Free NFL Pick: Buffalo at Minnesota 12-05-2010

December 4, 2010

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Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings

Sunday December 5th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Minnesota -6

Overview:

The Bills watched as their third victory of the season literally slipped through their fingers in an overtime loss against Pittsburgh. The Bills are 4-2 since the bye week, losing three games in overtime and the other by only three points. While the Bills certainly aren’t among the elite in the NFL, it appears as though they can compete with the elite in the NFL.

The Vikings are in just as much disarray as the Bills are. After such a dominant season last year, they have failed to string together two wins this season. Leslie Frazier has taken the reigns at head coach and has seemingly fixed some of the problems in Minnesota, but will it be enough to scare off the Bills?

Keys to the Game:

  • Steve Johnson needs to shake it off. The Bills leading receiver this season was quoted as saying, “I will never get over this.” His passion is commendable. Most great players are their own biggest critics, but if he wants to help his team, he is going to need to move on from his dropped pass in the end zone for the game winning score. He is a big part of the reason why the Bills have turned it around since the bye week and will need to have a big game this week to put them in contention.
  • Whether or not Adrian Peterson plays has a huge impact in this game. Peterson is listed as questionable, but the Vikings say he will probably play (which is mind boggling as this would make him probable). The Vikings have struggled in the passing game all season and will need to return to their bread and butter, the run game, in order to compete against anyone in the league.
  • Brett Favre has only thrown more touchdowns than interceptions once this season. That is astounding and a huge reason why the Vikings are struggling. The Bills are porous on defense, but if I were the Vikings I would not look to Favre as a main source of production. Playing smart, effective football is the safest way to come away with a victory. Neither are obtainable when Favre has the ball in his hands.
  • The Bills make it difficult for teams to keep up with them. They have become one of the most dominating teams offensively in the league. Fred Jackson took it to the Steelers last week with 59 rushing yards, and a whopping 104 yards receiving. The Bills have a fast paced offense and if the Vikings fall behind, it will be difficult for them to make a recovery.

Key Matchup:

Ryan Fitzpatrick Vs. Jared Allen

  • In a 4-3, the defensive ends are responsible for keeping the quarterback within the confines of the pocket. Fitzpatrick is one of those quarterbacks who likes to move around, so allowing him to roam around and extend plays is going to allow for big plays down the field. Fitzgerald can also run the ball, so the Vikings need to stress contain.
  • Jared Allen has 6.5 sacks in his last four games. He may need to turn down the heat just a bit in order to account for Fitzpatrick’s athletic ability. Over pursuing is the last thing Allen wants to do. By being patient while still playing while continuing to pursue the quarterback, Fitzpatrick will at some point come to him.

Wrap Up:

The Bills look poised to take care of a flawed Vikings defense. Brett Favre will likely create mistakes that cost the Vikings and put them in an early hole. While the Vikings have Adrian Peterson and the Bills have the worst run defense in the league, this game looks like it could be a shootout. If the Bills lose, it won’t be by the given six point spread. This game could come down to a last minute field goal, should the Vikings remain competitive.

Free NFL Pick: Buffalo +6


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