Free NFL Picks: Buffalo at Baltimore 10-24-2010

October 21, 2010

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Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday October 24th, 2010

Line: Baltimore -14

Overview:

The 0-5 Buffalo Bills seem to get worse every week. They began their season with a close loss to the Miami Dolphins. Since then, the Bills have benched and released Trent Edwards, released Marshawn Lynch, and have yet to utilize C.J. Spiller’s talents. The entire franchise is in disarray. To make matters worse, they have to go into Baltimore, where the 4-2 Ravens will be waiting after suffering a brutal overtime loss. If you take a look at Baltimore’s schedule, you might be impressed that they were able to salvage four wins. Fortunately for the Ravens, they square off against the Bills and then get a bye week. The Ravens will look to flex their muscles before taking a break and building on the rest of their season.

Keys to the Game:

  • The worst rushing defense in the league Vs. Ray Rice is not a match up the Bills are likely to win. The Ravens are a grind it out football team that loves establishing the run game early. Rice broke for 133 yards two weeks ago against the Broncos, but has been held under 100 yards in each of his other five games. This seems like the perfect week for rice to really put up some big numbers. Aside from his game against Denver, Rice has not managed to get in the end zone all season long. Part of this can be credited to the acquisition of Anquan Boldin, but it is uncharacteristic or Rice to be held out of the end zone. Rice will have an opportunity to make big plays against a terrible Bills front seven, unlike last week when his longest carry was a pedestrian eight yard run.
  • Don’t be a sucker, Ryan Fitzpatrick is not play making quarterback. He was brought in because the Bills liked the fact that he could get things done with his legs and he showed he had the potential to command the ‘offense’. Fitzpatrick makes the best out of broken plays, which occur frequently given the team he is under center for. Lee Evans has had a below average year considering his career. It is difficult to find any sort of bright spot in this entire offense. Fitzpatrick has a few games where he throws more touchdowns than interceptions, which boosts his quarterback rating. Suddenly, everyone is ready to pick him up on their fantasy team and deem him the new king of Buffalo. Bills fans have little to be excited about, so they get a pass on overestimating Fitzpatrick’s ability. For the rest of you, the Ravens are going to expose Fitzpatrick for exactly what he is, a former Ivy league quarterback turned career NFL backup.
  • After the Ravens soften up the Bills on the ground, Anquan Boldin is going to become a force. The only other time the Ravens faced an opponent as bad as the Bills defensively was week three against Cleveland, where Boldin hauled in three touchdown passes. Boldin is a huge possession receiver.The Bills do not have the talent to stop Boldin, even if they did bring in an extra defensive back. With no pass rush and the team loading up the box to compensate for Ray Rice and their own struggles against the run, the Bills are already at a disadvantage when it comes to containing Boldin. This could be another 150+ yard multiple touchdown performance for Joe Flacco’s favorite target.
  • C.J. Spiller is the most talented player on the enitre Bills roster and they refuse to give him the ball. This is a major error from the coaching staff and offensive coordinator in particular. Clearly management saw how special Spiller could be coming out of college and decided to spend their first round pick on him. Unfortunately for all parties in involved, Spiller has been nothing more than a bottom of the barrel running back option and special teams player. When you take a player that high in the draft, you expect him to make an immediate impact; especially if you are a struggling team like the Bills. The Bills have nothing to lose and need to feed Spiller the ball more. He had his first thirty yard performance of the season, but I would hardly consider that a breakout game. With no offense to speak of and Lynch being released, Spiller not only needs a bigger role, he needs THE role. He was picked by many to be a rookie of the year candidate and he isn’t even in the discussion. He could add a new dimension to the Bills offense, but until they are willing to give him more carries he will continue to be a waste of talent.

Wrap Up:

The Ravens are at home, are headed for a bye week and are coming off a disappointing loss. They will look to destroy the Buffalo Bills and there is no indication that the Bills are going to put up any sort of fight. As long as the Ravens are able to establish a solid running game early, which it appears they will, they are going to run away with this one.

Free NFL Pick: Baltimore -14


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