DETROIT TRIES AGAIN FOR FIRST WIN AGAINST BUFFALO
Mistakes have defined the Buffalo Bills’ losses. Losses have defined the Detroit Lions’ season.
Needing to regroup quickly if they hope to stay in the AFC East race, the Bills look to rebound from a blowout defeat when they visit the winless Lions on Sunday.
Buffalo (2-3) committed five turnovers, including three J.P. Losman interceptions, and was undone by dropped passes, missed tackles and drive-ending penalties in a 40-7 loss at Chicago last Sunday.
Despite the loss against Chicago last week Buffalo comes into Detroit road favorites. Online Sports Book betED.com has Buffalo listed as -1.5 point betting line favorites for Sunday’s game. The total betting line set by betED.com is 40.5
The Bills have committed eight turnovers, allowed a safety and converted one of six fourth-down attempts in their three losses. They’re two games behind first-place New England, which is starting to gain momentum.
“It’s the same thing that’s been haunting us any time we have a loss: Mistakes,” Buffalo tight end Robert Royal said. “I think overall, it’s everybody. We’ve got to find a way to come together and make it happen.”
The Bills have wins over Minnesota and Miami, and lost by a combined 10 points to the Patriots and New York Jets, but were clearly outmatched against Chicago.
“The league will humble you,” Buffalo rookie safety Donte Whitner said. “But we still have confidence in ourselves. We know that we’re a good team. We just have to cut out the mistakes.”
The Bills’ offense converted only two of 13 first-down attempts last week, managed just 10 first downs and generated 145 yards – the fewest since they had 125 in a 29-6 loss at New England in 2004. They were limited to one offensive touchdown for the third time this season.
Buffalo hasn’t scored three or more offensive touchdowns in 10 games since producing three in a 24-23 loss at Miami last Dec. 4.
The defense wasn’t much better, allowing Chicago to score on each of its first five possessions. The Bills were as ineffective against the run (allowing two touchdowns and 155 yards) as they were against the pass (two touchdowns and 196 yards), and defensive backs dropped three potential interceptions.
The Bills will be without rookie defensive tackle John McCargo, the team’s second first-round pick in this past year’s NFL draft, for the remainder of the season after he was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a broken foot suffered in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Bears.
Buffalo coach Dick Jauron, though, doesn’t have it as bad as Rod Marinelli, who took over for Jauron in Detroit in January. Jauron coached the Lions for the final five games of last season after Steve Mariucci was fired, going 1-4.
Marinelli thinks a lack of discipline is one major reason his Lions are 0-5 this season.
A day after Detroit blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in Sunday’s 26-17 loss to Minnesota, Marinelli saw what he expected on the game film.
“After having a chance to view the tape, a theme throughout our team is not doing our jobs, understanding our jobs and doing what we are coached to do,” he said. “It’s glaring to me. We have to be a more disciplined football team.”
The Lions have had good chances to win four of their five games this season, and have had fourth-quarter leads in the last two, but haven’t finished anything off.
“One thing that jumps out at you is that we’ve been outscored 47-13 in the fourth quarter,” Marinelli said. “That’s when your discipline takes hold – if it is really ingrained, it becomes stronger than the excitement or the fear of the game. We haven’t come to that point yet.”
Detroit lost two starters – receiver Roy Williams (neck) and guard Damien Woody (foot) – in the opening moments of last week’s game.
Williams, who leads the team with 26 receptions and 391 yards, is listed as day-to-day. Woody’s injury might leave the Lions without three of their five starting linemen as Ross Verba (hamstring) and Rex Tucker (knee) are both struggling to return from earlier injuries.
Marinelli said Monday there was a “good possibility” all three would be unable to play Sunday.
The running game was hurt by the lack of blockers against the Vikings. Kevin Jones finished with just eight yards rushing on 10 carries, and Detroit ran the ball only three times in the second half.
“The lack of continuity is hurting us a little bit,” Marinelli said. “It hurts the precision and the timing of the passing game and the running game. But those men are accountable. They are being coached so that they can take the opportunity to step into that role and do it.”
Buffalo has won the last two meetings in this series, but the teams haven’t met since Oct. 27, 2002. This is the Bills’ first visit to Detroit since Nov. 24, 1994.
By: David Michaels – theSpread.com – Email Us
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