San Francisco Game Made for Bills

<B>Where to begin…: </B> <P> This game is simply a stepping stone to what has now become possibly the most anticipated game of the season.

The Niners have no chance in this game. This game rounds out a string of games against which the Bills' "turnaround" has been built. Including the Niners there is not a team currently above .500 in the batch. The composite record of all six teams is 27-57. (.321) All six teams are among the bottom 14 teams in scoring defense with the Niners being ranked below any of them at 31st. Only Oakland is worse.

Defense:

Rush D: Bills 4th, Niners 13th
Pass D: Bills 3rd, Niners 18th
Yardage D: Bills 3rd, Niners 16th
Scoring D: Bills 7th, Niners 31st

Offense:

Rush O: Bills 18th, Niners 30th
Pass O: Bills 26th, Niners 19th
Yardage O: Bills 26th, Niners 24th
Scoring O: Bills 8th, Niners 29th

Key Players and Matchups:

Humpty vs. himself:

Even Humpty can't screw this game up. Humpty can have a 4 INT day in this game and the Bills would still likely win. He shouldn't however. There is no reason to anticipate such a performance vs. such a team. Expect the Bills to run effectively in this game with the speedy Shaud Williams likely getting more time. Williams' strengths play to the Niner defense more in the Bills' favor than McGahee's do. Joe Burns would likely get more work as well if Willis McGahee is not ready to go which fans should expect. Therefore Humpty should have a relatively easy time with the Niners focused on stopping the run such that he should not have a poor game. The secondary of the Niners is certainly not its strength with the injuries it has sustained.

Eric Johnson vs. the Bills Linebackers and Safeties:

If there is a player for the Bills to double team while on defense, oddly enough it would be Eric Johnson. Even if left single covered, it likely would not make a large difference in the bottom line of this game however.

Niners DL vs. the Bills OL:

As well, if there is a defensive strength of this Niners team, then the line is it. It may cause occasional hiccups vs. a below average Bills offensive line. It should generate few sustainable issues for the Bills however due to the inability of the Niner O to be able to capitalize on any of them with any regularity whatsoever.

Ken Dorsey vs. the Bills Front-7:

This matchup has "catastrophe" written all over it! The Bills will blitz as they have and the Niners will not have the tools to counter in any way, shape, or form. This could easily be the game for the Bills that is closest to the Cleveland game all things considered.

Injuries:

The Niners enter this game with a host of key injuries sustained throughout the season. Their starting QB, premier LB, premier CBs, top center among others have turned a young team with promise into a despairing team likely eagerly awaiting the end of the season so as to end what has now turned into a 17-week long nightmare.

The Bills should be without any key starters other than TE Mark Campbell and likely Willis McGahee.

Summary:

The Niners have beaten only one team, twice, for their two victories. That team would be Arizona. The results, 31-28 both times. Some "less than superb" teams which have beaten the Niners with relative ease are the Redskins, St. Louis (twice), Miami, Carolina, Seattle (twice), Chicago, and New Orleans. Those teams averaged over 32 points in their games with the Niners. The Bills have beaten three of those teams handily.

Many of these teams have beaten the Niners the exact same way that the Bills have beaten most of their opponents making this a turkey shoot of sorts for the Bills. While I maintain concerns about the Bills capabilities in beating above average and particularly playoff capable opponents, the Niners are clearly on the opposite end of the spectrum here.

The single biggest issue with the Niners is not their defense, it is their offense. The Niners' offense may be the worst in the league overall. It is so weak that it's ineffectiveness usually allows opponents to establish outstanding field position off of turnovers and pinning them deep within their own territory or resulting in drives beginning at or near midfield following punts.

This is exactly the same way that the Bills have made their largest scoring impact in games won making this the ideal matchup for these Bills. Throw in superlative special teams and this game is a recipe for disaster for San Francisco. I dare say that it will be odd indeed if there are more than three or four drives for the Bills which begin much within their own 40-yard line or so throughout this game.

Additionally, the Niners are the 3rd most sacked team in the league, so expect the defense to amass a significant number of sacks in this game. As well, the Bills are +7 in turnover ratio while the Niners are a league second-to-last –17.

Bottom line:

It would take the next thing below an act-of-God for the Niners to win this game. The Bills are the largest favorites of the week this week at 11 ½ and matchup extremely well in this one. They should easily cover this game. This game should also be over well before the half. The likely absence of McGahee should not impact this game at all. Shaud Williams has run as well or better than McGahee in the two games he has played in. Joe Burns should have no difficulty in relief either.

Most of the Niners star players are out for the season at this point. Among them are QB Tim Rattay, DE Andre Carter, C Jeremy Newberry, LB Julian Peterson, and CBs Ahmed Plummer and Mike Rumph.

The more interesting game for Bills fans may very well be the Ravens-Steelers game. If the Patriots beat the Jets in NY this week, and if the Ravens can beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh this week vs. a Steelers team with some injuries, then the Steelers-Bills game next week would take on monumental proportions for the Bills as well as for the Steelers as they would be likely be playing for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

That would then be a good game serving as an accurate gauge as to how much this Bills team has truly improved and how good it really is. If the Steelers beat the Ravens this week however, then there would be nothing at stake for them as they will have wrapped up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over Baltimore. Whether the Steelers are fighting for homefield advantage or not, following a win in San Francisco, the Bills will be shooting for their first double-digit winning season since 1999.

Prediction:

Bills 45, Niners 3.

This should be a horrendously boring game to watch except for those who enjoy a good jack-slapping of someone who's already punch drunk. "He's dead Jim" figures to be uttered sometime early or mid-2nd quarter.

Merry Christmas!!!

Comments: mweiler.billsreport@cox.net


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