Buffalo Bills vs Minnesota Vikings: BUF +2.5 (Pinnacle)
The Buffalo Bills were woeful on offense last week in their preseason opener against the Redskins. I believe that they have put in the necessary adjustments to win their game against the Vikings this Friday night. I know we aren’t getting the key number of ‘3’ here but as we have found out this preseason, this is not as important as during the regular season.
Neither coach is a preseason killer with Gailey at 3-6 and Frazier at 2-3 SU. Usually a strong record for the head coach is a prerequisite for me in preseason handicapping but this week has many ‘winning’ coaches either facing each other or lacking quality depth on their respective rosters. If anything, Gailey will probably feel slightly more pressure to win in the preseason due to the Bills’ rising expectations heading into the regular season.
The major changes this week on offense will see more of a focus on the running game and Vince Young slotting into No. 2 on the depth chart ahead of Tyler Thigpen. The entire Bills offense met this week to discuss their poor performance against the Skins as they look to rebound as a group. Running the ball is what the Bills do best and after completely ignoring this aspect of the game last week, I like that Gailey wants his team to be more physical against the Vikings.
Each QB will be taking roughly 20 snaps. There is a clear battle going on between Young and Thigpen. I like the fact that Young will work with the 2nd stringers and Thigpen will air it out later in the game, hopefully passing for a few ‘trash time’ touchdowns.
The D will remain much the same as last week with the starters also playing 20 snaps. This should take them into the 2nd quarter. I really like this Bills secondary more than most with the play of Safety Jairus Byrd catching my eye week in, week out. The 2nd and 3rd Units were sound last week against the Skins and I expect more of the same against the Vikings’ backup QBs.
Ahhh the Vikings. I’m not going to lie, I think they are a pretty ordinary football team at the moment. I faded them last week, I’m doing so again this week and I’ve already bet the Under on their regular season wins total. On offense I think Ponder has a chance to be pretty good and he showed us that last week against the 49ers. The problem is that he lacks any scoring targets in the red-zone while Adrian Peterson remains on the sideline. So, while he lead the offense down the field last week, they failed to reach the endzone settling for FGs. Backing up Ponder is Joe Webb and Rosenfels. It shouldn’t matter as this group of QBs lacks serious talent. I see them struggling to move the ball against the Bills this weekend behind an indifferent back-up O-Line.
The Vikings D will be solid again but unless Jared Allen plays the whole game I’m not too worried about this group. I’m looking forward to watching backup corner Josh Robinson play after being sidelined last week. He has serious speed and a good understanding of the game.
My analysis is pretty simple this week. I’m high on the Bills this year and low on the Vikings. With better depth at the QB position, take the points and watch the Bills chalk up their first win of the preseason.
NFL Pick: Bills +2.5.
CC is an up and coming handicapper with a focus on American sports. He covers NFL, NBA, MLB and more - with a winning overall record across sports. You can follow all his plays on Twitter @CCPicks.