When the Bills and Eagles clash on Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium, it will be redemption vs. salvation. Buffalo looks to redeem themselves after losing in the final seconds to the Cincinnati Bengals and prove to the rest of the NFL they’re for real and not just a feel-good football story for a few weeks. Philadelphia knows it’s now or never to save their season and avoid a crippling 1-4 start.
Sunday’s matchup will feature a tale of two high-octane offenses that overshadow less than perfect defenses. Philadelphia’s defense will be without the services of Trent Cole, while Buffalo’s defense will not Chris Kelsay or Torell Troup. Both sets of injuries will challenge each respective defense to step up and slow down an explosive offense.
No one sparks the Buffalo offense like Fred Jackson. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick runs the show with his gun-slinging abilities, but Jackson continues to accumulate yardage with his legs and generate offense. In Buffalo’s only loss this season, Jackson did not surpass 100 total yards of offense. It has been evident that the Bills must rely upon the services of Jackson in order to generate production in both the passing and ground attack. Jackson is due for a career day as the Bills face the 30th worst rushing defense in the NFL. In addition to a poor rushing defense, the loss of Trent Cole for Sunday’s game will strongly affect the Eagle’s rush defense and passing attack. Look for Jackson to take advantage of an absent linebacking corps and accumulate over 100 yards of total offense against Philadelphia.
I am fully aware of the fact that Shawn Merriman is battling back from injuries that he has suffered, but the bottom line is that Merriman needs to show up against Philadelphia. Merriman has been competing against quality offensive linemen, such as Matt Light, however Sunday he will be working against King Dunlap. With all respect to Dunlap, Merriman is far more experienced than Jason Peter’s backup. If there is an ideal week for Merriman to break out, now is it. Merriman needs to get off his blocks from the offensive line and pressure Michael Vick if the Bills defense is looking for success.
Where has the Bills perennial pro-bowler gone? Kyle Williams has only racked up 9 tackles this season and zero sacks. Perhaps Williams’ production can be related to the production of the Bills run defense. Williams leads a run defense that ranks 25th in the NFL and will most likely need to have better production than that to defeat a dangerous ground game. Any time you are defending the 2nd best rushing attack in the NFL, having Williams solidify the defensive line will prove as a distinct advantage against multiple rushing threats.
Although it is difficult to picture this Eagles squad losing four games in a row, the Bills pose a difficult Week 5 matchup. The Bills are hungry and playing with confidence. In their two home games, they rallied to defeat the Raiders and Patriots. We’ve seen the Eagles fold in the fourth quarter three weeks in a row so that’s not an encouraging trend. Expect the Bills to shake off the unexpected loss to Cincinnati and hang with an underrated Eagles team. The Bills have been really good. The Eagles have not. Bills win 35-34.
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