The grumblings from Bills fans after two weeks of preseason are turning into shouts. Monday night newly acquired WR Anquan Boldin, the #2 option for the Bills, announced his retirement. To think that on August 8th, just 12 days ago, the Bills twitter account tweeted “Did we just become best friends?” with a picture of wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Anquan Boldin shows just how fast a roster can change. With Watkins and Boldin both gone, the Bills have to regroup if they want any hope of the postseason. ESPN’s FPI gives the Bills just a 13% chance to make the playoffs. The rebuild starts Saturday night, on the road, against the Ravens.
What to Watch For
Quarterback play will be a huge must watch in Baltimore. Tyrod Taylor will be coming off of an abominable performance last Thursday against the Eagles where he went 8/18 passing for just 53 yards and threw 2 picks, accounting for a 12 QBR. In a game against his former team, Taylor looks to rebound and once again get Bills Mafia behind him.
On the flip side, Rookie Quarterback Nathan Peterman has turned heads in the Bills organization, and he turned in a solid performance against the Eagles, going 10 of 20 passing for 167 yards. Another seemingly unknown facet of Peterman’s game is his legs, and in two preseason games he has rushed for 43 yards on 6 carries. Although it will be mostly against the 2nd team, watch for Peterman’s adjustments against a stingy Baltimore defense.
Speaking of defense, Saturday also presents the Bills defense with a tough task. Even without Joe Flacco, the Ravens are outscoring their opponents 54-10 in the first two weeks of preseason. The Bills defense has flown under the radar due to all the talk surrounding the offense, such as Tyrod Taylor’s struggles and also the losses of Sammy Watkins and Anquan Boldin. In two games, Buffalo’s defense has allowed about 19 points a game. Against the Eagles, Lorenzo Alexander and Jerry Hughes led the way, Alexander with 5 tackles and Hughes added a sack. The Bills defense has 5 sacks in 2 games, to go along with 3 interceptions. Look for Buffalo’s defense to play a major role in the outcome of the game.
The bottom line for Buffalo is that it is still just August and only Week 3 of the preseason, and winning does not matter. That being said, it is important to get starting QB Tyrod Taylor back on track, especially with a young and inexperienced wide receiving core. The emergance of either Daikiel Shorts or Rod Streater, if not both, will be essential to the success in Buffalo this season. Look for Taylor to look for tight ends Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary to lead the way in receiving. Another factor will be the Bills running game, as running backs Lesean Mccoy, Jonathan Williams, and Joe Banyard have all looked impressive early. The Bills have lost by only one possession their first two games, whereas the Ravens have not won by less than 20. Look for something to give Saturday night in Baltimore.
(Picture credit: NFL.com)