By Jerrell Richardson
Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Head Coach: Chan Gailey
The Buffalo Bills have talent on both sides of the ball, but are very inconsistent, so at the end of the day they are just not a good football team. They raced out to a hot start in 2011, winning five out of their first seven games, but since then they have gone 3-10. Those three wins came against the Tim Tebow-led Broncos last year, and the less-than-formidable Chiefs and Browns this year. Buffalo will certainly have their hands full when they travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers Sunday. The Bills will need to play their best game of the year, and they will also need some luck if they hope to leave with a winning record.
The big news for the Bills in the off-season was the signing of Mario Williams. The defensive end has been one of the best at his position since he entered the league in 2006, but has yet to live up to the high expectations that come with signing the most lucrative deal for a defensive player in the history of the NFL (6 years, $100 million with $50 million guaranteed). It may be the lack of production from Super Mario, but the team has sputtered out the gate.
As a defensive unit, the Bills rank at the bottom of every major category and have allowed an average of 50 points in their two defeats. This was not the vision management had when it spent so much money on a defensive end, but Williams has recently admitted that he is playing with a injured wrist, limiting his production and impact. The bottom line though is that he was paid to play at a high level and he has not. The Bills need their superstar, and the 10 other guys on defense need to quickly figure out how to stop the bleeding.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Offensively the Bills are all over the place. Their quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has gained much attention for graduating from Harvard, but like the rest of the team, his play has been inconsistent. The Ivy League product is leading the NFL in touchdown passes (12), but his seven interceptions is also at the top of the league and trails only Tony Romo, who has eight. The team is 4th in the league on the ground, but that is not the way to have success against the 49ers, who are as stingy as any defense against the run. The Bills rushing attack is led by Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, but both are recovering from injuries and both had limited success last week against the Patriots. They have the weapons, but for some reason they have yet to put it all together.
San Francisco’s Game to Lose
The Buffalo Bills do not match up well against the 49ers. But then again, any team that has problems stopping the ball on defense and playing consistently on offense will struggle against a team as complete as San Francisco. However, the match-up resembles the 49ers letdown game against the Vikings, who also entered that game beat up and undermanned, but managed to decimate the 49ers. The problem for the Bills is that the 49ers got their wake-up call already. If San Francisco plays up to their ability, then the Bills will lose the game. Period.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.