Week 1: Bills vs. Bears
Another NFL season gets underway and the Bills start in a very tough place to play as they travel to Chicago for an inter-conference game against the Bears. Chicago is considered a challenger for the NFC North division title while the Bills are trying to wash away memories of an awful preseason that saw EJ Manuel struggle mightily at quarterback.
Sunday, Sept. 8th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-0) vs. Chicago (0-0)
||Network: FOX; DirecTV: 708; Sirius: 113
||Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa
||Bears by 7
||Bears lead 7-4
||Bears Won 2
||Bears 22-19 in Buffalo (2010)
|Bears Offense (2013):
||Rush (16th); Pass (5th); overall (8th)
|Bears Defense (2013):
||Rush (32nd); Pass (15th); overall (30th)
|Bills Offense (2013):
||Rush (2nd); Pass (28th); overall (19th)
|Bills Defense (2013):
||Rush (28th); Pass (4th); overall (10th)
The Bills are expected to have Sammy Watkins in the lineup after injuring his ribs twice in the preseason. They could be without Lee Smith who has been sidelined with a toe injury. Randell Johnson could be ready after battling back from an ankle problem. Stephon Gilmore has a groin issue but is expected to play
The Bears are pretty healthy as well with their main injury being to safety Chris Conte who has a concussion and has been limited in practice.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Brandon Marshall:
There is some concern with Gilmore after struggling through nagging injuries and covering receivers in the preseason. His first real test of the season is a big one as Marshall is one of the better receivers in the league.
WR Sammy Watkins vs. CB Tim Jennings:
All eyes will be on the NFL debut of the 4th overall pick in the draft. Watkins goes up against the veteran pro bowler Jennings when he lines up on the right side but look for him to move around a lot.
DE Mario Williams vs. RT Jordan Mills:
The second year pro Mills started all 16 games as a rookie and goes up against one of the premier pass rushers in the league as Williams looks for another double digit sack season.
LB Brandon Spikes vs. RB Matt Forte:
Spikes was brought in to stop the run and gets a tough first test against one of the best running backs in the league in Forte.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Get The Ball To The Playmakers: The offense struggled mightily in the preseason so it is very important they move the ball early to gain confidence. To do that they need to get the ball into the hands of their most explosive players which are Watkins and C.J. Spiller.
2. Red Zone Efficiency: They couldn't get the ball into the end zone very much during the preseason and that needs to stop now if they can even think of pulling off the upset. Mike Williams is the guy to watch in the end zone with his incredible leaping ability.
3. Pressure Cutler: They need to get pressure on Jay Cutler to give the cornerbacks a chance against the talented WR duo of Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Bills actually may match up well with the Bears. It could be one of the weaker defenses they face which could allow the offense to get going but Chicago's offense will be tough to contain even for the Bills solid defense. Being on the road, in rowdy Chicago, to open the season is a tall order that the young Bills aren't ready for:
Bears 27, Bills 13
Season Prediction Record: (0-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (0-0)