Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 10 Primer
Week 10 Preview: Bills vs. Steelers
The Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers will face off this Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Bills will try and beat the Steelers for the first time since 1999. The good news for them as that rookie QB E.J. Manuel will likely resume his rookie season on Sunday. The Bills were 1-3 in Manuel's absence and they'll look to get back on the winning track.
The Steelers are coming off of a record-breaking loss against the New England Patriots last week. They gave up 55 points and a whooping 610 yards of total offense to the Pats. The 610 yards is the most that the Steelers have ever given up in franchise history. Last Sunday may have been rock bottom for the Steelers, but they've played poorly as a whole all season long. They have one of the worst running games in the league on both sides of the ball. Ben Roethlisberger is, as usual, running for his life behind a patchwork offensive line. Todd Haley looks to be on the endangered species list as offensive coordinator.
The Bills are desperate for a win too, and they'll try to play to their strengths in this one. They are a running team, and you can expect them to utilize the running game early and often while Manuel shakes off the rust. C.J. Spiller is off of the injury report for the first time in weeks, and the ground game should be running on all cylinders for the Bills on Sunday. It could make for a long day for the Steelers if they can't handle Spiller and Fred Jackson. Look for the Bills to try and ease Manuel back in.
The Bills are almost as desperate for a win as the Steelers are, and they are in a situation where they may be able to kick the Steelers while they are down. If the Bills can score early and play aggressively on defense, they can create some problems for Pittsburgh. Here is how the two teams match up for this Sunday's game.
Steelers' Pass Offense vs. Bills' Pass Defense
Ben Roethlisberger can still sling it with the best of them. He had four TD passes against the Pats last Sunday. He can also still get sacked with the best of them. The Steelers are tied for second in the league for most sacks allowed this season with 32. That could create a matchup problem for the Steelers with Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes and co. ready to get at Big Ben. They'll need to win one-on-one match-ups with their receivers on the outside if they want to move the ball down the field. If they can't protect Roethlisberger, it could make for a long day.
Bills' Pass Offense vs. Steelers' Pass Defense
Manuel will be a sight for sore eyes for Bills fans on Sunday. The Team's QB play has been erratic since he got hurt, and he'll be looked at to stabilize things. Despite the Steelers having one of the worst pass rushes in the league, I wouldn't expect them to ask Manuel to do too much since the Steelers are even worse against the run. One thing to look out for is that if the Bills are having success on the ground, I wouldn't be shocked to see them take a few shots downfield with some play-action. The main thing will be to keep Manuel clean, so I'd expect short routes and high-percentage passing plays for most of the day. That might be all that they need if the Steelers can't stop the run.
Steelers' Rush Offense vs. Bills' Rush Defense
The Bills have had one weakness all year and that's been their rush defense, but it's been improving. The bad news for the Steelers is that they are bad at that too. They are the 26th rushing offense in the league. Rookie Le'Veon Bell hasn't done too much to excite the Steelers faithful, and he'll go up against the stout middle of the Bills led by Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. The Bills will likely try to stop the run with seven guys in the box and try to make Roethlisberger beat them against an even secondary. It's up to Bell to make them respect the run game.
Bills' Rush Offense vs. Steelers' Rush Defense
If C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson watched the tape of the Steelers vs. Pats game from last week, then they are probably feeling like kids on Christmas morning right about now. The Steelers are undisciplined and soft up the middle, and teams have gashed them all season long. They've already given up 1,050 yards on the ground and 12 rushing TDs through eight games. Now they go up against the no. 7 rushing attack in the league. Spiller looked the best that he has all year in the game last week and Jackson was breaking tackles all over the field. If these guys get going, they may get more than the 241 yards that they rushed for last week. I couldn't imagine a better matchup for the Bills to exploit.
Final Score Prediction: Bills 27, Steelers 14
A lot of people like the Steelers in this one simply because the Bills haven't been able to beat good teams on the road for years. The Steelers are far from a good team this season, however. The Bills win every matchup on paper and the Steelers are reeling after being embarrassed by the Patriots. I just can't envision a scenario where the Steelers can stop the ground game of the Bills while protecting Roethlisberger on the other side of the ball. Even with a QB that hasn't played in five weeks, it will take a ton of mental errors to lose the edge in this one. I like the Bills' chances and think they will snap their losing streak to the Steelers in Pittsburgh this Sunday.
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