Two perennial basement dwellers will square off Sunday surprisingly in a battle of undefeated teams. Both the Bills and Raiders looked impressive in all facets of the game in Week 1, rolling their way to convincing road defeats, both cashing in as underdogs.
Buffalo utilized their diverse offensive attack to stymie Kansas City, while emphatically proving many pundits wrong with a stellar showing from their front-7 as their run defense was effective in shutting down talented running back Jamaal Charles. Entering the 2011 campaign, the Bills defense was rightfully a huge concern, and although they looked very impressive in the first week, the speed, talent, and dynamic ability of the Raiders’ Darren McFadden puts fear into the most lethal of defences. Adding to the question marks will be the absence of top Bills’ cornerback Terrence McGee. McGee has grown into a very capable player on that defense, and is a leader for the Bills. It will be interesting to see how they respond without him.
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Like the Bills, the Raiders used a similar game-plan to get by the Broncos on Monday Night Football. Despite only prevailing by a field goal, the Raiders were simply dominant on both sides of the ball. The aforementioned McFadden carried the ball 22 times, and continued the dominant play we witnessed toward the conclusion of last season. When the former Arkansas back is healthy, he has proven to be one the most lethal game-breakers in the sport. His athleticism, elusiveness, and power-running capabilities will be a huge test for an unproven Bills’ defense, and the man dubbed Run DMC should be able to exploit holes throughout Buffalo’s front seven.
Though concerns exist about the Raiders coming off of a short week, flying cross-country to take on a confident Bills squad, the Raiders are the more talented team in this tilt. McFadden is blessed with rare physical tools, ones which most running backs in the league could only dream of possessing. Expect him to get a steady dose of touches against Buffalo, behind a big and physical offensive line. Sure the Bills limited one of the best backs in the game last week in Jamaal Charles, but they still allowed 6.0 yards per carry to Chiefs’ rushers. If they hadn’t fallen behind so quickly and forced the Chiefs to their woeful passing attack, the porous front seven of the Bills could have been badly exposed. And though there is a good chance the Raiders will be without top wide receiver Jacoby Ford, McFadden is more than capable of filling the void, as is training camp rookie sensation Denarius Moore.
Expect the Raiders to dominant both the offensive and defensive lines in this one. They possess the bigger, more physical linemen, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will be forced to evade intense pressure for all four quarters. The ageless Raiders’ defensive tackle, Richard Seymour should have a field day with the Bills’ offensive line, and disrupt Buffalo’s offense, adding to his two-sack performance against the Broncos. A healthy, confident, and speedy Raiders squad led by McFadden spells trouble for the Bills. The Raiders have dominated this series over the last five meetings, going 4-1 since 1999 against the number. Expect more of the same come Sunday.