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MOtorboat
12-19-2008, 04:30 PM
Buffalo Bills (6-8) Denver Broncos (8-6)

Where: The 8-6 Denver Broncos will host the 6-8 Buffalo Bills at Mile High Invesco on Sunday, at 2 p.m., MST.

Last meeting: Denver shocked Buffalo, 15-14, in the closing moments of the season opener last year, when Jason Elam and the field goal team perfectly executed a field goal try with time running out, the clock running and no time outs.

All time series: The Bills lead the all time series 17-15-1. The Broncos have won the last five meetings with the Bills dating back to 1995, and are 6-4 in the last 10 games with the Bills, dating back to 1989, including the 1991 AFC Championship Game. This will be just the Bills third visit to Denver in the last 20 years.

Last week: The Broncos were devastated on the road, in a 30-10 loss to the NFC South-leading Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile, the Bills dropped a 31-27 decision to the New York Jets on a fourth-quarter J.P. Losman fumble.

Vegas Odds: Denver is giving up seven points to the Bills. The over-under is 44.

When Denver has the ball

Running game

Key Matchup: Shotgun vs. Under Center.

Seems a little strange that this might affect the rushing attack, but it does. While the Denver attack has to keep the defense balanced by showing run out of the shotgun, for Denver to really get a rhythm going in the running game, it really needs to come from one- or two-back sets with the quarterback under center.

In the first half last week, Denver averaged less than three yards per carry out of the shotgun. By the time the third quarter rolled around, Denver was already almost out of it.

It’s not like Denver really abandoned the run against Carolina, but the Broncos went out of the shotgun for much of the game and they were trailing. P.J. Pope is a solid runner, though, and is capable of putting up good numbers.

On a chilly day in Denver, the ground game will be important for Denver, with the Bills featuring a bruising rushing attack with Marshawn Lynch. Time of Possession will be important in this game.

Backing Pope up will be Tatum Bell and Selvin Young. Both runners are one-dimensional, and Young has been hindered by injuries.

Advantage: Denver (All of that said, Buffalo is 19th in the league in rushing)

Passing game

Key Matchup: Jay Cutler vs. Turnovers.

Pretty simple. Don’t turn the ball over; win games. When Cutler has made mistakes with his decision making, the Broncos have lost.

Cutler has become one of the best passers in the game this season, but he still makes some bad throws, and this season, he’s made them in bad situations. With Denver leading 10-7 last week against Carolina, the Broncos got the ball back after a defensive stand, and one play later, Cutler threw an interception. The Panthers turned that into a field goal to tie the game. The week before, even in a win against Kansas City, Cutler helped spot the Chiefs 10 points when he threw a pick-six at the beginning of the game.

Defensively, the Bills have been pretty good against the pass, allowing just over 200 yards per game, 11th best in the NFL, but the Bills are 26th in the NFL in interceptions. Jabari Greer is doubtful for this game, putting some pressure on rookie corner Leodis McKelvin to step up into a starter’s roll.

Advantage: Denver.

When Buffalo has the ball

Running game

Key Matchup: Marshawn Lynch vs. Denver’s Front Seven.

Marshawn Lynch is becoming one of the best backs in the NFL. He’s listed as questionable on the injury report, but he hasn’t missed a game yet this season, and he’s 10th in the league in rushing with 1,002 yards. Fred Jackson has turned out to be a nice complement for Lynch, as he’s rushed for 392 yards this season, and has also caught 33 receptions for 247 yards.

Denver is 27th in the league against the rush, allowing just over 140 yards per game. They’ve had some rough performances this season, and face a tough task in stopping Lynch. They have a better shot at stopping Fred Jackson if Lynch can’t go, but they’ve made a few back ups look good this season as well. (See: Sammy Morris)

Advantage: Buffalo


Passing game

Key Matchup: J.P. Losman vs. Trent Edwards.

J.P. Losman sucks. Too bad Trent Edwards is expected back in the lineup for the Bills on Sunday. Losman was abysmal against the Jets last week, throwing three interceptions to just one touchdown, including one that went for the game winner for the Bills. Edwards had led the Bills to a 6-5 record before being hurt against San Francisco in Week 13. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns this season and 10 interceptions, but he’s completed 66 percent of his passes and has an 85.1 quarterback rating. The Bills are much better off with him in the lineup, as it makes their offense much more balanced.

Denver has been atrocious against the pass, especially last week against the Panthers. Delhomme didn’t necessarily gash the Broncos, but Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad were consistently wide open. The Broncos are 27th in the league against the pass, but might get Champ Bailey back into the lineup, which could help. Denver has to find a way to get pressure on the quarterback, something they’ve failed to do all season. They are 25th in the league in sacks.

Advantage: Buffalo

Special Teams

Key Matchup: Buffalo kick returners vs. the Denver kick team.

Buffalo is third in the league in kick return yardage, at 25-yards per kick off. Leodis McKelvin has the Bills touchdown return for a touchdown this season, and is second in the league in average per return, but the Bills have a plethora of guys that could take any return to the house. Roscoe Parrish is questionable, but Broncos fans sure remember the 74-yard punt return for a touchdown when these two teams met last year.

Meanwhile, Denver is 29th in the league in Special Teams, according to www.footballoutsiders.com.

Advantage: Buffalo

Analysis

Denver needs to win this game. Plain and simple. The Broncos need to do everything they can to avoid heading to San Diego in Week 17 with the Division on the line. Winning, at home, against an inferior team in December, would do just that. But that’s where this team has struggled in the past few years. (See: 2006)

Meanwhile, Buffalo has little to play for, as they’ve been eliminated from the AFC East playoff race. But, that’s just about the time a team gets dangerous. The Broncos need to really avoid a let down against the Bills on Sunday.

Coaches preach field position and turnovers, and this is a classic case Denver is -13 in turnover margin, last in the AFC, and second to last in the league. The Bills aren’t much better at -9, but the Bills have the advantage on kickoffs, which are key in the field position battle.

If Denver can control the clock, and avoid turnovers, there’s really no reason they should lose a game like this.

Prediction: Denver 24, Buffalo 17

Ziggy
12-20-2008, 10:48 AM
Well we should know by kickoff if the Broncos HAVE to win this game. It will be pretty disappointing if they don't though, regardless of what San Diego does.

Lonestar
12-21-2008, 11:42 PM
Prediction: Denver 24, Buffalo 17

did not work out did it..

Broncos Beaten By Bills, 30-23

The Broncos started strong, but the Buffalo Bills came back and grabbed a 30-23 win in Denver's final home game of the regular season.

It was a decent day for the offense -- the team racked up 532 total yards, almost double the Bills' 275 -- but three times the Broncos had to settle for field goals, including twice in their first three drives of the day.

Jay Cutler threw for 359 yards, breaking the Broncos franchise record for passing yards in a single season, and ran for two touchdowns. But he also threw an interception in the red zone late in the fourth quarter.

With the Broncos loss and the win by the Chargers at Tampa Bay, the AFC West title comes down to next Sunday in San Diego. The Broncos and Chargers will square off in a rematch of the Broncos' thrilling Week 2 victory, with the winner earning the right to host a playoff game. The loser heads home until the 2009 season.

The game has now been flexed to the Sunday Night Football slot next week -- the contest will begin at 6:15 p.m. MST.
The loss moves the Broncos to 8-7.

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