Can the New York Giants go to Western New York on Sunday and knock down Rex Ryan's big, bad Buffalo Bills? It seems as though not too many people believe the Giants can do that. The Giants are 5.5-point underdogs to Ryan's Bills.
What do your Big Blue View staff writers think? Let's check out our predictions for this week.
The Giants have a better shot than I thought. It looks like both Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy may miss this game, and their much-hyped defense hasn't produced to the level Rex Ryan hoped. In fact, they're having the exact same problems that the Giants are having. Neither team can stop a passing game, but are incredibly stout at run defense. Both the Bills and Giants rank first and second in rushing yards allowed, yet amazingly both also rank 31st (Bills) and 32nd (Giants) in passing yards allowed.
So, when it comes down to it, which offense do you like to make the most of this? I'm taking the two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning over Tyrod Taylor; a player who is only starting his fourth game in five years. Right across the board, this team is relatively equal except in this area. Taylor has three fumbles and three interceptions through three games. The Giants are just good enough to take advantage of that and squeak out a close win.
Final score: Giants 29,Bills 24
(From Jesse's Week 4 picks against the point spread)
I will actually be at the Giants Bills game this week so I'm hoping for a big Giants victory, but there is a lot to be concerned with in this game. The Giants under Tom Coughlin have routinely (at least to my recollection) struggled with mobile quarterbacks, there always seems to be big breakdowns and Tyrod Taylor is very mobile, so that's one issue. The Giants also have the league's worst pass defense and can't muster any sort of pass rush to begin with, which will only be compounded by the Bills good run game (because there were not likely be a ton of third and long opportunities). The Bills have weapons on offense, too, like Charles Clay, Sammy Watkins (if he plays), and Percy Harvin that could cause the team "Giant" problems. Quite frankly, and I've said this every week, the Bills from top to bottom have one of the league's most talented rosters -- the only big question is at quarterback.
The next, and biggest issue is the Bills absolutely dominant defensive front against a Giants team that has struggled to create any sort of real positive yardage in the run game. In order for the Giants to score enough here they will have to get more out of Larry Donnell and the third receiver (and it looks less likely that Cruz will play than it did yesterday). I think the Giants could really struggle on offense all day and I wouldn't be surprised to see Eli throw his first interception this week and maybe 2. The Bills will create heavy pressure from the interior which has always been a big problem for Eli when he gets guys directly in his face and Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams are two of the best in the league at doing just that. And they also create heavy pressure from the outside with Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes. They have led the league in sacks two years in a row now for a reason.
The Giants should consider doing what the Patriots did to the Bills and spread out the field and throw it all over with a quick passing attack to tire out the pass rushers and make their linebackers cover in space, but that doesn't seem like something they will do because they strongly favor a balanced run/pass attack, which I don't particularly think will be that successful.
Pick: Bills (no final score given)
Well, the Giants finally won a game, basically dominating Washington from start to finish, and in all three phases of the game. Unfortunately, I said last week that I'm not going to pick the Giants until they show that they can play a complete game. Despite winning, and being up 25 to 6 in the 4th quarter, the Giants still had many of the same problems that cost them the first two games crop up. I really do think the Giants have good chance in this game. The Giants' offense, particularly they way it has been called so far this season, is set up to frustrate Rex Ryan's blitzes. On the other side of the ball the Giants have a legit run defense, which should help to put the game on Tyrod Taylor's right arm to win. And on Taylor, the fact that Steve Spagnuolo has seen him more (in Baltimore) than the Bills' coaches have could be significant.
But until the Giants come through in the 4th quarter, I'm not going to pick them to win the game.
Final score: Bills 28, Giants 27
The "red, white and blue" game should be closely contested, as both teams have showed promise early in the year. Shady McCoy will probably rest his hamstring this week, but I'm not sure that is a good thing for Big Blue. Karlos Williams is a house, and will be testing our LBs all day. I do see points being scored as both QBs will have passing lanes, and I'll take our passing attack over Buffalo's any day.
Final Score: Giants 28, Bills 24
Now that I've been back at school at Syracuse University -- Buffalo Bills country -- I've seen all of their games on TV. Last week, they dominated the Miami Dolphins in every facet. Their defensive line is the best in the NFL, and they have athletic linebackers to go with a stable of young corners. Odell Beckham Jr. will have a great game, because as Alex noted, the Bills have one of the worst pass coverages in the NFL, but the Giants need somebody else to step up on offense. Larry Donnell, Rueben Randle or Shane Vereen are a few options in the passing game.
While Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy will be out for this game for Buffalo, I'm worried about Big Blue's ability to cover Charles Clay and slow down rookie running back Karlos Williams, my X-factor of the game. Williams, a fifth round draft pick, has scored a touchdown in each of his first three games, showing a good blend of power and speed for a guy that weighs 230 pounds. As for Clay, he had a great game against Miami, his former team. It may be an aberration because of the "revenge factor," but he seems to be a very solid fit in that offense and is starting to pick things up.
With all that said, the game will be played in Buffalo, so I'm circling the wagons and taking the Bills. The Giants don't have nearly the same pass rush as Buffalo, and I think that will allow Tyrod Taylor to play just well enough to squeak out the win.
Final score: Bills 31, Giants 27
Don't expect points to be easy in this game especially since the Giants are on the road. The yardage numbers have the Bills with a weak passing defense but that's inflated because of Tom Brady passing for nearly 60 times. When you look at yards per attempt, the Bills actually have a top 5 unit against the pass. (By that same metric, the Giants move from being last in the league to around 15th overall).
What the Giants need to do it play to its strengths and eschew their weaknesses in a similar fashion to Bill Belichick. That means let your expensive, franchise QB throw. The Giants run offense has yet to hit its stride and forcing the run will be more counter productive. The Patriots are showing us that balance isn't a key to win games.
Unfortunately I don't see the Giants doing this and will try to run the ball with no effect.
Final score: Bills 24, Giants 17
You know, I hate Kool-Aid. It's a sugary kids drink I haven't had in maybe 40 years. Well, this week, the Kool-Aid says that the Bills are waaaaaaaay better than the Giants, and that Big Blue has no chance on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Did I mention that I hate Kool-Aid?
Oddsmakers list the Bills as a heavy favorite. Bills' fans seem to think the Giants are easy pickings. Five Thirty Eight's Elo Rating indicates that the Giants might as well not show up, just stay home and prepare for the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5. Even our man Jesse has abandoned ship, figuring he will be suffering from his seat at the Ralph on Sunday.
Well, yours truly will be in a press box seat on Sunday and to be honest, whether the Giants win or lose, I am going to enjoy the day. I think, though, that the Giants have a better chance to win this game than many want to believe. You would think from what many are saying that the Giants are facing the Lombardi Packers, the Noll Steelers of the '70s or the Belichick Patriots of the early 2000s -- before the Giants started slapping them around in Super Bowls. They aren't. The Bills haven't been to the playoffs since 1999, and last season's 9-7 mark was their first winning record since 2004. They could be a good team, no doubt, but let's not crown them world-beaters just yet.
The absences of LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins will hurt Buffalo. The Giants have played the run well thus far, and if they can do that again against the Bills they force Tyrod Taylor to try to win a game with his arm. We don't know yet if Taylor can do that.
On offense, the Giants have the quick passing philosophy that seems necessary to help nullify the impact of the Buffalo defensive front. If they can run just a little, enough to give Eli Manning an opportunity to try a few shots down the field, and get some plays from guys like Odell Beckham, Rueben Randle and Shane Vereen once they catch the ball they can have some success.
It's been a loooooong time -- probably going all the way back to 2012 -- since the Giants have beaten a good team with its starting quarterback or won a game they really weren't supposed to win. I have a sneaking suspicion that drought ends on Sunday.
Oh, and did I mention that I hate Kool-Aid?
Final score: Giants 24, Bills 20
Make your prediction