Buffalo Bills breakdown, truths and rumors, stats and analysis (1 Viewer)

The90s

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[FONT=&quot]Hey guys! Bills fan here (but an ex-pat living and working in Philly). I'm also a former assistant at the Division-III level and a big-time football stat geek. I'm making the drive up to Buffalo for this game (6 hours for me), because I had hoped to see Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints run into the winds of Lake Erie. Looks like I might get my wish....keeping my fingers crossed for a sloppy, high-scoring mudfest. We'll see.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Anyway, this post is going to be extremely, EXTREMELY long, so if you don't care to talk some intelligent football, I wouldn't bother reading it. But if you want to learn everything there is to know about the 2009 Buffalo Bills, their personnel, how you can crush them and how they can (a very real possibility) beat you, read on. I'll also go through and address some myths, half-truths, and statistical anomalies floating around, as well as discuss some positional stuff and make my prediction. I do this most weeks on opposing teams' forums, because I get bored easily and I like keeping my football mind sharp after being out of the game a while (and boy, do I ever miss it). So let's begin, shall we?<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]First, a note: ANYBODY knowledgeable about football will tell you that total yardage stats for defense and offense are sort of useless. The real numbers that matter are yards per carry and yards per attempt, for and against. I will only use these stats for my analysis, because they are the only stats that matter. Don't believe me? Go search Google and come back. You'll see.[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]QB[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]: Buffalo's Trent Edwards is a third-year pro from Stanford, entering his second season as a starter. He is currently 4th in the NFL in passer rating, throwing for 446 yards @ a spectacular 7.96 yards per attempt, with 4 TDs and 1 interception. He has been sacked 6 times, due to a tendency to hold on to the football too long. This is both a good and a bad thing....sacks kill drives, but Edwards doesn't throw many picks because of it. I can't even remember the last pick-6. Blitzing him usually doesn't help, because he gets rid of the ball too quickly when faced with a rush of more than five people. He will simply dump it off to a back or TE, which means it can work on 3rd and long to force short completions. He may be the 2nd smartest QB in the league (when it comes to calling his own plays) next to Peyton Manning. He has a middle-of-the-road arm and throws a great rainbow deep ball, but has trouble threading the needle into tight spots downfield. He is best defended by dropping 6-8 people and forcing tight throws, which he is often loathe to make. Projection: 290 yards @ 7.8 yards per attempt, with 3 TDs and 1 turnover. <O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]RB[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]: What can you say about Fred Jackson? The kid from D-III Coe College is 2nd in the NFL in yards from scrimmage, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 9.8 yards per reception, with 1 TD. The kid is a weapon in every facet of the game, and is poised to become an elite NFL running back, a statement that would have had people putting you in a straightjacket four years ago when he was in the Arena League minors. He can run between the tackles, run sweeps, split wide, catch screens and flares, you name it. Shutting him down will be a key for the Saints this week, especially in inclement weather. Projection: 110 rushing yards @ 4.4 yards per carry, as well as 4 catches for 45 yards. 1 receiving TD.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]FB: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The Bills don't use one. The put TEs or Corey McIntyre in to block in short-yardage situations.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]WR:[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]The 2nd-deepest position on the team, aside from cornerback. TO and Lee Evans, as everyone knows, are one of the best WR tandems in football, despite their pedestrian numbers so far. I'm going to attribute this (correctly) to the fact that NE and TB made a serious effort to take these players out of the game. The Bills don't make the same effort the Pats or Cardinals do in moving their WRs around to get them open, instead using TO/Evans as deep threats to open up the rest of the field. Edwards threw 4 bombs last weekend, connecting for 2 TDs, one incompletion, and one horrible, terrible, disgusting drop of what should have been an 82-yard TD by Owens (big surprise). If the Bills run game can draw the safeties down, looks for Edwards to throw it up top. He calls some of his own plays and is free to audible at will, something new coordinator and ten-year clipboard-holder Alex Van Pelt lets him do that Turk Schonert never did. Probably one of the reasons he got fired.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Anyway, as good as TO/Evans are at the vertical game, Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed (whom most of you know as LSU's Billetnikoff winner) are both great in the slot. Reed is a sure-handed, 3rd down machine who probably hasn't caught a TD pass since 2006. Parrish is a threat on reverses, end-arounds and screens to take it to the house on any play. Look for Reed to snag 4-5 key first-down conversions and Parrish to break something at some point. Reed and Owens are terrific downfield blockers, while Evans and Parrish suck at it.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Projections: Owens, 5/75 1 TD, Evans 4/55 1 TD, Reed 5/30, Parrish 2/25.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]TE: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Starter Derek Schouman was last for the season last week, and it is a loss. He is Edwards' security blanket and is a good blocker. His replacement, Derek Fine, is in his 2nd year, and is a clone of Schouman who needs more refining. He has more potential but is worse right now. Shawn Nelson, a 4th-round steal, will develop into an elite, pass-catching TE in the Antonio Gates mold. He's talented, but very raw, and is almost useless blocking. He may not play, in which case TE John Stupar will. Stupar led the NFL in receptions and yards in the preseason, which doesn't mean anything. Projection: 8 receptions, 65 yards, 0 TDs.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]OL: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The Bills start three rookies (essentially) on their offensive line, which was expected to play poorly after a terrible preseason. Surprisingly, they have gelled well, and have been really quite good so far this season. LT Demetrius Bell is a true project, and he does make mistakes. However, he is supremely talented, and could easily be the next Jason Peters. The interior of the line has been outstanding, anchored by servicable pro Geoff Hangartner, and rookies Andy Levitre and Eric Wood. Levitre has 8-year starter potential, while Wood, through practice and two games, looks like the second coming of Alan Faneca. I'm not playing around. He's really that good. Hangartner I had serious doubts about, but he handled mammoth NE nose tackle Vince Wilfork with ease. Can't really ask for any more than that. RT is now a huge hole, as "old man" (30 starts) Brad Butler was lost for the season. His backup, John Scott, is a journeyman who really isn't that good. Look for the Bills to try and protect this side of the line with a TE or back.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]This group is a lot better than most regular NFL fans seem to think. I don't blame anyone for thinking this way, given how awful they looked in the preseason. But the continuity over the past month has really helped, and these rookies are coming into their own. They're still going to make mistakes, but this line is really going to be dominant in time. Mark my words on that.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]DL: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The strength of this unit is in the middle, where LSU product Kyle Williams and All-Pro Marcus Stroud anchor the interior. They have gotten great penetration so far this season, collapsing pockets and stopping plays for loss (3 stops so far on 4th and 1 and 2/2 on preventing 2-pt conversions). They are solid, plain and simple, and teams have had trouble running on the Bills, as they rank 8th in the NFL in yards/carry against (New Orleans is 5th). The edge rushers, Aaron Schobel, Chris Kelsay, Ryan Denney, and rookie Aaron Maybin are also great against the run. They have been hit or miss at getting pressure with four people, having great success against the Patriots but doing poorly against the Bucs, which seems backwards, but is oddly true. They will be a key to this game, and Schobel must have a big game if the Bills hope to keep Brees' numbers manageable.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]LB: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The loss of MLB Paul Posluszny for 6 weeks hurts, plain and simple. His replacement, Marcus Buggs, is undersized and doesn't play nickel or dime packages, leaving that to OLB Keith Ellison. Much better against the run this year, Ellison has repeatedly been burned by TEs, which makes me scratch my head as to why we still leave him one and one with them. The Bills coaching staff needs to correct this wrinkle or Shockey may have a big game. Keep your eye on #56 and who he's covering. The other OLB is Kawika Mitchell, who is great when blitzing but pretty average at doing everything else. They are sure tacklers who have been good against the run but have struggled, in general, at defending short passes over the middle.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]CB: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The deepest position on the team, and possibly the deepest group in the entire league. Starting CBs Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin (if he plays, which seems 3/2 yes at the moment) are capable of manning up any two WRs in the league, but the Bills don't play man to man on the outside. EVER. Backups Ashton Youboty, Drayton Florence, and Reggie Corner have all proven themselves, but there just isn't enough room on the field for everybody. Captain and FS Donte Whitner is a gamer, and looks a lot more comfortable at FS than he did at SS. He is good in run support but doesn't make enough plays in the passing game. He took a pick back for 6 last week, and will need to make another big play this week. SS Bryan Scott is big, physical, and good in run support, and also very, very good at covering TEs. So maybe this is the week the Bills actually use him that way? Who knows.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]ST: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Roscoe Parrish is the best punt returner (by average) in NFL history. Enough said. Leodis McKelvin returns kicks, but he has struggled this year, due to the new "wedge rule." He is still a threat, but he hasn't looked nearly as dangerous as last year. Bills kicker Rian Lindell is the most accurate kicker in the NFL under 40 yards, having missed only once in five years. Over 40, he is good but not spectacular. He has never had a kick blocked and his range is roughly 56 yards, though he repeatedly hits from 60 in practice. Bills punter Brian Moorman is the best punter in the NFL. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Mike Scrifes and Shane Lechler have better stats, but when you compare playing in the horrible winds and weather in Buffalo compared to California, it's easy to see why. He has also never had a kick blocked, and has converted several fakes, so keep your eyes open.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Projection: Parrish returns a punt for a touchdown, as he has done every year since 2006.[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Useful Stat: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]I've seen a lot of people around here expecting Brees to shred the Bills pass defense because they are 31st in yards allowed. I STRONGLY caution you to take this number with several very large grains of salt. Remember, the important numbers are yards per carry and yards per pass attempt. The Bills are actually in the top third of the league (#12) in yards per pass attempt against (New Orleans is #18). Their total yards allowed is so bad because they have been thrown against more times than any team in the NFL (103 [51.5 per game!!!!] pass attempts against, New Orleans is second at 89). Generally, 8.0 yards per pass attempt is considered excellent, 7 decent, and 6 poor. The Bills have allowed 6.5, while New Orleans has allowed 6.7.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Tactics:[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]The Saints must attack the middle of the field. The Bills' Tampa 2 defense doesn't allow big plays (or really even any passes over 20 yards downfield), but it is very vulnerable in the center seam and to short passes. Attacking the deep middle with Shockey will help open some of the deep stuff for Moore/Colston and Co., which is the only way you'll beat us with the deep pass. We have sure tacklers who prevent YAC and keep defenders in front of them (Bills are #11 in yards/completion against, Saints are 25th), but are susceptible to sustained drives based off the short passing game. If Brees and Co. try to force home runs, they will struggle. If they are content to dink and dunk, expect long drives, many 3rd down conversions, and lots of success.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]The Bills will not be able to rattle Brees with heavy blitzing, so they have to bust out the old Dick LeBeau playbook to get pressure (he coached Buffalo then went to Pittsburgh in '06). Zone blitzes, overload blitzes, and pressure up the middle will be essential if the front four can't get to Brees on their own. This is the most important part of the game. Otherwise, the Bills should drop as many people as possible and try to force the Saints to beat them with the run. That sounds a hell of a lot easier than it is.[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]The Bills' best way to win this game is to go ball-control, like Miami did against the Colts. They need to run, run, run, and then take some shots downfield when they have a chance. Then run some more. Take the play clock to zero on every snap. Convert third downs. Keep Brees off the field. Shorten the game, keep it close, and then let turnovers and luck decide who wins out in the end. It's not that I don't think the Bills could win a shootout...on the contrary, they have weapons all over the offensive side of the ball and are absolutely capable of scoring over 40 points. I just think they win a shootout maybe 1 time in 5. That's no gameplan for how to win in the NFL.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]This Bills fan's prediction[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]: New Orleans, 34-31.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Parting Note: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]If you honestly believe any team in the NFL will win by over 20 points in a road game, unless they're playing the Browns or Lions, you need a reality check. This isn't LSU versus Louisiana-Lafayette, people. Road blowouts in the NFL are insanely rare.<O>[/FONT]
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Good luck to both teams!! May the better team win and both be injury-free.
 
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WeatherNLU

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I stopped reading at Trent Edwards second smartest QB after Peyton Manning. He's been sacked 6 times in two games, Drew has been sacked less than 20 times in the last 18.

Oh wow before I clicked off of the thread, TO and Lee Evans are one of the best WR tandems in the league.....even though their numbers suck.

Maybe I will keep reading, this is comedic.
 
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The90s

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I know, it's long.

I may have gotten a bit carried away this week. What can I say? I'm excited.
 

TheMeatMilitia

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[FONT=&quot]<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]This Bills fan's prediction[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]: New Orleans, 34-31.<O>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Parting Note: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]If you honestly believe any team in the NFL will win by over 20 points in a road game, unless they're playing the Browns or Lions, you need a reality check. This isn't LSU versus Louisiana-Lafayette, people. Road blowouts in the NFL are insanely rare.<O>[/FONT]

See last week.[/FONT]
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The90s

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I stopped reading at Trent Edwards second smartest QB after Peyton Manning. He's been sacked 6 times in two games, Drew has been sacked less than 20 times in the last 18.
When last I checked, changing / calling your own plays at the line is not the same thing as reading progessions and getting rid of the ball.

I said pretty bluntly that Edwards holds on to the ball too long.
 
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The90s

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About your parting note. We played the Eagles in Philly just last week and beat them by 26 points.
Pretty sure everyone here is aware of that.

Hopefully, everyone else is also aware that these things happen very rarely. Sure, the Saints should win this game, and it's all well and fun to predict blowouts. It just doesn't happen every week. That's pretty simple, I think.
 

WeatherNLU

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When last I checked, changing plays at the line is not the same thing as reading progessions and getting rid of the ball.

I said pretty bluntly that Edwards holds on to the ball too long.

Dude are you serious? There is NO one in the league and I mean NO ONE better than Drew Brees at reading defenses and finding an open receiver. Do you think he just gets lucky to the tune of 5,000 yards a year?

There is a reason that he had 5,000 plus yards last year and NOT ONE receiver had a 1,000 yard season. He finds whoever is open ALWAYS.
 

WeatherNLU

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Pretty sure everyone here is aware of that.

Hopefully, everyone else is also aware that these things happen very rarely. Sure, the Saints should win this game, and it's all well and fun to predict blowouts. It just doesn't happen every week. That's pretty simple, I think.

You said pretty clearly that NO ONE wins on the road by 20 unless it is the Browns or the Lions. Say what you mean, we just did it 5 days ago and it wasn't either one of those teams.
 

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we blew out the eagles on the road so that argument of yours doesnt work...and you said trent edwards is the second smartest qb in the league?!?!?! heard of drew brees??? im not being a homer but come on now..i would say Ben roethlisberger is smarter than trent edwards...brees and manning are at the top in the league...other than that not bad at all...
 
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The90s

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Dude are you serious? There is NO one in the league and I mean NO ONE better than Drew Brees at reading defenses and finding an open receiver. Do you think he just gets lucky to the tune of 5,000 yards a year?

There is a reason that he had 5,000 plus yards last year and NOT ONE receiver had a 1,000 yard season. He finds whoever is open ALWAYS.
Did you even read my response? You completely missed the point.

I'm talking about calling your own plays at the line, and the only player in the NFL decisively better at it is Peyton Manning. I wasn't under the impression Brees called his own plays (and roethlisberger definitely doesn't). I was pretty sure Sean Payton did the playcalls and was pretty damn good at it.

Of course he's amazing at making his progressions and finding open receivers. I never said he wasn't, and I never said Edwards was better at it. In fact, I said (twice) that he's decidedly worse at it and holds on to the ball too long.

Make sense now?
 
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The90s

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You said pretty clearly that NO ONE wins on the road by 20 unless it is the Browns or the Lions. Say what you mean, we just did it 5 days ago and it wasn't either one of those teams.
[FONT=&quot]Road blowouts in the NFL are insanely rare.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Not impossible. Just very rare. As in, not on a week-in, week-out basis.

Is there anything else anyone is interested in besides blowouts? Ways to exploit the Tampa 2 defense, perhaps? The need (or lack thereof) for a consistent Saints running threat?
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WeatherNLU

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Did you even read my response? You completely missed the point.

I'm talking about calling your own plays at the line, and the only player in the NFL decisively better at it is Peyton Manning. I wasn't under the impression Brees called his own plays (and roethlisberger definitely doesn't). I was pretty sure Sean Payton did the playcalls and was pretty damn good at it.

Of course he's amazing at making his progressions and finding open receivers. I never said he wasn't, and I never said Edwards was better at it. In fact, I said (twice) that he's decidedly worse at it and holds on to the ball too long.

Make sense now?

No it doesn't make any sense at all. Calling your own plays at the line makes you smart? So you can't be a smart QB unless you call your own plays?

Drew has a run/pass check on just about EVERY DOWN. He does a damn good job if you ask me.
 

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Excellent post and alot of thought and time into it.

GOOD LUCK AND NO INJURIES.
 

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i'm sorry but your CB position is not as deep as you say it is. after McElvin the rest of your guys wouldn't make our team at all- not eve practice squad. we are extremely deep at the WR position. you guys only have 2 CB that are great cover corners and one S that is an impact player(and IMO he should be a yearly Pro Bowler). we have 5 WR (Colston, Meachem, Henderson, Moore, and Reggie Bush. i dont see you guys covering all 5.

good luck Sunday Bill's fans. I hope you got your popcorn ready.
 

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