Last weekend was ‘gouge your eyeballs out with a spoon’ painful. After beating the Carolina Panthers in exciting fashion during the dying seconds of a game, the Buffalo Bills proceeded to enter New York to give up 513 yards to rookie quarterback Geno Smith and lose to a team that committed 20 penalties. The New York Jets begged the Bills to take the win from them, but Buffalo is apparently not interested in material goods such as gifts or victories. The rollercoaster of emotion that is the Buffalo Bills continues.
Not only did the Bills lose the game, they also added to their long list of injured key players. With Stephon Gilmore on the bench, Leodis McKelvin, who was stepping up quite well in Gilmore’s absence, went down with a hamstring injury. Jarius Byrd is questionable to make his season debut and in case the Bills weren’t already short at defensive back, backup cornerback Ron Brooks is out with a knee injury. Add Buffalo’s two star caliber players C.J. Spiller and Mario Williams to that list of walking wounded and you have the Bills team of zombies.
Accompanying the Buffalo Zombies this weekend is a rookie quarterback who for the first time this season looked like a rookie quarterback last weekend against the Jets. E.J. Manuel played shaky against the eight-man front the Jets showed them. The pressure forced sacks and deep balls floating aimlessly out of bounds. I would not be surprised if the Bills next defensive opponent shows them a similar package. And it just so happens that the Bills next opponents defensive boss used to be Rex Ryan himself.
Enter the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, who after getting trampled by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Week 1 have bounced back to with their last two against Cleveland and Houston in a convincing fashion. Fantasy all-star running back Ray Rice is set to make his return Sunday to help out Joe Flacco and his group of unknown wide receivers.
My prediction: While I’d love to see the Bills clip the Ravens wings, I just don’t see it happening. After seeing Manuel react to pressure last weekend this game seems too easy for defensive coordinator Dean Pees and the Ravens to game plan for. I can see the home crowd helping the Bills grab momentum at points, but I don’t see the twelfth man being enough to overcome the Bills lack of currently healthy talent.