The Ralph will be Rockin’. Isn’t it nice to know that there will be some genuine passion and atmosphere coming into a game in Orchard Park on Sunday? It’s not based on the opponent (Patriots, Jets Cowboys etc) or based on the time of the start (Monday Night Football) it’s based on the home team and the fact that they started the year by exceeding the small expectations coming into the opener. The unbeaten Bills (I am going to say that for as long as I can) taking on the unbeaten Raiders and the sold out crowd can’t wait.
The win in Kansas City did a lot for this young Bills team including slightly giving them some national attention and greatly increasing their confidence level. But I think it also raised the pressure meter on this team to perform. The chewing up of the Chiefs has put the Bills in a position where the fans and the media now EXPECT them to win on Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Chan Gailey and company better be ready for the backlash if they fail to produce this week. They have a huge advantage from the schedule makers who have sent the Raiders east for a 1pm start after a short week because of their first game in Denver. These are the games you have to take advantage of because the schedule turns on this team in mid season.
There is an old saying in the NFL that “defense travels” The Raiders can play some defense. They are a physical team that believes they can punish their opponents. They can also run the ball as well as any team in football. If they come out Sunday and grab the lead, they will try to pound the ball down the Bills throats and let the man to man coverage on the Bills wide receivers shut down the offense..
Of course this is a different Bills team in 2011. On defense they not only feel like they can stop the run, guys like Marcel Dareus outwardly dare opponents to try to run on them. Good. I like the confidence. Offensively I think the Bills will do a good job of showing balance, running Fred Jackson enough to put Fitzpatrick in good throwing situations. I sense a lot of Raiders coverage geared towards Johnson, so I am looking for Roscoe Parrish to make a few big plays in the middle of the field.
Last week I picked the Bills to win 23-20 and they decided to blow the Chiefs out instead. But I will take the victory. Prediction for this week. I think the Bills will handle the pressure and stay "unbeaten"
Mike’s season record 1-0