Tale Of The Tape: Buffalo Bills At Oakland Raiders
- QuarterbackThe Bills came through with their biggest win of the season, and they remain alive in the playoff race although it will still be a difficult task. It will be an impossible undertaking if they can’t go cross-country and beat the Raiders here. Kyle Orton is a functional leader who has more than enough ability to win a game like this. He will avoid big mistakes, and that should be enough.While the Raiders have been more competitive in recent weeks and have even earned a couple of victories, it will be difficult to hang in with a motivated Bills’ team that brings a superior pass rush to the equation. Derek Carr may be a decent quarterback by this time next year, but he will have to keep his cool in the face of an onslaught with very ordinary talent. That’s too much to ask.
- OffenseFred Jackson is the kind of running back who can help a team win this kind of game. Not only can he run between the tackles, he is a solid receiver who has moves to make tacklers miss. Robert Woods is a dependable receiver who is faster than many think he is. Sammy Watkins has explosive ability, but his production is rather up-and-down.The Raiders think that Latavius Murray may be the key to their running game in the seasons to come because he is big, strong, powerful and fast. However, the Raiders’ offensive line doesn’t help him very much and he is not consistent. Veteran James Jones can get open and make the tough catch, but he is not a burner. Andre Holmes is averaging 14.5 yards per catch and is quite intriguing.
- DefenseThe Bills have a winning record at this late stage of the season largely because of their defense. Led by Mario Williams (13.0 sacks) and Marcel Dareus (10.0 sacks), the Bills consistently get after opposing passers. That makes things a lot easier in the secondary, where strong safety Baccari Rambo is coming off a two-interception game against Aaron Rodgers. OLB Preston Brown has a team-high 102 tackles.The Raiders have been much more proficient on defense than they have been on offense, but having the 17th-ranked defense is not enough to help this team win when the offense (32nd in yards gained) has struggled so much. Middle linebacker Miles Burris is a hard hitter who has 91 tackles, but free safety Charles Woodson leads the team with 100 stops even though he is a liability in coverage.
- Special TeamsThe Bills are very aggressive and quite proficient at special-teams play. They have a sizable advantage in return differential, and that could prove decisive here. PK Dan Carpenter has made 32-of-36 FG attempts, including 5-of-7 from 50 yards and beyond.The Raiders have been slipping in their overall play on special teams as opponents have a 5.0-yard advantage on punt returns and an overwhelming 9.9-yard margin on kickoff returns. Sebastian Janikowski has made 15-of-17 FG attempts, and he has not missed a kick under 50 yards.
This looks like an easy Bills win on paper, but that’s often a trap in a late-season game. The Raiders may come with their best effort and push the Bills -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports