The New York Giants are 1-2 but could easily be 3-0. They face the 2-1 Bills (who definitely deserve to be 2-1) in week 4. Here is everything you need to know...
What The Bills Will Do...
Run The Ball
Bills rookie Karlos Williams will likely get the start and the workload against the Giants. He's a very different player than the injured LeSean McCoy, and this may adjust some elements of the Bills gameplan. But Bills OC Greg Roman has had success in the past with similar skillsets to Taylor and Williams with Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore while a member of the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff, and I expect see gameplan like what he ran on the 49ers as a result. You can expect the Bills running game to still find some success this Sunday between the tackles, but keep in mind the Giants know this is coming. It helps that former 49er and current Instagram afficionado/Bills RB Anthony Dixon is healthy and in the mix. It doesn't help that John Miller has a groin injury.
Take Extra Shots Downfield
With the Giants likely focused on the run, the Bills will strike early with some deep shots downfield. I'm actually convinced we'll see this in the first quarter. With injuries to their top RB and starting left guard, this might just be the week Tyrod Taylor gets to open up the engine. Expect the Bills to utilize every player they have on the field to keep the Giants guessing and open running lanes up for Karlos Williams. That means the Bills will try to spread the ball around early to take some shots downfield to Percy Harvin and create mismatches with Charles Clay.
Attack Eli Manning
The Buffalo Bills have the #1 rushing defense in the NFL, and the Giants are struggling on the ground. The Buffalo Bills, their coaches, and every fan at Ralph Wilson Stadium knows that the last, best hope the Giants have is Eli Manning. Eli is playing very smart football. No turnovers, and a lot of throws to Odell Beckham Jr.. Eli will likely still be missing Victor Cruz who would obviously add an additional dimension to this passing game. Expect the Bills defense to hit Eli early and often.
What The Giants Will Do...
Tom Coughlin is the coach of the New York Giants. He is one of the best NFL coaches of the last two decades. Remember, this is the guy who took the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Championship. His teams have gone 2-0 over Bill Belichick and the Patriots in the Super Bowl. He's going to have a very strong game plan against Buffalo. He should, because his team has had three extra days to prepare against them. His team is finally healthy for the first time this season. This is going to be a very difficult game for the Buffalo Bills, even at home. Here is what the Giants will do...
Stuff The Run
The Giants haven't had much of a pass rush so far in 2015, so expect them to to focus on the run. Bills guard John Miller has an injury to his groin, and starting RB LeSean McCoy is not expected to play. That's two big losses to the Bills running game. The Bills will still have brusing rookie RB Karlos Williams but he's so far been more of a between the tackles type of runner. He'll get his carries, and will move the chains, but the Giants will make stopping the run their priority to make the Bills compete with their passing game.
Keep Tyrod Taylor In The Pocket
This may or may not work, but it is what the Giants have to do. The Bills are likely without two of their main targets on offense, with LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins dealing with early season injuries. Let me explain this another way: The Bills won't have their top WR or their top RB. This is a huge blow to Buffalo and everyone knows it. Tyrod Taylor is still dangerous because of his mobility, and has other receiving options in Percy Harvin, Robert Woods, Charles Clay, and Chris Hogan. Now despite what some may suspect, Taylor's main weapon is his arm. He is accurate, can make long throws, and has the legs to buy his wide receivers time to get open.
Give The Ball To Eli (Who Will Then Give The Ball To Beckham And Vereen)
The Buffalo Bills have the #1 Rushing Defense in the NFL, and the Giants run game is struggling: 280 yards and a 3.6 yards per carry average through 3 games (compared to the Bills 458, 4.7 yards per carry). Other Teams have however had success against Buffalo through the air. I expect the Giants to do their best to limit Buffalo on the ground and force a shootout between Eli Manning and Tyrod Taylor. Don't be surprised to hear Rueben Randle's name a few times this Sunday.
Some Facts To Make You Look Smart During The Game:
- Unless he channels his inner Kevin Kolb and gets injured walking out of the tunnel on Sunday, Eli Manning will pass Joe Montana early in this game for 13th most yards passing of all time. He already has 40,519 passing yards. That's a big deal.
- El Manning has not thrown an interception this season, and the Giants have only one turnover this year. That includes playing against the Dallas Cowboys defense.
- Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was a Ravens assistant coach for two years, and is familiar with Tyrod Taylor's athleticism and on field decision making. Tyrod Taylor as a result is likely familiar with Spagnuolo's playcalling tendencies.
- Coming into this game, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor has the 4th highest completion percentage at 74.4, and has a 116.1 passer rating. He is averaging 9.1 yards per pass, which is 3rd highest in the NFL. He's pretty good.
- Bills free safety Aaron Williams might play this Sunday, which would be good news for the Buffalo Bills. If not, Bacarri Rambo will get the start.
- The Buffalo Bills are actually the only NFL team in New York State. Both the NY Giants and the NY Jets play their home games in the state of New Jersey.
I think the Giants will eventually be able to force the Bills into a shootout, pitting their Pro Bowl appearing Super Bowl winning QB against the Bills unproven former 4 year backup. Eli Manning will continue to play well against the Bills defense, and Shane Vereen will drive Rex Ryan bonkers when Odell Beckham isn't streaking down the sideline. That said, I think this is the game where Tyrod Taylor emerges from a middle of the pack guy off to a "hot start" and into a widely recognized "Top Ten QB in the NFL" status. I think he's that good.
The Giants offense is mostly healthy, and their defense is stronger than advertised, but the Bills are just better.
Bills 32, Giants 26