On the surface things don’t appear all that bad for the Buffalo Bills. They sit at 2-3, just a game out and tied with the Jets and Dolphins in a jumbled AFC East. Two early losses by the Patriots have prevented New England from establishing any kind of separation in the division.
But the Bills are hardly feeling good about themselves out in the desert as they ready to take on the Cardinals on Sunday. And you can’t blame them after the way they’ve gotten slapped around over the last five quarters, giving up 76 points in that span and scoring only 10.
Fact is, nothing much has gone right for the Bills since they went into Cleveland in Week 3 and played pretty well on both sides of the ball. Now they have a nasty road battle against a rested, first-place Arizona team (the Cards last played a week ago Thursday) still ticked about its loss to St. Louis.
Buffalo gets 4 with an O/U of 43.5 in this one, and the Bills will be trying to run the ball behind a banged-up offensive line against an Arizona defense that is ranked fourth in the league against the run. Not good. And Buffalo fans are still trying to make sense of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who followed up a four-interception game against New England by tossing for only 115 yards (zero TDs) in the 45-3 loss to the 49ers.
The Bills would dearly love to grind clock and try to catch a late break. That means lots of (hopefully productive) carries for 1 and A1 running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller who report that they are both healthy for the first time this season.
Any value in a play on the Bills?
Covers Expert Marc Lawrence has crunched some numbers and actually sees some daylight.
“Road dogs off back-to-back ATS losses of 20 or more are 17-6 ATS against opponents off a loss,"says Lawrence. He also notes that Arizona was outgained in all four of its four victories to open the season.
And another Covers Expert, Art Aronson, mentions that Arizona has injury problems of its own.
“This is probably going to be a considered a winnable game in the Bills locker room. I don’t hate taking the points. Arizona’s offensive line got shredded by the Rams.”
“The public looks at Buffalo and wonders why they are getting only 4 points after back-to-back beatings," adds Lawrence. "But those losses came against New England and San Francisco, the two leading contenders at the moment to make it to this year's Super Bowl.”
Jackson knows that the offense has to move the chains to give the defense half a chance.
“Our defense has taken a lot of heat,” Jackson told Buffalobills.com, “but...we scored three points last week. You are not going to beat a lot of people in this league scoring three points.”