Here are predictions from members of The Buffalo News' sports staff on Sunday's Bills-Vikings game in Minneapolis.
Even with the promise Josh Allen provides at quarterback, the Bills don’t seem to have much of a chance to get their collective act together any time soon. It’s especially hard to see that happening on the road against one of the NFL’s best teams with arguably its most punishing defense to go along with an explosive passing game.
The tale of the tape for this game reminds me of the one for the Mike Tyson-Peter McNeeley fight. The Bills, as you might guess, are McNeeley in this scenario. Maybe Vontae Davis looked at the Bills’ upcoming schedule and said, “Nah, I’m good.” The next two weeks are brutal, starting Sunday at Minnesota. Vikings receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen form maybe the best 1-2 punch at the position in the NFL. New quarterback Kirk Cousins has been dealing.
While it’s true the Bills’ defense played better last week in the second half, the chances of them slowing down a Super Bowl contender don’t look real good. Give me the Bills with the (insane number of) points, but just barely.
The matchups are bad for the Bills everywhere you look in this game. I don’t know how the Bills are going to run between the tackles against Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson. Danielle Hunter is a big problem for right tackle Jordan Mills. When Brian Daboll looks at his call sheet, I don’t know what he’s going to find. The Bills need Kirk Cousins to throw two or three interceptions to have any prayer.
This matchup reminds me of the first career road start for Trent Edwards in 2007 (a 26-3 loss at Pittsburgh) and J.P. Losman (a 19-3 loss at Tampa in 2005).
The schedule doesn't get easier for the Bills, who face NFC North titans Minnesota and Green Bay in the next two weeks. The Vikings tied Green Bay last weekend, in part because of three missed field goals, but don't expect special teams to decide this game.
Allen gives some hope for the future, but his supporting cast — including a scoring defense that is last in the NFL and a receiving crew that has struggled to haul in long passes — still has plenty of work to do to become competitive.
It’s tough to imagine the Bills winning this game on the road against one of the top teams in the NFC, especially with the way their defense has been carved up and with LeSean McCoy dealing with cracked rib cartilage. But that’s a huge spread. Buffalo only lost to the Chargers by 11.
Allen should once again have some success moving the ball, even if it’s in garbage time. I’m taking the Bills and the points.