So the Bills are coming off their bye week, and will do battle against the now-slumping Washington Redskins a
t home in Toronto. First off, I want to say, I fucking hate the Toronto series. The home-field advantage is gone, the crowds have been largely disinterested, and worst of all, Buffalo has yet to win one of these things in the regular season. This was born out of the Bills' front office apparent belief that it's easier to sell a crappy team to other markets to make the team a more "regional" team, than it is to build a contending team that people will want to pay good money to travel to Orchard Park to see. Unfortunately, with the agreement ending soon, it looks like it will be extended. Hooray! They won't even make the game at the right time (in the middle of winter, when no one in their right mind wants to sit in a wind chill of 0 degrees and watch a shitty team), and against the right opponent (I actually don't mind one of the NFC home games being the chosen game, but they have given up divisional home games twice so far). Fuck this series. The Bills were setting attendance records in the early 90's, and will still sell out if there is a glimmer of hope, or if the other team's fans travel well. Bills fans will sell out the stadium for almost anything, except a 3-11 team in mid-December.
Back to this weeks' game. The Redskins are now down their top running back and top wide receiver. The Bills will be missing Kyle Williams, who has done jack shit this season because of a foot injury that will likely keep him out the rest of the season. Here's a shock, the Bills placed Shawne Merriman on IR yesterday, right after Merriman was saying he expected to play this week. I guess the PEDs don't work as well as they used to.
This game scares me, if for no other reason than the Bills are the Bills, and could lose to anyone in the league at any time. The Bills have no pass rush, except for a little bit from the Legend Killer Arthur Moats and Marcell Dareus, who hasn't quite figured out how to tackle QBs yet. The secondary is terrible. The run defense will stuff three or four runs in a row, then give up a 20+ yarder. I don't know who will be starting at QB for the 'Skins, but I think I would prefer John Beck, as Good Rex would probably carve up the Bills' secondary, even missing his top receiver. On the other side of the ball, the Bills have no real deep threat, and as evidenced by the game against the Giants, Fitzpatrick's deep ball accuracy is... pretty damned shitty. When the ball goes beyond twenty yards in the air, it's a total crap shoot as to what's going to happen. If Buffalo's offensive game plan is anything other than a metric fuckton of The Underrated Fred Jackson, then someone needs to be looking for a new job Monday morning.
I honestly don't know much about the Redskins, and only have history to look back on, such as Super Bowl XXVI, and the game a few years ago right after Sean Taylor died, and Joe Gibbs helped make the game-winning field goal easier by getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct for calling two "icing the kicker" timeouts in a row (although to be fair, Rian Lindell did make the kick that would have counted has Gibbs not called the second timeout). On that note, are coaches still doing the "wait until right before the snap, then call a timeout" move on potential game winning/tying field goals that works maybe 5% of the time? I haven't noticed it this season, and I hope it's one of those trends that has died out.
I expect the Bills to come out fast. They NEED this game to keep some buzz about them, and keep pace in the playoff race. They've lost two-of-three since starting 3-0, with both games being very winnable. The Redskins are looking like they are on a downward slope. I think the Bills need to jump on Washington early, getting a score or two off turnovers. If they let the Redskins hang around, I have some faith in Fitzpatrick to lead a game-winning drive, but I have ZERO faith in the Bills' defense to prevent one.
I expect this game to be boring as shit, with a dead crowd, and crappy FOX commentating. Think of it as the NFL equivalent of a Divas match.