to score the first touchdown on a Sunday of the NFL season. With first round pick Ben Watson, Daniel Graham, and good receiving running backs the linebackers have their work cut out for them, but I expect them to get the job done. With a healthy Takeo, they could easily be the best group of linebackers in the league, and they will show that Sunday.

Terrence McGee is never allowed to look at Roy Williams again. Nate Clements seems to be fully healthy this week and he needs to be. Even though the Patriots don’t have a clear-cut number one receiver, just out of principle McGee can’t guard who ever it may be. Troy Brown and Reche Caldwell lead a weak receiving corps into Buffalo. With bad receivers and Clements back to form the Bills should give Tom Brady another tough time this week. Ko Simpson has played all right. He certainly has all the skills he needs to play at this level, he just needs to read plays better and take better angles to the ball. The referees certainly do not like Donte Whitner. In week one they called a phantom penalty that took away his touchdown and last week, even after review, the ref wouldn’t give him a clear interception. He is still playing great and is making a great attempt at Rookie of the Year. He won defensive rookie of the month in September. He has been playing great all year and is proving to have been a great sleeper pick at number eight in this year’s draft. If the safeties help out the corners, passing yards will be scarce for New England.

Picks and Parlays
Peyton Manning will have a huge game against the Redskins and will prove to be the best fantasy quarter back this year. With the loss of Larry Fitzgerald and Matt Leinart’s strong play Anquan Boldin will put up big numbers, he’s your best bet at receiver this week, plus he’s playing the Raiders, that always helps. Ladanian Tomlinson takes his league leading seven rushing touchdowns into Kansas City this week, look for him to add a few to that number. The Bills are a very up-and-down team and betting on them is not recommended but I do see them coming out strong back at home this week and upsetting the Patriots in a defensive game, meaning they will be under 37. Pick of the week is going to be Cardinals -3 at Oakland. Leinart played well against the Bears last week and Oakland is winless for a reason.