Week 13 Preview: Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 13 Primer: Falcons vrs Bills
The Buffalo Bills "host" the Atlanta Falcons this weekend at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The Bills are only 1-4 in five games in Toronto, so they hope to change their fortunes in the second of their five years of the Toronto deal. The Bills are coming off of the bye with some momentum. They beat up the New York Jets 37-14 the last time that they played and have had two full weeks to bask in the win and prepare for Atlanta.
The Falcons are the most disappointing team in the NFL so far this season. They hosted the NFC Championship Game last season, but are only 2-9 through the first 11 of 2013. They are coming off of a loss to the New Orleans Saints nine days ago at home. The week before that, they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were only a one-win team to that point.
On paper, this looked like a sure loss for the Bills at the start of the season, but a lot has changed between then and now. The Bills can look at this game now as a game that they should compete in. The Falcons are banged up. Julio Jones was placed on IR and lost for the season. Fellow offensive weapons Roddy White, Steven Jackson and Tony Gonzalez have all been banged up and one point or another during the season.
I wouldn't expect another Bills blowout, but I definitely see a game where the Bills have the opportunity to compete. They need every win that they can get right now as they barely hang on during the playoff race and any time that you play a 2-9 team, you need to capitalize no matter how good they were before.
Here's a preview of Sunday's game between the Falcons and Bills.
Bills Pass Offense vrs Falcons Pass Defense
The Bills will have a healthy E.J. Manuel and a full complement of receivers for the first time this season since Week 1. The Bills should be able to spread the ball around. Nine different guys caught passes two weeks ago vs. the Jets and that was without Stevie Johnson or Robert Woods. The pass defense of the Falcons has been disappointing despite having veterans like Asante Samuel and Osi Uymeniora. The Bills should be able to make some plays on the Falcons.
Falcons Pass Offense vrs Bills Pass Defense
There's good news and bad news for the Falcons' pass offense. The good news is that Matt Ryan, White and Gonzalez had a field day the last time these two teams played. The bad news is that their offensive line is not playing very good and the Bills have the most sacks in the NFL. Expect the Falcons to look for White early and often, but it will be an issue of keeping Ryan upright all game.
Bills Rush Offense vrs Falcons Rush Defense
The Bills have an opportunity to get their running game back on track this Sunday. C.J. Spiller has had a poor string of games, but he's had two weeks to heal his ankle and clear his mind and hopefully can get back to basics against the Falcons. It will help Spiller playing inside this weekend. They will probably try to get Spiller heavily involved early to get him back on track in the most ideal scenario.
Falcons Rush Offense vrs Bills Rush Defense
The Falcons' best chance for success is to run the ball against the Bills. If the Bills have one soft spot on defense, it's in their run game. The Falcons will have to stay true to the run game if they want to succeed in this game. Jackson has been hobbled all year, but, like Spiller, should feel more comfortable on the indoor turf.
Final Score Prediction: Bills 27, Falcons 21
I think that there is just too much momentum on the Bills side right now to not win this game. They've had plenty of rest and are as healthy as they've been all year long. They'll come ready to play and there will be enough plays made to get a big W in Toronto. I don't think the Falcons will lay down, but at the end of the day, the Bills are a better team right now and get the job done in the great white north.