SUNDAY 1:00 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
BOTH the Bills and the Eagles need this game to keep their playoff hopes alive. The 6-6 Bills are hoping to win out and for some other teams to give them some help to secure a wild-card berth in the AFC. The Eagles have to win the division to see the postseason. This one should be a lot of fun to watch if both teams show up with empty bellies.
Yes, last week DID happen, but if you’re still excited about it then you really haven’t taken a GOOD look at it. In a game that featured a very beat-up Patriots team, their QB still managed to throw for over 300 yards and score 4 touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing). We even let him have a 36 yard reception, just for shits and giggles. Oh and they averaged 4.1 yards per rush.
So while last week was a great win to have, it was more the result of a handful of splash plays. It was by no means a sustained effort by a Defense ranked near the bottom of the NFL in points allowed (25th), yards allowed (26th), passing yards allowed (24th), and rushing yards allowed (27th).
After watching this unit allow 90 points over a two week span, it’s hard to go out on a limb and play the optimist over a few plays in one game.
I have no idea what our Offense is like now. Apparently RB DeMarco Murray is no longer a factor here. My guess (and at this point a guess is all it is), is that returning RB Ryan Mathews will be the lead dog that he was expected to be when he was originally signed ahead of Murray this Spring. For too many reasons Kelly couldn’t be serious about a backfield headed up by RB Darren Sproles.
WR Miles Austin was cut 7 months too late for it to make a difference in 2015. I said this move should have been made back in May. Had it happened back then maybe you’d be happily wearing a Nelson Agholor jersey right now. (BTW: If you happen to be wearing an Agholor jersey right now, you have my condolences for the money you parted with.)
I’m seeing fans now are back on the bandwagon for QB “Super” Sam Bradford again, after his 14/24 – 58% – 120 – 2TD game against the Patriots. There are some numbers out there that suggest that he’s getting better suited to the Offense, and if you’d like to buy into those, be my guest. They however overlook a far more important metric that once seen, cannot be unseen and will give you the most accurate picture of Bradford.
There’s really nothing great about this unit. In fact they make me think of the “Bend but don’t break” style that Buffalo played in the 90’s when they were thwarted in an unprecedented four straight Super Bowls. That 1990’s team had better players than this 2015 edition and even they had up and down results with that style of defense.
Basically I think the Bills 6 losses this year have more to do with their defense than anything else. They get interceptions, but they don’t get to the QB much. The little pass rush they do generate will likely be compromised if (lead interceptor) CB Stephon Gilmore misses Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.
This unit is one of the best kept secrets in the NFL. They’re 4th in rushing and 10th in scoring. They have QB Tyrod Taylor who sports a 17:4 touchdown to interception ratio, and is averaging 5.0 yards per rush. To top it all off, they have enough depth to squeeze by rough patches that would derail an entire season for most teams. Not that they need it since they’re also a pretty healthy bunch to say they’re heading into their 13th game.
Though they have some strong points, this unit is not without it’s weaknesses. They will allow defenses to touch their QB, and their 3rd down conversion rate is only 36%. The biggest weakness though is WR Sammy Watkins.
Yes. I said Sammy Watkins. Read on.
For all his talent, there are too many games where he just seems like he’s going through the motions. By all rights this guy should be killing defenses on a weekly basis, but he spends too many Sundays just running his routes. He’s been on a tear these last couple weeks, but that’s no guarantee that he shows up looking to really play this Sunday. I for one, hope that he doesn’t.
I think this one comes down to coaching and styles. Bills coach Rex Ryan will come in looking to impose his will on our Head Coach. When teams commit to pounding the ball at us the losses tend to be humiliating. (New Orleans 2013, Minnesota 2014, Tampa Bay 2015 for examples.) I have no idea what Kelly will be looking to do, but the real question here is whether or not he’s willing to adapt and adjust in-game. And in three years I have seen no reason to believe that he will.
Bills 26 – Eagles 21