Welcome back Buffalo Authority Faithful! Firstly I would like to take the time to thank all those who read my first post last week. It was a joy to do. Keep commenting and follow me on twitter; @bblehar, lets converse and share our love for both the game of football and our love for that charming little team out of Western New York. I’ll be at the game this weekend too! Looking forward to tailgating with 70,000 of my favorite people in Orchard Park.
Speaking of this weekend, we’ve got a big game on our hands against an imposing foe in the Oakland Raiders. If you’re a schedule ‘looker aheader’ (That’s an official scientific term there) like me, you’ll probably agree and say this is the most important game within the next month. If the Bills can pull out a victory this upcoming Sunday we start getting into the realm of “should” wins the next couple of weeks. Should wins.. I hate that phrase because of course any given Sunday anything can happen, however, if you ‘billieve’ the Bills can make a playoff run this year and end that ever impressive drought, the next couple of weeks should be wins..If you like to take it one game at a time, shield your eyes now. After the Raiders Buffalo has @NYJ, HOME for the Saints, then @LA Chargers. If they beat the Raiders Sunday, the Bills put themselves in prime position for a string of manageable wins. The key word in that last sentence is obviously ‘if.’ Speaking of keys I’d say it’s about time to dive into the “Keys to the Game”
Disrupt that Oakland Offense Early
This one is obvious but needs to be said. Buffalo could play Oakland ten times in a row and they’re going to win zero of those games if it becomes a shootout. I don’t see any way they keep up with the Oakland offense if the black and silver have a game like they did against Kansas City on last weeks’ Thursday night game. The Bills secondary again have their hands full with an above average receiving corp. I don’t want to consider last week’s matchup against Tampa Bay a complete success but it was obviously a passing grade as they got the ever important win. Want a key to victory? Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree need to be contained. Of the teams the Bills have played so far, these two are the most threatening. Crabtree’s redzone/goal line presence can be argued as the best in the league among receivers. Cooper’s deep threat too can be argued as one of the best in the league. It’s fitting this is ‘halloweekend’ because these two should scare any Bills fans. Stop these two, please.
No Homecoming for Marshawn
Poor Lynch, making his long awaited return to Buffalo only to have it taken away from him with a suspension. Listen, I’m for sure a Marshawn guy; I think he’s great. However, you can’t put your hands on a referee…what a knucklehead move. Marshawn will be back next week and though he hasn’t had a historically good start to the season, not seeing him on the other side of the ball bodes well for this Buffalo defense. The key for the Bills with the Oakland running game is make sure this ‘running back by committee’ never gets into any sort of rhythm. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Williams need to feel the presence of the Bills’ front four on every play. Make them welcome their time on the sideline with open arms between reps with their counterpart.
This is YOUR house
The Bills are undefeated at home thus far. Coach McDemott was quoted as saying playing here is like heaven. I’ll agree with him on that one. Nothing beats the atmosphere of The Ralph (I know it’s New Era Field, but it’s still the Ralph to me dammit.) Keep that home momentum going into this week. If you’re going to this game, make some noise! The team feeds off the crowds energy and makes it difficult for any opponent to get things going. So long as the defense can make some stands early and keep this one close, the crowd will play a factor the entire game. The Raiders haven’t had the best record on the east coast either. Going from coast to coast is a tough situation, especially traveling from west to east. This game will feel like a 10am game for them due to those crazy time zones. Take advantage of that and bring the intensity to them early and often. The key to the game here is keep it close. Easier said than done? Sure…but if you want that home crowd rockin’, you cannot allow the Raiders to jump out to a multi-score lead.
What do you think Bills fans? How are you feeling regarding Buffalo’s chances this weekend? Are Raiders better than their 3-4 record suggests? Comment below and of course, go Bills.