Week 2: Bills vs. Steelers
The Bills somehow try to rebound and get ready to play some football after a nightmarish opening day in which they lost in the final second and lost four players to injury including a severe spinal cord injury to Kevin Everett. It only gets tougher for the Bills as they head to Pittsburgh, a place that has always been a horror for them, for the Steelers home opener. Talk about your difficult assignments.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-1) vs. Pittsburgh (1-0)
||Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots
||Steelers by 10
||Steelers lead 12-9 (Steelers 2-1 in playoffs)
||Steelers Won 2
||Steelers 29-14 in Buffalo (2004)
||Rush (2nd); Pass (26th); overall (10th)
||Rush (t-1st); Pass (13th); overall (6th)
||Rush (13th); Pass (31st); overall (32nd)
||Rush (28th); Pass (30th); overall (31st)
The Bills are as banged up as they can be one week into the season. Coy Wire is out indefinitely with a sprained MCL. He will be replaced in the lineup by John DiGiorgio. Ko Simpson has been placed on IR after breaking his ankle against Denver. Jim Leonhard will start in his place. Jason Webster is out indefinitely and maybe for the season with a broken forearm suffered against Denver. Ashton Youboty will start for him. Of course everyone knows about the horrific Kevin Everett injury but he continues to make a remarkable recovery. The team started the season without Ryan Denney and Keith Ellison, they are both out with a broken foot and high ankle sprain respectively. Josh Reed and Marshawn Lynch missed practice on Wednesday but should play on Sunday.
The Steelers appear fairly healthy heading into their home opener. CB Deshea Townsend has a groin injury and missed practice on Wednesday but he's expected to play. LB Marquis Cooper missed last week's game with a hamstring injury and remains out of practice. Backup QB Brian St. Pierre has been hobbled by a toe injury.
Bills Daily Injury Page
Bills offensive line vs. Steelers front seven:
This is a bit of a general matchup but incredibly important. How the Bills handle the 3-4 defense will be huge in this game. If the Steelers get a fierce pass rush on J.P. Losman than the Bills are in trouble. Same if the make no holes for the running game.
C Matt Fowler vs. DT Casey Hampton:
Getting more specific, the key to the 3-4 defense is bottling up blockers in the middle of the line. Hampton is an ideal 3-4 nose tackle who has two Pro Bowls to his credit. Fowler will have to try to keep him from tying up the guards.
CB Ashton Youboty vs. WR Santonio Holmes:
This will be an interesting battle of two second year players from Ohio State. These players know each other very well from going against each other during practice in Columbus. Holmes is a bit more polished than Youboty since he played all last year. He is coming into his own while Youboty must get his feet wet real quickly now that he is the starter.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Deshea Townsend:
Evans will be looking for a big game after getting shutdown by Denver last week. He goes up against a solid veteran in Townsend who is a bit hobbled but should be ready to go. Evans needs a big game as the offense has to produce to give the team a chance.
RDE Aaron Schobel vs. LT Marvel Smith:
Schobel needs to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger for the defense to have any chance of success. Smith is an eight year veteran who has been a fixture at left tackle for Pittsburgh making this a big battle.
LB Paul Posluszny vs. RB Willie Parker:
Posluszny needs to continue his development and try to keep Parker from running wild. It will be nice to contain him to 100 yards since shutting any good back down is not an option for this defense.
When The Bills Have The Ball: They will have to do what they can to combat a 3-4 defense, this is something they haven't seen yet in the preseason or regular season. It will be interesting to see how the new look offensive line will handle it. It will also be interesting to see how J.P. Losman deals with the zone blitz schemes that Dick LaBeau will have for him. They need to try to run the ball to keep the blitzes at bay.
When The Steelers Have The Ball: They can pick their spots against a depleted Bills defense. Look for the Steelers to pound the ball with Parker and then when they feel like it they should have no problem attacking the Bills through the air as well.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
Conventional wisdom says the Bills have no shot here. They are incredibly banged up, the Steelers are hot and will be fired up for the home crowd, the Bills always struggle in Pittsburgh. The key will be how they bounce back from last Sunday's events. Will they rally around their fallen comrade? Will they use his miraculous recovery as motivation? I think they will hang around just out of sheer will but in the end the Steelers will pull away as will and desire won't overcome poor talent, especially on the depleted defensive corps:
Steelers 33, Bills 17
Season Prediction Record: (0-1)
Season Record Against The Spread: (1-0)
Complete Gameday Review - Coming Monday Evening!
Gameday Grades - Coming Monday Evening!