Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Buffalo, New York
As we open the month of October, the Vikings finally get what appears to be a breather from the hellacious schedule they've played over the season's first three weeks. However, looks can be deceiving, as the Bills aren't the pushover that some Vikings fans are making them out to be.
The Bills, like the other three teams Minnesota has played so far this season, sport a pretty impressive defense. They currently rank 11th in the NFL in total defense, one slot ahead of the Vikings' defensive unit. The Bills are ranked 21st against the run (Minnesota is ranked 10th) and 7th against the pass (with the Vikings being ranked 15th). However, star linebacker Takeo Spikes is listed as "questionable" for the Bills today. . .and if he's out, the sledding will be markedly easier for a Minnesota offense that has been struggling mightily over the past 2 games.
This game also marks the return of two former Bills to their old stomping grounds, both of whom have flourished in Minnesota. Pat Williams is one of the best run-stopping DTs in the NFL, while Antoine Winfield has become one of the most underrated DBs in the league. The law firm of Williams, Williams, and Udeze should be able to get after Bills QB J.P. Losman and force him into some turnovers. If Losman gets time, the Bills have a pretty decent passing attack with Lee Evans and Peerless Price (who, yes, is still alive) on the outside.
The Vikings also have to deal with the NFL's leading rusher in today's game, one Willis McGahee. McGahee has 311 yards on the young season, while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The Vikings run defense has been rather impressive over the season's first three games, and the Williams boys and company vs. Mr. McGahee should be a pretty interesting matchup.
In the end, I think that the Minnesota offense will finally start getting it done today. The Bills, as noted, are somewhat weak against the run, and lord knows that Brad Childress is going to run, run, and run some more. That can only help us in the red zone. (Oh, and coach. . .playing Marcus Robinson would help in the red zone, too. The guy can't do much any more, but by God, he can still go up and get that jump ball.)
I look for the Vikings to move to 3-1 this afternoon.
Gonzo's Final Score Prediction: Vikings 20, Bills 13
Yes, 20 points for the Vikings. I can't believe it, either.
Also, we'll be keeping track of how the Twins are faring in the regular season finale against the Bitch Sox, and hoping against hope that the Royals can knock off the Tigers as well. A Twins win and a Tigers loss gives the Twins the AL Central crown, rather than just a wild-card spot. . .and getting to play Oakland in Round 1 instead of the Spankees.
Have a great gameday, everyone!