Back when the Falcons trip to Toronto was announced in the summertime, fans in Canada were surely excited about getting the opportunity to see some of the NFL’s most prolific offensive talents. The Falcons heralded attack featuring Matty Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez. What a show it would be! Only that’s hardly materialized in 2013, and the Falcons limp to Toronto as one of the worst teams in the league. They have struggled mightily enduring the loss of their star receiver Julio Jones and enter this contest fresh off a demoralizing loss to their divisional rivals, the New Orleans Saints. While the Bills don’t receive much, if any homefield advantage north of the border, it shouldn’t matter against a punchless Atlanta squad. Buffalo still has an outside shot at the post-season, and it will be up to them to give the Toronto fans something to cheer about on Sunday. Their defense has been much improved from 2012, and they’ll look to keep that rolling in Week 13.
It’s the Bills and Falcons in an international affair and we’ve got you covered here at The Sports Geek. We enter the week with a .500 record on the year and will look to build some momentum before the post-season commences. Read on below for further game thoughts and an official selection.
Falcons at Bills Betting Odds:
Atlanta Falcons +3.5 (-115)
@ Buffalo Bills -3.5 (-105)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons at Bills Pick:
The Atlanta Falcons seem like a team content to just ride out the season and cruise into their eventual off-season come early January. The playoff aspirations have all but subsided and this looks like a team that is just fed up with injuries and football right now. On the other side of the ball, you’ve got a Bills squad that is coming in fresh off their bye week and knows they still have an outside shot at a post-season berth despite their 4-7 record. The AFC isn’t exactly the strongest in 2013, and a string of wins could vault the Bills back into the thick of things.
Atlanta enters losers of five straight contest and all facets of the team appears to be a mess. The Falcons have scored less than 14 points in four of those five games, and Matt Ryan has an awful 5 to 9 touchdown-to-interception ratio during that time span. And when you consider who he’s squaring off against this week – the heralded Bills’ pass rush, Ryan could be in for a long afternoon. If pressure is going to be taken off of Ryan, he’ll need the virtually non-existent running game to step up for once. Steven Jackson has shown his age in 2013, as opponents of Atlanta have outrushed them by a whopping 641 yards over their past seven weeks. Expect the Bills’ defensive line to dominate on Sunday, wreaking havoc in the backfield and getting to Matt Ryan early and often. Atlanta has huge issues with pass protection and nobody on their offensive line stands a chance of stopping Mario Williams. Ryan should be forced into mistakes, and disrupt their fading aerial attack.
On the other side of the football, the Bills’ offense should find some success against a pathetic Atlanta defense. The Falcons have been ravaged by injuries, and their defensive unit now resembles that of a mediocre NCAA squad. They rank dead last in the entire NFL in passing yards per attempt, and they have virtually no pass rush to speak of. E.J. Manuel should expect a comfortable game with little resistance from the defense. With Robert Woods and Stevie Johnson fully healthy and at his disposal, the Bills should be able to move the chains at will come Sunday. Atlanta has struggled mightily in 2013 facing quarterbacks of Manuel’s Ilk. In three contests against Geno Smith (Jets), Cam Newton (Panthers), and Russell Wilson (Seahawks), the pathetic Falcons defense has surrendered at least 30 points in all of those match-ups. Look for a repeat of that on Sunday.
While the Falcons still possess a talented group, their injuries on both sides of the football have completely derailed their season. Buffalo has historically struggled in Toronto, but playing against a hapless Atlanta team should cure that issue. Look for the Bills defense to dominate and lead their offense to victory. There’s still a lot on the line in upstate New York, and look for the Bills to secure a key victory north of the border. Take the well-rested Bills by at least a touchdown in this one.
PICK = Bills -3.5 (-105)