The Atlanta Falcons look to stop a five-game skid as they travel up to Toronto to take on the Buffalo Bills.
Playing a home game at the Rogers Centre has been a yearly affair for the Bills since 2008. In the previous five contests, Buffalo has a 1-4 record.
The Falcons (2-9) have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, and will finish with a losing record for the first time since Mike Smith was hired as head coach in 2008.
Atlanta is currently on its longest losing streak since losing six straight in 2007 – a season in which they finished 4-12.
Talks have shifted from Super Bowl aspirations at the start of the season to drafting which player in the top five in next year’s draft.
Last week against the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta allowed a season-high five sacks. It doesn’t get much better with the Bills (4-7), who are one of five teams tied with a league-leading 37 sacks.
Buffalo’s pass rush is led by defensive end Mario Williams, who was the prized free agent a season ago. He currently has 11 sacks on the year and looks to do a number on the Falcons’ offensive line.
The Bills are also tied for first in interceptions with 16. Of Matt Ryan’s 12 interceptions, he has thrown 11 on the road.
Atlanta’s 28th-ranked rush defense could also have a problem containing Buffalo’s running attack. Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have each rushed for over 500 yards (591 yards for Jackson; 507 yards for Spiller) and have totaled seven scores.
Also working against the Falcons is the fact the Bills are coming off their bye week. They are well-rested and won’t have to travel far to Toronto.
Normally, facing a rookie quarterback would be an advantage, but the Falcons have allowed 686 yards, 7 touchdowns, and no interceptions to rookie quarterbacks this season. Like Mike Glennon and Geno Smith, the Bills’ E.J. Manuel could find success against Atlanta’s defense.
If Buffalo manages to get a lead, they can control the game with their run game. It’ll also force Atlanta into the catch-up passing offense they’ve been in numerous times this season, and that’ll play right into the hands of the Bills’ ferocious pass rush.
With that said, I’m taking the Falcons. There won’t be many remaining wins on the schedule, but I think the Bills are one of the couple of games the Falcons can emerge victorious.
Points Scored: 20.6 (24th)
Total Offense: 348.2 (13th)
Passing Offense: 273.5 (6th)
Rushing Offense: 74.7 (31st)
Points Allowed: 28.1 (29th)
Total Defense: 381.2 (27th)
Passing Defense: 251.2 (24th)
Rushing Defense: 130.0 (28th)
Points Scored: 21.5 (22nd)
Total Offense: 331.1 (19th)
Passing Offense: 197.0 (27th)
Rushing Offense: 134.1 (7th)
Points Allowed: 24.8 (21st)
Total Defense: 347.8 (15th)
Passing Defense: 229.0 (12th)
Rushing Defense: 118.8 (24th)