Free NFL Pick: Chicago at Buffalo 11-07-2010

November 4, 2010


Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills

Sunday November 7th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Chicago -3


The Buffalo Bills remain the only team without a win, but they are making their presence exceedingly felt as the season progresses. In the Beginning of the season, the Bills were a doormat, losing by at least eight in four of their first five games, with the exception being their five point losing effort in their home opener against Miami. After the Bye week, the Bills seemed to have new life breathed into them, remaining winless, but taking the Ravens and Chiefs to overtime on the road. The Bears come stumbling into this game at 4-3. While they began the season red hot, Chicago has lost three of their last four games, winning against only the lowly Carolina Panthers. They had a bye week to regather themselves. Let’s see if it pays off.

Keys to the Game:

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for 12 touchdowns and five interceptions this season. While he struggled a bit last week against the Chiefs, Fitzpatrick remains a bright spot on his offense. He is a mobile quarterback, which comes in handy when protection is lacking. We can’t call him a winner yet because, well he hasn’t won anything yet. Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick has the qualities of a winner. He put his team in a position to win two consecutive weeks, despite being outmatched in a hostile environment. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his level of play throughout the season. If he can, the Bills might want to address other need positions before bailing on their quarterback situation.
  • Matt Forte has been unacceptable, to say the least. He looked as though he might make a comeback, after putting up 166 yards against the Panthers, but it proved to be an aberration. While Forte has all the tools to be successful, he has struggled this season, While he has shown flashes of brilliance in both catching the ball out of the backfield and running the ball, he has been inconsistent at both. If there is a week he can get back on track, it is this one. The Bills just so happen to allow 188 yards per game on the ground. Forte needs to capitalize on this opportunity.
  • Jay Cutler is going to have a much bigger task. While Cutler came out in the Mike Martz offense looking like Kurt Warner in his St. Louis days, he has regressed into resembling J.T. O’Sullivan in his San Francisco days. Teams were backing off of Cutler until the Giants completely obliterated them with only four pass rushers. The Bears allow a league worst 31 sacks, eight worse than the next worst team in pass protection, the Washington Redskins. The Bills don’t have the pass rushers to really disrupt Cutler’s rhythm, so they will need to create blitz packages and send the heat. Cutler holds onto the ball all day long and the offensive line gives him little time to throw. The Bills have a solid pass defense, so they have their work cut out for them when it comes to getting to the quarterback.
  • Steve Johnson is a big part of the Bills recent “success”. He is the number two receiver on the team, but he is playing like the number one guy in Buffalo. Lee Evans is a talented receiver, but over the last five games, Johnson has hauled in at least one touchdown. The Bills are showing up on the offensive side of the ball and Fitzpatrick’s comfort level with Johnson is a big reason why. If Johnson can continue to perform the way he has, teams will be less prone to focusing solely on shutting down Lee Evans. While Evans might not be Larry Fitzgerald, he still commands the respect of the defense, because he is the Larry Fitzgerald of the Buffalo Bills. Steve Johnson is now the compliment to Evans and leads the team in receiving. The Bears can’t forget about Johnson, as he is on a touchdown streak that is showing no signs of slowing down in the near future.

Wrap Up:

Buffalo is going to win this game outright. They have been flirting with victory since the bye week hit. It is now their time to shine and what better team to face than the Bears, who are in shambles. The Bears are a team with a winning record that everyone in the NFL would love to see on their schedule right now. The Bills don’t have a win, but nobody wants a piece of them at the moment. The Bills are going to scrap their way to a victory, the points are just icing on the cake.

Free NFL Pick: Buffalo +3

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