Free NFL Pick: Detroit at Buffalo 11-14-2010

November 10, 2010


Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills

Sunday November 14th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Buffalo -3


At 0-7, the Buffalo Bills have a lot to be down on themselves about. The roster lacks talent in a lot of key areas and fans are certainly growing uneasy. After losing their last three games by three points a piece, it seems like a victory is inevitable. Despite being winless, the Bills are favored in their upcoming matchup against the 2-6 Detroit Lions. The Lions suffered a tough loss last week, virtually giving the game away to the New York Jets last week. It will be interesting to see how the Lions respond to the tough loss. Both teams have found a way to lose tight games when victory is all but forcing itself onto them. This is certainly not a clash of the titans, but it is intriguing nonetheless.

Keys to the Game:

  • Matthew Stafford is out (again). Lions fans all over the world have become all too familiar with Stafford’s lingering shoulder injury. While some may say they forced him back into the lineup too early, the hit that knocked Stafford out of the game had injury written all over it. Even if the Lions would have held him out an extra week, the defender had all of his body weight landing squarely upon Stafford’s shoulder. The injury was unavoidable. If Shaun Hill is able to play on Sunday, he should get the start. If not, it will be up to Drew Stanton to lead the Lions. Stafford’s injury is unfortunate. If he would have stayed in the game, it appears the Lions would have been able to obtain a key victory over the Jets.
  • Steve Johnson is the one player on the Bills that poses a threat to the Lions. Johnson posted 158 yards against the Baltimore Ravens and 145 yards against the Bears last week. The Lions can’t allow Johnson to get loose. He has the potential to take over a game by himself and if Ryan Fitzpatrick can create time with his feet, Johnson has lethal moves that allow him to create space down the field. Johnson is only 24 and looks like he will have a promising future in the NFL. Roscoe Parrish was put on the IR after breaking his wrist last week, but I don’t see that having a direct impact on Johnson’s production.
  • The Bills are the worst team defensively against the run, which will not bode well for them this week. Rookie Jahvid Best has struggled in comparison to his explosion onto the NFL scene in the first two weeks. While a 100 yard game has escaped him thus far in his brief NFL career, this could be the week that Best has a huge statistical run game. Best can run with anyone in the NFL and the Bills lack speed on defense. They can attempt to contain Best, but they have suffered serious problems all year long. The Lions should be able to gash the Bills and Best will need to have a big game in the absence of his starting quarterback.
  • CJ Spiller hasn’t been fed more than seven carries a game. What gives? The Bills selected him with their first round pick because they valued his play making ability. He plays a key role on special teams, but Spiller could easily be the most talented player on the Bills roster. They haven’t won a game and Fred Jackson isn’t having a spectacular year, so why not give Spiller more touches. Spiller was my pick for offensive rookie of the year. While that award may be unobtainable for him at this point, the Bills are not showing they have any confidence in him at all. This might be a dead season, but the Bills have a dynamic asset on their hands and nothing to lose. He needs to get at least 15 touches a game and this is the perfect week to up his carries, despite his struggles.
  • Ndamukong Suh is one of the most exciting players to watch in the NFL. In his rookie campaign, Suh has posted 6.5 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Suh has a rare combination of raw power, size, and athleticism that makes him impossible to block. The former Heisman finalist might go down as the worst field goal kicker in NFL history, but he can take over an entire game at the defensive tackle position. It is astounding what he has been able to accomplish. The Lions already have an offense that can compete. A few more pieces on defense to surround Suh and the Lions could make noise in the NFC North.
  • Calvin Johnson isn’t going to be on Revis island this week. Johnson will likely pick up right where he left off and have another monster game. While Johnson does not have Stafford throwing him the ball, he has been successful regardless of who is throwing him the ball. The Bills like to give Jairus Byrd the freedom to roam around and make plays all over the field, but Johnson is going to command his attention the entire game. The Bills are already terrible against the run. Overcompensating for the run is unlikely to make a huge difference and is going to allow Johnson to break loose. The Bills need to at least try to contain Johnson, or they will watch him post a 150 yard game.

Wrap Up:

The Bills are not going to go 0-16. They are bound to put it together at some point this season, but I don’t see it happening this week. The Lions might have some glaring holes on their roster, but they are also have players that can absolutely dominate. The Bills have remained competitive, but these tight losses have to be waring on team morale. Bad teams find a way to lose and for the 8th straight week this season, you can expect to see an L in the Bills win column.

Free NFL Pick: Detroit Lions +3

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