As of right now, our weekly preview has gone 4-0. We have successfully called the wins over Green Bay and both New York teams. We also successfully predicted a loss to the Carolina Panthers. This week we take a look at the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are an intriguing team as they are playing well defensively, but they are also playing poorly offensively. They are a talented team all around and should be a good match up for the Detroit Lions this week. I expect the home crowd to play a role in this game as Detroit’s defense will need them and likely be motivated by them early. Buffalo is starting a new quarterback this week, sending out veteran Kyle Orton in place of second year pro EJ Manuel.
- Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. Buffalo Bills Defensive Line – The Detroit Lions offensive line has allowed 11 sacks in 4 games so far. They have also been without their two best right tackles for most of the season. The Bills defensive line has combined for 7.5 sacks this season. Kyle Williams may be out for the Bills with an injury but we will not know for sure until Friday. The loss of Kyle Williams though will not impact that defensive line as much as the loss of LaAdrian Waddle has impacted the Lions offensive line. With Waddle expected to return this week for the Lions, they get some much needed help on the right side of the line. I do not know if it will be enough though to shut down that defensive line of the Bills. Edge Bills
- Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. Buffalo Bills Linebackers – The Bills have a solid core of linebackers in Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers, and Nigel Bradham. Preston Brown has also been productive leading the team in tackles with 40. Their coverage skills will be on display this week though with the Detroit Lions running game faltering as it has recently. Last week Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron got involved in the passing game, but not as much as expected with the injury to Joseph Fauria. If the Bills play a lot of nickel as I expect them to so that they can double team Calvin Johnson, that could limit them to two linebacker for most of the game. Either way, I expect the Bills defense to stand tall against the Detroit tight ends. Edge Bills
- Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. Buffalo Bills Secondary – The Bills have a quality set of defensive backs. Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore were high draft picks at the corner position and will be tasked with slowing down Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Add to that that their safeties are a different group from last year having lost Jarius Byrd in free agency. They have Aaron Williams and Da’Norris Searcy now covering the deep ball. Corey Graham has also played well with 1 interception and a team leading 7 passes defended. Even with that being said, if Calvin Johnson is healthy enough to be productive this week, expect him and Tate to be too much to handle for the Bills. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Buffalo Bills Run Defense – The Detroit Lions are likely to be without Joique Bell due to a concussion. He has not cleared concussion protocol as of the time this was written. Joe Lombardi informed the media that if Bell misses time due to this concussion, he will likely give George Winn some carries. Reggie Bush will still be the featured back though and is expected to get the majority of the carries. With Bell, Detroit is averaging 87.3 yards on the ground per game as a team. Buffalo’s defense is averaging 71.5 yards allowed per game rushing. This looks like it will be another poor performance from Detroit’s running game. Edge Bills
- Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Buffalo Bills Pass Defense – This will come down to whether or not Matthew Stafford can reduce turnovers. Buffalo has 5 interceptions on the season. If Stafford does not make mistakes, the Lions might be able to maintain possession long enough to win the football game. Buffalo is averaging 266.3 yards per game allowed passing and Detroit is averaging 276.0 yards per game passing. This is a close one to call but I have to give the edge to Detroit. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Buffalo Bills Offensive Line – Buffalo’s offensive line has allowed 6 sacks this season. Detroit’s defensive line is nasty when it comes to the pass rush. I expect Teryl Austin to go after Buffalo quarterback Kyle Orton both with blitzes and stunts. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. Buffalo Bills Tight Ends – Scott Chandler is quietly having a decent season especially considering Buffalo’s rough quarterback play. I expect the change to Kyle Orton to increase Chandler’s targets. Tight ends have done well this season against the Detroit linebackers. While Tahir Whitehead played well in place if Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre has quietly played at a level that got him the defensive player of the month award, I cannot help but think Chandler will get about 50-80 yards. I think Detroit keeps him out of the end zone though and that is why I give the edge to Detroit. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Buffalo Bills Wide Receivers – This is the game changing match up right here. Sammy Watkins is a good young receiver. Jim Caldwell even called him excellent. With that being said, I cant help but think the Lions have been game planning shutting him down without using double coverage. Robert Woods and Mike Williams are solid compliments, but going three wide against Detroit will only help the Lions pass defense. By forcing them into nickel coverage, the Lions will have their top three safeties on the field at the same time. That worked well against the Jets. If for some reason they play Don Carey over Isa Adbul-Quddus, then we will be looking at the same type of coverages that shut down Aaron Rodgers two weeks ago. Either way, I feel that the edge here is Detroit’s to lose. Oh and one more statistic, Buffalo is averaging 198.5 yards per game passing. Detroit is allowing an average of 186.5 yards per game. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Buffalo Bills Running Backs – Buffalo has a pretty good rushing attack. Fred Jackson was their lead running back for years, but now CJ Spiller is carrying the load with Jackson getting the remaining carries. Jackson, though, has had a good year catching the ball so far which will be an advantage for them against Detroit. Detroit’s run defense has been surprisingly good although they had a few issues stopping the Jets last week. I expect those issues to get fixed, but I also expect Buffalo to have a good game running the football. Defensively, Detroit is allowing 80.8 yards per game rushing and Buffalo is getting 122.3 yards per game rushing. Edge Bills
- Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Buffalo Bills Quarterbacks – This is the unpredictable match up right here. All of the above statistics were done with EJ Manuel as the Bills quarterback. This week they start Kyle Orton. Orton may be rusty which would benefit Detroit, but Orton also has a 4-0 record against the Lions dating back to his years in Chicago. If Orton plays like he did when he was in Chicago, Detroit will have problems. I do not think that will be the case here though. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Return Team vs. Buffalo Bills Cover Team – Buffalo has shut down punt returners all season. Kick returns seem to be hit or miss for them. Some games they limited teams to 20 yards per return or less. Other games they allowed big returns. I would love to day that Jeremy Ross will have a big game but I simply have no proof that will happen. Edge Buffalo
- Detroit Lions Cover Team vs. Buffalo Bills Return Team – The Bills have the best kick return game that the Lions have seen yet this season. CJ Spiller has been dynamic. Sam Martin can nullify him though with good kick placement and touch backs. Jason Hanson was recently at practice giving Martin pointers on kick-offs. I have to expect that Caldwell is game planning to slow down the Buffalo kick return game. Buffalo’s punt return game is not very dangerous averaging a mere 6.8 yards per return. Edge Lions
Lions 7 Bills 5
This game is tough to call. In one aspect, I can see Detroit having a good game against Buffalo. They destroyed the Bills in the preseason. Preseason does not mean much though. Stafford needs to play mistake free and the NFL’s number one defense needs to play well at home for Detroit to win this game. Every possible scenario I can imagine has this being a close game with defense being the theme all day. The numbers say that Detroit has the advantage, although it was very close in a few areas.
Detroit Lions 24 Buffalo Bills 13