Both the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings look to improve upon last
season’s disappointing records. Both teams had inauspicious beginnings last week, however. They clash in a week two preseason showdown
on Friday night in Minnesota.
Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Buffalo offense never got on track, their defense looked impressive in a 7-6
loss to RG3 and the new look Redskins last week in Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick
led a dismal offensive attack (if that’s the right word) and connected on only 6
of 14 passing, totaling only 61 yards. Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen were not
much better as the aerial assault produced a grand total of 119 yards, no
touchdowns and one interception (Thigpen). The offensive line did their
quarterbacks no favors, either, allowing four sacks and keeping their signal callers
scrambling throughout. Bills' kicker Ryan Lindell was responsible for their only points with two field goals from 43 and 45 yards respectively.
Emphasis in the offseason, however, was squarely on upgrading the defense and, if their Week 1 performance is any indication, they've accomplished their goal. They
effectively contained the elusive Robert Griffin III and surrendered only one
touchdown pass. That was just enough for the 'Skins to get the win, but gave the
Bills defense and prized free agent signing Mario Williams a moral victory.
Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
looked a lot like last season’s disappointing edition Friday when they were
dominated by the 49ers in a mismatch belied by the 17-6 score. San Francisco amassed 260 yards on the ground
to only 82 for Minnesota. Nevertheless, the Vikings offense was able to move
adeptly enough until they sputtered in enemy territory. The Minnesota
quarterback triumvirate, led by Christian Ponder, went a collective 11 for 27
passing, totaling 126 yards and one interception (Bethel-Thompson).
tackle Letroy Guion left in the opening quarter with a strained knee and will
be out approximately two weeks. But, that in itself cannot explain the porous defensive
front; the Niners rolled over the Vikings on the
ground and were efficient through the air. San Francisco's quarterbacks
collectively went 20 of 29 for 152 yards and one TD. Furthermore, the Vikings gave up 23 first downs while their offense only produced 12 in the contest.
Despite all the doom and gloom, it should be noted that star players Percy Harvin, Kevin
Williams, Jared Allen, Antoine Winfield, and, obviously, Adrian Peterson were all
inactive for the game. Whether or not they suit up for Friday night’s game is
still unanswered as of this writing.
are currently 2 ½ point favorites, which appears to be a nod to the home
field advantage they will enjoy when they meet the Bills. This matchup pits two
offensive units that could do little to put points on the board last week, but
the Bills certainly looked sharp on the defensive side of the ball.
The question is, how long will each team employ
their starters and which coach will make a bigger push to win the game as well
as evaluate the talent? While I certainly wasn’t overwhelmed by the Bills
offense, it must be noted that they do have a decent connection between
quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and wideout Stevie Johnson, a connection that was not exploited
last week. I believe the Bills’ defense can cause turnovers and give their
offense decent field position to put points on the board. The underdog looks
like the sharp side to me but, then again, beware; after all it is still only
Pick: Bills +2 ½