Week 2 Matchups: Buffalo Bills vs Carolina Panthers
Week 2: Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are looking to bounce back from their home-opener loss to the New England Patriots with a win in Week 2. It will be easier but not much easier as they will square off against the Carolina Panthers at Ralph Wilson Stadium at 1:00 on Sunday. The Panthers are coming off of a home-opening loss of their own, falling to the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 12-7 in Carolina last Sunday. Both teams had tough draws for their home openers and are looking to bounce back and get to 1-1. It's crucial for young teams like the Bills or the Panthers trying to gain confidence not to fall into an 0-2 hole so this game is pretty important for both teams.
Both squads have areas of concern on the injury front. The Bills have been hit hard in the secondary and will be without CB Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks this week and may be without S Jairus Byrd as well. Panthers QB Cam Newton has already said that he plans to test the Bills secondary early and often this Sunday but without Gilmore or Byrd last weekend they held up reasonably well against Tom Brady. On the flip side, the Panthers have depth issues along the offensive line. G Amini Silatolu was banged up last weekend and had been limited in practice earlier this week. The Bills put a lot of pressure on Brady last week and will look to do the same with Newton to try and take pressure off of the depleted secondary.
The game is in Buffalo which should give the Bills an advantage but the Panthers will be no easy win. Here is how the two teams match up and my predictions for this Sunday's tilt between Carolina and Buffalo.
Panthers Pass Offense vs Bills Pass Defense
As I mentioned, Newton is eager to test the Bills depleted secondary. Look for the Bills to try and shadow Leodis McKelvin on Steve Smith and set the defense from there. Greg Olsen is the key in the matchup. The safeties will have their hands full with him, particularly if Byrd is out. The Bills will try to make Newton uncomfortable behind a shaky offensive line with a lot of pressure up front.
Bills Pass Offense vs Panther Pass Defense
E.J. Manuel will try to improve on his steady debut performance on Sunday. The Bills may be eager to try and move the ball down-field and get some yards in chunks as they played conservative in the opener. The Panthers pass D did give up over 300 yards to Russell Wilson last week so there could be opportunities for the Bills. We'll see if the Bills try to get speedster T.J. Graham involved this week.
Panthers Rush Offense vs Bills Rush Defense
DeAngelo Williams had a good opener for the Panthers, gaining 76 yards on 16 carries. The Bills were strong against the run early but they grew tired as the Patriots won the time of possession battle. The Bills will hope to put the game in Newton's hands so they'll likely stack up against the run early. Whether or not they can contain Williams will dictate the pace of this one.
Bills Rush Offense vs Panthers Rush Defense
C.J. Spiller struggled in the opener with only 41 yards on 17 carries but Fred Jackson provided a change of pace with 67 yards on 13 carries. Against the Seahawks, the Panthers contained Marshawn Lynch, as he was held to only 43 yards on 17 carries. It might be a good matchup for Spiller, however, as the Panthers struggle against scat backs like C.J., look for the Bills to get Spiller going but they won't forget about Jackson.
Final Score Prediction: Bills 24, Panthers 17
It's not going to be easy for the Bills but they'll come out hungry for a win after narrowly falling to the Pats a week ago. The Panthers will be a tough matchup and the Bills may have some issues in the secondary but I see the Bills as an okay team … not a good team but an okay one. I don't see them starting off 0-2 at home. They find a way to take this one and hit the road with a 1-1 record.