For the second week in a row the Bills take on an opponent on the road that is facing a must win situation. The Buccaneers are coming off a shocking upset at the hands of the Chicago Bears last week. They are in third place in the NFC Central and in dire need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. This is the same situation the Chiefs were facing last week and the Bills managed to overcome it. They will need to do it again if they want to remain in the thick of the logjam in the AFC East. With a victory the AFC East may even get tighter as the Dolphins are facing the Colts on Sunday.
Facts and Figures
Both teams will enter this game banged up. The Bills surprisngly may get Phil Hansen back at least a week or two ahead of schedule. The big blow for the Bills is the absence of starting cornerback Antoine Winfield for the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. His backup, Donovan Greer is expected to try and return from a sprained ankle but we may not know until Sunday if he will be ready. If he can't go Chris Watson will make his first start at CB. If Greer does start, Watson will play in the nickel defense. Sammy Morris also hopes to return but he's slow in recovering from his sprained ankle. The Bills need both these players back to be effective down the stretch as the backups have been either inexperienced or ineffective. The offensive line is also banged up as John Fina and Joe Panos both have low grade knee sprains and their status is also unkown. On the Bucs side, they also had a big injury blow. They will be without starting fullback Mike Alstott with a sprained knee. The leader of the secondary may also miss the game. John Lynch separated his shoulder last week and may not play.
For complete injury news throughout the week and the Official NFL Injury Report go to our Injury Page.
DB Ken Irvin vs. WR Keyshawn Johnson: Irvin hasn't been tested recently with Winfield banged up and now out. He will be tested this week since he will likely cover Johnson. Historically the Bills have struggled covering him when he was with the Jets and with the secondary banged up this may be a battle they won't win.
DB Donovan Greer or Chris Watson vs. WR Jacquez Green: If the Bills lose that battle they need to win this one. Greer or Watson will be left to cover Green who has flourished this year as the number 2 guy to Johnson. The Bills need to hold their own on this battle if they are going to win this game.
OL Ruben Brown vs. DT Warren Sapp: Sapp must be licking his chops as he gets set to go up against a very banged up Bills offensive line. Brown has been hampered by turf toe and will need to be on top of his game against Sapp. Johnson better get the ball off fast or he'll be in trouble.
WR Eric Moulds vs. DB Donnie Abraham: Abraham has developed into a big play corner this year and the Bills will need to be extra careful throwing to Moulds. If they try to force the ball to their best threat then Abraham might make them pay dearly.
LBs Sam Cowart and John Holecek vs. RB Warrick Dunn: With Alstott out, the spotlight goes to the former first round pick Dunn. The middle of the defense needs to shut him down so the secondary doesn't have to worry about play action fakes.
When The Bills Have The Ball: Since the running game is anemic look for the Bills to try to tackle the tough defense of Tampa Bay with the short passing game. Expect Johnson to take three step drops and hit his receivers 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage. This will help keep the fierce pass rush at bay with the offensive line banged up.
When The Bucs Have The Ball: With Alstott out it will hamper the Buccaneers running game since the only option is Warrick Dunn. They will try to establish some sort of ground game with Dunn but they will definitely try to attack the banged up secondary. Expect Shaun King to go deep to his talented receivers early and often.
Bills Daily Prediction
The Bills have the longest current winning streak in the NFL. This may be the one game they can afford to lose the rest of the way since it is an inter-conference game. The Buccaneers are playing for their lives like the Chiefs were last week. The Bills were able to take care of the Chiefs and I look for them to keep up the momentum and defeat the struggling Bucs: Buffalo 16, Tampa Bay 13
Season Prediction Record: (9-2)
Season Record Against The Spread: (5-6)
Game Analysis and Review - Coming Sunday Night Nov. 26th!
Positional Breakdown and Grades - Coming Sunday Night! Nov. 26th!
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